Meditation is not merely an activity to tear yourself away from the noise of the world for a while. It is an essential prerequisite to beat daily challenges and feel more optimistic about life. When we meditate, we get into a theta brain wave state, which helps us withhold from depression and see life with a bird’s eye view. Even critically ill people are recommended to mediate to avoid despair. This theta state happens when we stop worrying about what’s to come - when we no longer ruminate about past events, and when life no longer feels so overstimulating.
Spirituality and Nature
The easiest and the most common way to meditate is to contemplate at a divine higher power. When you feel that there is someone controlling the entire universe and working things out for you, you tend to take comfort in these powerful hands without becoming overloaded with too much stress. That is why studies always indicate that religious people are happier than agnostics. No matter how powerful and lucky we feel, we would never get an infinitesimal amount of the comfort that we can get when we know that a supernatural power is in control. This makes our mundane sensitivity challenges and attachment to people pale in comparison to the springs of love we receive from the infinite. Therefore, regardless of your religion, find a quiet place to retreat every day and pray. Spending time in nature is also bound to let you transcend daily problems. Urban environments make us overwhelmed with stress and pollution, so departing from crowded cities gives you the capacity to set your eyes on beauty and feel more joy.
Concentrative meditation is referred to as the one-pointedness of mind since it is about focusing your attention on a specific thought or an object that you want to achieve. This form of meditation contributes to improving the meditator's concentration potentials. You choose an object and try to stabilize your attention to think about nothing but this object for a while. It is needless to say that your ideas must be devoid of hatred, greed, and ego. Concentrative meditation can be a double-edged sword because you can use it to think single-pointedly on a benevolent thought or an evil one.
The most popular forms of concentrative meditation are:
IAM – Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique: It involves sitting in a static position for about 20 minutes, trying to reform your mind. The technique is about mastering the mind to accept the way life is. So, instead of fantasising about a different world in which all our wishes come true, this technique is about thinking of the world as it is so that our minds can adapt to it. You can’t control the vast universe, yet you can control your mind by promoting contentedness.
Transcendental meditation (TM): Transcendental meditation means going beyond mental awareness. This can be linked to the image of an ocean, active on the surface and quiet in its depth. In TM, the mind settles down gradually to the bottom of the ocean – a point where you have no thoughts, yet you are awake. Transcending beyond all the activities of the mind is credited with boosting creativity, intelligence, and purity. It is a deeper state of relaxation that eliminates stress and promotes creative thinking. The best time to do TM is early in the morning. The activity only takes 20 minutes, and you can do it once you are awake before getting out of bed.
Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF): The SRF is a synthesis of Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna. According to SRF, a good life is achieved through evolution and self-effort to transcend from the human consciousness to the divine consciousness, getting more genuine by and by. SRF promotes “plain living and high thinking” by quietening the consistent restlessness of the mind. Adults feel stressed at least 6 hours per day, so the SRF is employed to help the mind get rid of stress and realize the divine perception within. The exercise takes about 15 minutes to perform, and it revolves around keeping your attention pinned down to a specific goal you want to achieve or a problem to solve. SRF also includes Kriya Yoga, an early meditation practice of energy and breath control.
While concentrative meditation helps you to focus on a certain thought, mindfulness meditation aims at minimizing your thoughts. Mindfulness is to learn how to reduce the pace of your thoughts by improving your breath and raising awareness of the self.
Mindfulness Meditation includes:
Buddhist Meditation: Buddhist meditation is a form of meditation that deeply calms the nervous system so that you can enjoy the present moment. In Buddhism, awareness is like space – free, genuine, and pure. The first step to meditate like a Buddhist monk is to become aware that you are breathing; if you know that you're breathing, that is awareness. Many people misunderstand meditation, thinking that meditation is to think of nothing or to think about peace and openness. However, Buddhist meditation is only about breathing naturally, and then whatever thoughts or emotions appear, let them come and go. As long as you don't forget you are breathing, anything is okay. Whatever the state of your mind is, it doesn't matter. Everything is allowed, and it's completely free. Step by step, the meditator comes to reach the innate state of the mind.
Vipassana Meditation: There is a remarkable affinity between Vipassana and Buddhist Meditation. Vipassana is one of the meditation forms that aim at bringing the mind into a state of detachment from the world. The mind is, nevertheless, aware of whatever thoughts flashing in and out of the mind. Vipassana allows you to get some insights into your thoughts. Our thoughts get tucked into the subconscious mind, which acts out on them unknowingly. That is why Vipassana guides you to observe these thoughts and desires to release them so that they don’t control your actions.