Why Meditate? 20 Reasons to Begin a Meditation Practice Today

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Meditation is touted as the solution to most modern stressors. This age-old practice gets a modern twist with smartphone apps, guided recordings, and group retreats to help you find inner peace.

If you’re still not sure if meditation is for you, here are all the benefits you can reap from it. Some benefits are felt immediately, while others only get better the longer and more often you meditate.

Studies have shown that the feel-good effects of meditation are not just psychological. Meditation can open up a whole new way of thinking for you by rewiring your brain and creating new neural pathways.

what is meditation

what is meditation

Meditation occurs when you reach a deep state of inner peace. You can practice meditation through various techniques, but according to traditional yogic philosophy, you are not truly meditating until you meditate.

As recorded in the Yoga Sutras compiled by the mythical sage Patanjali, meditation cannot be achieved through concentration or reliance on external forces. Meditation happens from within when one surrenders to the Atman or an authentic self with universal awareness.

Swami Krishnananda explains that Patanjali sums up what meditation is in a verse:

3.44 bahiḥ akalpitā vṛttiḥ mahāvidehā tataḥ prakāśa āvaraṇakṣayaḥ

When the mind’s formless thought patterns are projected outside the body, it is called maha-videha, a great formless body. Through this outwardly projected samyama, the veil of spiritual light is removed.

Samyama is the simultaneous practice of dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (union).

Difference Between Mindfulness and Meditation

Difference Between Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is promoted as a mundane, even non-spiritual practice of meditation. It originated in Indian and Buddhist meditation practices, and those who practice mindfulness today have a lot of overlap with modern pose yoga.

Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the figures who helped popularize mindfulness in the West. He studied under several Buddhist teachers including Thich Nhat Hanh. From this he developed his free online program Mindful Stress Reduction.

In addition to Kabat-Zinn’s contributions, the Insight Meditation Society (IMS), founded in 1975, helped Western linear thinkers popularize mindfulness.

Mindfulness has also influenced the world of positive psychology. In the strictest sense, however, mindfulness is a skill that anyone, anywhere can practice. Meditation is a state that can only be achieved after the practice of concentration (spiritual practice).

Popular Schools/Meditation Styles

Many schools and traditions have been developed to help people achieve a meditative state.

Transcendental Meditation (TM)

Transcendental Meditation (TM)

The tradition was started by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who was also known as “The Beatle Master” because the Final Four followed him to India to live and learn from him.

TM techniques are taught by certified teachers around the world. It involves closing your eyes and sitting in meditation on a secret bija or seed syllable mantra that you repeat silently for 20 minutes twice a day.

Popular transcendental meditators in the West include Russell Brand, David Lynch, Jennifer Aniston, Kristen Bell, and Hugh Jackman.

Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana meditation is also known as “Vipassana meditation”. Follow the Dharma, knowing yourself is suffering. The technique follows the tradition of SN Goenka teacher U Ba Khin teacher.

Vipassana conducts 10-day courses or retreats at centers around the world. During this time, participants are expected to observe discipline. Most people know Vipassana to practice noble silence and to avoid all forms of communication, including speaking, writing, or gestures, except in emergencies with a retreat coordinator.

Reading, playing music, exercising, socializing, and other distractions are also not recommended.

Japa Mala Meditation

Japa Mala Meditation

Japa mala meditation has grown in popularity as mala beads have reemerged as a fashion accessory for yoga practitioners.

Traditional japa malas beads made from rudraksha seeds. These seeds are believed to be the tears of Lord Shiva, the embodiment of pure consciousness.

To meditate with the rosary, hold it in one hand and focus on one bead at a time. Say a mantra, usually a Sanskrit word or phrase – but it can be any positive intention for yourself. After the mantra is finished, either in your head or out loud, you can move on to the next bead.

Most rosaries consist of 108 beads, which is an auspicious number for Hindus, Buddhists, and other Eastern traditions. But other groups are also accepted for Japa Mala meditation.

guided meditation

guided meditation

Guided meditation is a practice that helps you relax by focusing on the voice of another person. It has gained popularity through technologies such as streaming video and smartphone apps. Even celebrities have given voice to guided meditations.

There are two types of guided meditations. The first is to help you relax by replacing uncomfortable thoughts and feelings with soothing images or even nature sounds and meditation music as background music. Some also include images to help create the illusion.

Other types of guided meditation follow mindfulness techniques. The instructions given refer to

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