Meditation is a broad term that defines a number of practices and techniques that are used to promote relaxation, increase internal energy, and develop a positive mindset with a focus on things like love, patience, and forgiveness. In all its forms, meditation has been practiced since antiquity whether in the form of a religious exercise or simply as a mindfulness and wellness practice. It's purpose is to allow the person to self-regulate their body in order to help control the damage negative energy and experiences cause by counter them with moments of peacefulness and mindfulness that help to boost positivity.
What's Meditation Used For?Meditation is used to make the mind calm and peaceful. By being calm and peaceful we can free ourselves from our worries and experience happiness. Meditation helps to train the mind to achieve a constant level of peacefulness no matter what the circumstances. If you think of the brain as a muscle, then you are essentially strength training your brain with meditation to handle any problem that comes your way with a calm, peaceful and positive outlook. Meditation helps us achieve equality and balance in our life. When we are balanced, we don't feel the need to be possessive and obsessive. We can handle the ebb and flow of life more easily. Meditation is part of achieving a higher state of being, one that isn't held by the trappings of the world like money and fancy cars, but instead a state of mind and being that prizes things like knowledge and happiness.
Type of MeditationThere are a number of different types of meditation, though they fall into one of three general categories: focused attention, open monitoring, and effortless presence.
- Focused attention meditation is a type of meditation where you focus your attention on a single thing, an object, a mantra, a vision, etc., so that your attention doesn't wander and ruin the meditation.
- Open monitoring meditation does the opposite of focused attention. Instead of trying to prevent the flow of outside thoughts, you allow them to come and go as they please, without judgment or attachment.
- Effortless presence is a combination of the two. It's not focused, but neither is it allowing for thoughts. It is simply reducing the self to a state of emptiness.
Each of the different types of meditation have different postures and positions that are used in order to enhance the benefits of the meditation and to help you achieve the meditation more easily. Yoga is a perfect example of why this is the case. When you watch someone do yoga, you don't think that it is an actual form of exercise. The poses flow easily from one to the next, none of them seeming particularly strenuous. However, when you begin to do yoga yourself you realize that it does, in fact, increase the heartbeat, that at the end of a series of poses your muscles burn with the same ache as if you'd walked a mile or lifted weights. Certain poses required you to breathe differently in order to do them properly and receive the same benefits. Meditation is much the same. While on the surface, all meditation may look like a bunch of people sitting around with their eyes closed doing nothing, nothing could be further from the truth. Each meditation pose, much like the poses in yoga, helps to ease the mind and body towards the area of thoughtfulness you are trying to achieve.