Meditation is an internal, personal practice which the practitioner trains the mind or self-induces a mode of consciousness in order to realize some benefit. There are dozens of styles of meditation practices which means that people associate different meanings to the word as well.
Often I am asked how to practice meditation, if they are practicing it correctly and others who just feel that they just can’t meditate at all – feeling they personally don’t have the kind of personality to practice this.
First of all Meditation is an exercise of the mind, therefore one must give it time, build upon it and everyone can do it. So no matter which style you practice- watching the breath, focusing on a sound, visualization, or many other styles, you should just keep trying ones till you find one you like.
Why practice it? Western medicine is still learning the benefits of this very old practice. Besides the reduction of stress which alone has many health benefits, there are many more. However just as when I teach chanting, sometimes you need to stop asking ‘why’, get outside of your head (the conscious part of your thought) and let go. Just DO and see what happens. Watch and see how you feel yourself.
Start with just a minute and work up a little more each week. Find a place, time and method that works for you. Be creative and watch what happens. It is quite normal for your conscious mind to come back while you are meditating; we refer to this as the ‘monkey mind’. Your thoughts will swing from thought to thought and emotion to emotion. This is what frustrates so many who give up when they can’t focus. Just notice it and don’t fight it. Bring the focus back and tell yourself “Not now Monkey Mind – I’m meditating”.
Meditation is not a sleep however there may be points where you are so relaxed that you feel as if you are dreaming. As you are still awake and just observing the body, that is exactly what you are looking for; watching and observing the subconscious part of the brain and thoughts.
A beautiful saying I have read is that Praying is like talking to God and Meditation is like listening. Allow yourself the time to listen to the Universe – the rest of the answers will be revealed.