” Meditation is an appointment with self “
Meditationis a practice in which an individual focuses his attention on a single object, sound, concept or experience.
Historically, meditation has been practiced with the goal of gaining a spiritual insight.
Meditation brings in a feeling of peace, harmony and stillness of mind. You slowly get control on your senses and emotions. A feeling of physical, emotional and mental freedom develops leading to development of will power, development of inner resistance to diseases, reduction of anxiety and tension and unfolding of virtuous qualities in daily life. You are free from senses of boredom, vacuum and your life becomes more meaningful. Your understanding power, thoughts become clearer and decision making easier. There is purification and deepening of character. Your aura shines, thoughts acquire potency and feelings acquire depth. Your company will be a force of evolution for others who are close to you.
Physiologically Transcendental Meditation state is similar to a state of relaxation and lowered stress. Regular meditators can remain in this state even when they are not meditating. During meditation :
- The heart beat slows down.
- There is a decrease in the breathing rate.
- Consumption of oxygen is decreased.
- Muscle tension is reduced.
- Lactate and cortisol blood levels associated with anxiety and stress is reduced.
- The galvanic skin response rises (GSR) [resistance of the skin to passage of a weak electric current].
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) indicates mental relaxation and relatively more alpha activity. 1,2
(As per the study done by Dr. Herbert Benson and his colleagues at Harvard Medical School)
Different forms of meditation
The most common form of meditation involves focusing the attention on a sound or “mantra“. The focus of attention during meditation can also be visual (the flame of a candle, a picture or an object), repetitive movements (for e.g. touching of the tips of the fore fingers individually with the thumb) or your own breathing.
Transcendental meditation is a standardized form of mantra meditation which has been adopted worldwide and consists of the individual sitting upright, eyes closed, silently repeating a mantra.
Frequency and Duration
Ideally transcendental meditation is to be practiced for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the late afternoon, before breakfast and evening meal. If you want to meditate longer, carry on. If you feel uncomfortable at any point of time, you can stop and try it again at some other time. Don’t force meditation on yourself.
How to do ?
Posture: Sit in a comfortable posture in a quiet place free from distraction. (No television, telephones and especially no cellular phones).
You can choose from any of the following postures:
You can sit in a chair with your legs uncrossed, knees apart and your hands resting on your lap.
You can sit cross legged on the floor with a cushion placed under your buttocks so that both knees touch the floor.
The yogi position.
Time : Preferably early in the morning, noon or dusk, half to one hour before a meal.
- Select a mantra of your choice. A mantra is a sound or a word that you repeat e.g.: SUN, OM, ONE, PEACE, LOVE etc.
- Focus on your breathing and chant the mantra to yourself softly.
- Try to achieve a comfortable timing and rhythm for the mantra and carry on.
- Maintain your focus and adopt a passive accepting attitude till your thoughts are silent (do not put on any extra efforts to silence your thoughts).
- Intrusive thought or images may disturb your focus on meditation and distract you. This is normal, accept the fact that they are there and let them go (don’t get upset or annoyed).
- Meditation is to be practiced with awareness. At times the repetition of the mantra may become mechanical and you may be lost in some other thoughts or approaching sleep. To avoid such situations try to stay aware of each repetition of each syllable.