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Meditation FAQ's
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What is Meditation ?
The basic idea generally associated with why people meditate is that during our day we are constantly subjected to sensory input and our minds are always active in the process of thinking. We read the newspaper, study books, write reports, engage in conversation, solve problems, etc etc. Typically, as we do these normal activities we engage in a constant mental commentary, sort of an inner "The Drama of Me." Usually people aren't fully aware of all the mental thought activity that we are constantly engaged in.

Meditation allows all this activity to settle down, and often results in the mind becoming more peaceful, calm and focused. In essence, meditation allows the awareness to become 'rejuvenated'. Meditation can be considered a technique, or practice. It usually involves concentrating on an object, such as a flower, a candle, a sound or word, or the breath. Over time, the number of random thoughts occurring diminishes. More importantly, your attachment to these thoughts, and your identification with them, progressively become less. The meditate may get caught up in a thought pattern, but once he/she becomes aware of this, attention is gently brought back to the object of concentration. Meditation can also be objectless, for example consisting of just sitting.

How is meditation different from relaxation, thinking, concentration or self-hypnosis ?
Relaxation: Relaxation is a common by-product of meditation. Relaxation itself can assume many forms, such as taking a hot bath or reclining in the Lazy-boy and watching TV, etc. Meditation is an active process where the meditator remains fully aware of what the awareness is doing. It also attempts to transcend the thought process whereas many forms of relaxation still engage the thought process. Meditation allows the body to relax and can offset the effects of stress both mentally and physically to a potentially much greater degree than passive relaxation.

Thinking: Thoughts generally consume energy in the process of their formation. Constant thought-activity, especially of random nature, can tire the mind and even bring on headache. Meditation attempts to transcend this crude level of thought activity. Through regular practice one becomes aware that they are not their thoughts but that there is an awareness that exists independent of thought. Descartes ("I think, therefore I am") obviously was not a regular meditator!

Concentration: Meditation begins with concentration, but after an initial period of concentration, thought activity decreases and keeping the awareness focused becomes more spontaneous. At this point the person may or may not continue to employ the object of concentration.

Self-hypnosis: Self-hypnosis, like meditation, involves at least an initial period of concentration on an object. However in hypnosis one does not try to maintain an awareness of the here-and-now, or to stay conscious of the process. Instead one essentially enters a sort of semi-conscious trance.

What are the different meditation techniques ?
Meditation involves concentrating on something to take our attention beyond the random thought activity that is usually going on in our heads. This can involve a solid object or picture, a mantra, breath, or guided visualization.

Typical objects employed include a candle flame or a flower. Some people use pictures, such as a mandala - a highly colored symmetric painting - or a picture of a spiritual teacher in a high meditative state. Mantras are sounds which have a flowing, meditative quality and may be repeated out loud or inwardly. The breath is also a common focal point. Finally, guided visualization is also considered by some to be a form of meditation. A guided visualization can help to bring one into a meditative state; also, visualization may be used once a meditative state has been reached to produce various results.

Which is right for me ?
There is no "right" meditation technique for everybody. Some techniques work better for certain people while other techniques work better for other people. The important thing is to find what works for you.

What are the abc's of meditation ?
There are a few recommended guidelines for meditation:

++  It should be done every day, preferably at the same time
++  It should preferably be done before a meal rather than after a meal.
++  A spot should be set aside for meditation, which should be a quiet place
      and used for nothing but meditation
++ One should sit with the spine straight and vertical (a chair is ok to use).

Is there any religious implication or affiliation with meditation ?
Meditation has been and still is a central practice in eastern religions, for contacting "God" or one's higher Self. Christianity also has semblances of meditation, such as the biblical statement "The kingdom of heaven is within you". Churches have a meditative atmosphere.

Meditation deals with contacting something within us that is peaceful, calm, rejuvenating, and meaningful. Whether one calls this something "God" or "soul" or "the inner child" or "theta-wave activity" or "peace" or "silence" is not important. It is there and anyone can benefit from it regardless of what they believe.

Most people in the world have already meditated. If you have relaxed looking at a beautiful sunset, allowing your thoughts to quiet down, this is close to meditation. If you have been reading a book for awhile, then put it down to take a break and just sat there quietly and peacefully for a few minutes without thinking, this is close to meditation.

Does meditation have any ethical implications ?
In many traditions meditation practice is a means for reinforcing ethical qualities. In these traditions, calmness of mind, peacefulness and happiness are possible in meditation and in life generally only if they are accompanied by the observance of ethical norms of behavior.

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The longer an individual practices meditation, the greater the likelihood that his or her goals and efforts will shift toward personal and spiritual growth. Many individuals who initially learn meditation for its self-regulatory aspects find that as their practice deepens they are drawn more and more into the realm of the "spiritual."

Meditation can help most people feel less anxious and more in control. The awareness that meditation brings can also be a source of personal insight and self-understanding.

By simple definition, meditation is engagement in contemplation, especially of a spiritual or devotional nature. To elaborate further, meditation is an attempt to concentrate mind on a single form or an idea or an aspect of divinity at the exclusion of all other forms, thoughts, and ideas. The mind is focused inwards, and this effort of concentration acts as a stimulus to gain access to knowledge of 'object of meditation'. The aspirant makes an attempt to minimize perceptions through senses - inputs through special senses like touch, sight, hearing, etc. - by detaching mind from sense organs in the brain. This helps in controlling restlessness of mind, in favor of inner contemplation. The mind, as if, is made still. Meditation may be, therefore, taken as a 'passive' activity! But is it really so?

Tremendous changes observed in the human brain and nervous system during mediation run contrary to this belief of 'passivity' attached to meditation. Unprecedented progress and research in neurobiology, investigative neurology, and study of neurotransmitters in the last two decades has given a great fillip to the study of neuro-physiology of Meditation and Yoga. Altered State of Consciousness can be brought about by hypnosis, drugs (e. g. LSD), sleep, etc., but here we are trying to study a state specific science of altered consciousness brought about by meditation alone.

Some of the proven health conditions that are benefited by meditation are as follows;

Drug Addiction
++ Prolonging Life Expectancy
++ Stress Control
++ Pain Management
++ Cancer and Other Chronic Illness
++ Heart disease.
++ High blood pressure.
++ Infertility
++ Psoriasis
++ Respiratory crises
++ Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), Tension Headaches
++ Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcers, and Insomnia
++ Fibromyalgia

For Detailed Dossier on Meditation, please write to us at

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