About Meditation

Origins

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There are many different types of meditation for different purposes. In the past, the word meditation referred to specific practices in various spiritual and religious traditions. The goal was to help a person grow spiritually. This could mean anything from experiencing the presence of the divine to becoming more compassionate to realizing one’s true nature as consciousness. The goal and type of meditation would vary according to the tradition.  All of the major religious traditions developed meditative practices, and continue to have them to this day.

Current times

In current times, the term meditation is used much more broadly to refer to many different practices meant to bring about a variety of results, and meditation is no longer always associated with spirituality. Different meditations have different goals, and people meditate for many different reasons — relaxation, health, personal growth, spiritual development. Often people meditate simply to become more relaxed, or because their doctor advised them to meditate to lower their blood pressure. Being clear on why you want to meditate will help you in your search.

Meditation vs. a “meditative state”

Often people use the word meditation to refer to a “meditative state”. For example, someone might say, “I watched the sunset and went into meditation.” Hours of difficult meditation practice may not result in a significant change in one’s way of being, but suddenly spotting a deer in a sunlit meadow can instantly shift our awareness into a place of peace. The best meditation practices help to evoke an experience that is very natural to the mind, and people often find their own ways to set the stage for the mind to shift.

Meditation involves a shift in the focus of the mind

In meditation, we are shifting our awareness from the usual focused, outer-directed activity of the mind. In activity, the mind is engaged in observing, discriminating, deciding, analyzing and accomplishing. Meditation gives us an opportunity to shift gears, let go of this focus and experience a more peaceful, silent state.

Learning to Meditate

Learning to meditate is a very individual matter. Some people do best learning from a teacher or structured course, while others discover how to meditate on their own. You might try several methods and eventually find your own style. There’s no one right way to meditate!
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So often people give up on meditation because they tried a method that was totally unsuitable for them. We encourage you to explore until you find a way to meditate that works for you.

We invite you to use the How to Meditate pages on our website, or use our meditation CDs as an easy way to get started. That may be all you’ll ever need! To learn in a more structured way with more support, try our Online Meditation Course. It’s available on our website and also as an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad app.

Comments

14 Responses to “About Meditation”

  1. Michele on January 21st, 2009 12:34 pm

    I have been meditating since i was 14 years old. I am now 20. I have never had a guided meditation that has made my body spin..or mind spin..if you under stand what I mean. Is there any type of meditation out there to help recover from a tragic event in the childhood past? That makes it capable of having relationships without fears of what happened in the past happen again?

    thanks..

    Michele

  2. Mary on January 21st, 2009 5:42 pm

    Hi Michele,
    Actually I don’t know what you mean by a guided meditation that makes your body or mind spin…

    Meditation can be one tool that helps us heal past wounds. You might try some of the meditations in our podcast. You can go the the Listen to our Podcast page. Chances are other ways of healing will also be needed if there has been such an intense childhood event. Working with the right therapist can be really helpful.

  3. shannon on February 18th, 2009 7:49 am

    I’m overcome with worry–losing hours at my job, losing my apartment, being violently attacked/mugged, war, my father is ill, the youth illiteracy rate, terrorist attacks, even the apocalypse–and these worries swirl through my mind. It occurred to me that I am not “living” my life; I spend so much time in the chaos in my mind.

    How is it I want to find my purpose on earth and to help other souls in distress–learning how to bring good into a person’s life by learning from my past sorrows?

    How can I be an thought-paused open receptor of God’s silent voice? My fears and pressures of life are louder to me.

    I long to live a balanced life that is centered around a spiritual “Christ consciousness” yet I am trapped in chaos and instability. I pray for God’s assistance, for him to enable me to accomplish my soul’s highest aspiration to the glory of His name . . . .

    Unfortunately, my good intentions matter little because I refrain from acting to create this God centered life (as though He will magically intercede and direct me??)

  4. Mary on February 19th, 2009 11:39 am

    Shannon,
    Have you tried meditation?

  5. IAN ALLAND on July 18th, 2009 3:24 am

    I HAVE JUST EXPERIANCED BODY SPINNING WHILE MEDITATING IT HAPPENED WHEN I CALLED ON ARCHANGEL MICHEAL THE TOP HALF OF MY BODY STARTING ROTATING WITH NO EFFORT ON MY PART

  6. DOMINIC ANDREWS on August 30th, 2009 4:20 pm

    I am from a caribbean island off the coast of venezuela called trinidad and tobago. Throughout the course of my life I have experienced a chain of unexplainable encounters. I recently began questioning those experiences and I was directed to this path. I believe that the power of god manifest within us and the restrictions placed in our minds by society and religion constantly cause us to doubt our true potential.Throughout my life I have experienced extreme ESP and even abilties that would be unbelievable so I will not disclose them however I do not know how to control these random burst of frequent coincidences. Is there anyone here that can grant me some advice.

  7. Mary on August 31st, 2009 8:57 am

    Hello Dominic, People with psychic abilities frequently have this question about how to control them. There are many books available on the subject, and I would suggest that you read them to gain a greater understanding of your experiences, as well as how to live with them and use them in your life. Best wishes.

  8. jueann on March 20th, 2011 3:21 pm

    Just to let u no whilst i have bin doin a spiritual awareness guided meditation by gordon smith i had a feeling of spinning around slowly. i have had it once before but this time i felt it more. i have been searching the web to see wot this mite mean an found the above comments. just thort i wud add. i have found another site where people say they have had the feeling of spinning. it’s gud to know am not on my own. x x

  9. DeAnne on March 7th, 2012 1:09 am

    Can you create a podcast for Meditation that helps with depression?

  10. Mary on March 7th, 2012 10:30 am

    DeAnne, thank you for your request. We keep a list of all requests and try to fulfill those we can. Best wishes.

  11. Laura on May 7th, 2012 9:54 am

    I am 16, and my college exams are approaching soon but I find that I worry about them a lot of the time, and become really stressed and upset very easily with the people around me. Sometimes I can’t revise properly because I am so preoccupied with worrying about what will happen if I don’t get the grades I want. I’m not sure what I want to do after college at all so I also feel pressured about making so many decisions all of a sudden. I have tried the mini-break meditation for work but I found it hard to let go of feeling ‘sad’. It seems like a small problem but it is affecting other people as well and I am feeling more depressed recently and am always tired.
    I have been doing various meditations for about a year but not regularly, only when I have time. But the one I found that helps is the deep relaxation one and a few others so thank you so much for introducing me to effective meditation, although any advice on helping to become stress-free I would appreciate x

  12. Mary on May 8th, 2012 9:12 pm

    Laura, you are welcome. Perhaps with all this stress it would help to talk with a school counselor. Best wishes.

  13. Ana on November 20th, 2012 5:14 am

    Hi!
    I’d like to know if children can do meditation too, and how age can they begin, is there any hazard?
    Thanks

  14. Mary on November 25th, 2012 7:06 pm

    Ana, there are children who listen to our meditations with good results. Listening to a simple guided meditation should be fine for most children, as long as they are old enough to understand. It’s always good for you to review a meditation first to see if it is suitable for your child, and check with your health care provider if you have any questions about your particular child’s situation. Under 10, most children would be too young to learn a meditation technique and benefit from it. I would be hesitant to expose a child to binaural beats or audios created to alter brainwaves and so on. Just stick with something simple.

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