Meditation has a place in nearly every religious tradition, though it is mostly associated with eastern religions such as Buddhism. Meditation has also been found to have a range of benefits, including stress relief, lowering blood pressure and easing depression and anxiety. There are many different traditions of meditation with many different methods of reaching a meditative state.
What Is Meditation
Before understanding what meditation is, it is important to understand what meditation is not. Meditation is not simply concentration, nor is it a loss of control resulting in hearing voices, seeing colors or involuntary movements. Exercises such as yoga are also not meditation and meditation does not result from mental effort. Meditation is the opposite of mental effort. It is a state of awareness where the mind is blank, without thoughts. It is a point when the mind is silent, completely calm, yet also completely alert and aware.
How To Meditate Properly
Begin by concentrating on your breathing. Listen to your normal breathing patterns. Simply listen though, do not focus so hard on your breathing that it gets in the way of relaxing. Think about why you are meditating. Choose a comfortable position and close your eyes. Begin breathing deeply. Hold the breath for a few seconds, then exhale and repeat. Your thoughts may begin to wander. Let them go as meditation is very much about letting go. Some people find it helpful to focus on a metaphor at this point. Think of an elevator descending from a high tower. Pick a number and watch each light illuminate as the elevator descends. Once you reach the ground floor, your mind should be relatively blank. At this point, relax each muscle group in succession. Return to the elevator and go up to a floor of your choice. Get out and open your eyes into tranquility.
How To Meditate Deeply
Meditating deeply involves taking at least 20 undisturbed minutes. It is very important to find a place where you can remain undisturbed for at least this time. Deep meditation is simply an extension of meditating properly. In order to go deeper, you can try some techniques such as picking a routine time and place to meditate, so the habit itself becomes calming. You can listen to meditation music or try guided meditation. When you first start meditating, it might take awhile to reach the actual stage of meditation because of the mental chatter that everyone experiences. To meditate deeply, you should be able to quiet the chatter quickly and get to the calm state.
Meditation and Nutrition
Meditation and nutrition are complimentary. Eating proper foods and cleansing foods can help your mind and sense of peace. Eating whole foods and avoiding processed foods is a great start to finding complimentary nutrition. Eat foods that help circulation and mental clarity. Some of the foods that help circulation include oranges, hot peppers, ginger, sunflower seeds, garlic, avocados and salmon. Improved circulation helps you feel more relaxed and can improve meditation sessions. Foods that improve mental clarity include many of the same foods that improve circulation, as well as walnuts, berries, sardines, coffee, spinach and plenty of water. Improved mental clarity can help you focus and remove cluttered thoughts in meditation.