What is Meditation?
Meditation is the practice of quieting the mind by giving it a single point of focus. The “focus” can be one’s breath, a word or phrase, a visualization, or a sound.
Do I have to believe in a certain religion to meditate?
No. While most people associate meditation with the desire to grow spiritually, meditation in and of itself is not a religion. Whenever your mind is set free of scattered thoughts and you become singularly focused on the present, you are meditating. This happens naturally to all of us. For example, it might happen while playing a sport or playing an instrument or listening to nature.
What are the benefits of meditation?
Regular practice of meditation can reduce stress, lower your heart rate and decrease your blood pressure. It has also been proven to reduce anxiety and depression. Read this article for more information on the benefits of meditation.
How can I get started?
While there are many meditation techniques out there, here are two simple techniques that you can start with.
Meditation #1: Running Water
- Close your eyes
- Imagine a stream of water flowing – it could flow right to left, left to right, or up to down.
- As thoughts arise, imagine them floating away, down the water
- Stay focused on the water for the time you have chosen or until you feel your mind and body relax.
Meditation #2: Follow Your Breath
- Close your eyes
- Take a few deep breaths, then settle in to breathing normally.
- On your next breath intake, mentally say “one” as you breathe in. When your breath reaches the “top” of the breath, release your breath and mentally say, “two.”
- Keep counting as you breathe in and out.
- If your thoughts water and you suddenly realize that you have stopped counting, just start over with “one.”