Meditation is not for sainthood but for everyday life
Almost everyone today has heard about meditation.
People are practicing meditation for different reasons. Some
common reasons for which people meditate are - it is good
for mental peace, it helps in spiritual growth, it is a way
of worship, it improves concentration etc. But this is not
all. Meditation, if understood well, can prove a way to improve
the entire quality of life. We must know what meditation
is, how it is to be done, what its benefits are and why it
should be part of everyone’s
life. Before understanding what meditation is, let us see how
it can help us.
Benefits of Meditation
- It helps in development of mind and its functions like
concentration, memory, intelligence, judgment, creativity
- It improves self control over mind as well as minds control
- It improves the state of consciousness
- It improves awareness and power of observation.
- It improves self understanding & understanding
of environment and world.
- It helps in understanding the mystery
of life & death
and purpose of living.
- It helps in understanding the logic
behind do’s and
don’ts of life thereby improving the effectiveness
- It helps in self growth and realizing best of self potential.
- It helps in spiritual growth and realization
of self & truth.
- It relieves stress, gives calmness, acceptance, compassion
and better relations.
- It improves health through better choice making and through
mind body relationship.
- It even helps in treatment of physical & psychological
What is meditation ?
There is lot of confusion about what is meditation.
Confusion is also there because of the fact that there are
innumerable ways of meditating. For a beginner it is difficult
to decide which method to adopt and this sometimes result in
disappointment with the progress. Therefore, to progress well,
it is important to understand what meditation is. Before understanding
meditation, it is necessary to know what is mind.
being is in a state of consciousness. This consciousness,
which we refer to as ‘ I ’, is dynamic, functional
and progressive. It has both material and non material component.
The material component is referred to as – My Body along
with its sensations and functions. The non material component
of ‘I’ is referred to as Mind which is expressed
as – I Think, I Feel, I Love, I Understand etc. Some
of the functions of Mind are Perception, Awareness, Thinking,
Feeling, Memory, Intelligence, Judgment, Creativity, Understanding,
Will etc. Mind should not be confused with brain, the organ
through which mind carry out its functions. In a broad sense
Mind can be divided into three zones.
- Input – Perception & input
of information picked up by senses like vision, hearing,
smell, taste and touch. Past memory also serves as source
- Assimilation – Assessment & assimilation of information
by Thinking, Feeling & Understanding. This could be Fact,
Incident or Abstract oriented with Intellectual or Emotional
predominance. Information and its meaning are saved as Memory
which is later used to understand further information. This
entire process forms the basis of organization and reorganization
- Output – Output is the resultant behavior based on
input and assimilation and is effected through Judgment & Will
In order to function in good capacity,
mind requires development. And this process of development
of Mind is called Meditation. Without development, Mind works
in a narrow range of awareness with less / faulty input,
poor assimilation, distortion of reality and poor output
which is unhealthy and negative behavior. Thus the person
feels problem with self or the world around and which can
range from mild day to day problem to severe mental sickness.
Meditation helps to prevent this state and improves functioning
of mind. Mind if developed has enormous potential which in
most of us remain untapped. You can very well appreciate
that with a developed mind how well you can have better awareness & understanding of world around,
better relations, better performance & efficiency, better
growth in life with happiness, and with such inclination, better
spiritual growth. Spirituality is nothing else but better understanding
of self & life and realization of truth.
Types of Meditation
Meditation can be done in a number of ways. Most of the methods
can be put under multiple types. These can be broadly divided
into three types depending on the aspect of mind it is working
on. It can be based on :
- Input of Information like perception. For example focus
on an image, listening to mantra, observing breath etc.
- Assimilation & Assessment of Information.
For example thought watching, observing inner self.
- Output like behavior. For example activity meditation,
chanting of mantra, yogic posture meditation etc.
Other ways of describing types of meditation can be :
- Intellect Predominant / Emotion Predominant. It can be
based on intellectual function of mind or on feelings / emotions.
- Active / Passive Meditation. It can be done by active effort
as in fantasy visualization or it can be done in passive
manner like done in observation of breathing.
- Dualism / Oneness Meditation. It can be done in a manner
in which distinctiveness of everything is maintained or it
can be done in a manner in which oneness of everything is
- Focus / Wholeness Meditation. It can be done by focusing
like meditating on an image / object / thought or it can
be done towards universality as done in thoughtlessness.
- Past / Present / Future – It can
be done by meditating on past, present or future.
- Concrete / Abstract – It can be
done by meditating concrete objects / facts of life or
by meditating on abstract thoughts or ideas.
- Structure / Non Structured. It can be structured in time,
place, way etc or it can be non structured.
- Mind training / Awareness / Spiritual
Meditation. Mind training meditation is done to train specific
mind faculties like concentration, creativity, learning
etc. Awareness meditation is done to become more aware
about self, world around, life process etc. Spiritual meditation
is done for spiritual growth and realization of self & truth.
How to Meditate
- Chose your way. How to meditate depend
on many factors like how it relates to your personality,
your lifestyle, your need to meditate, the aspect of mind
you wish to develop etc. No method is ‘better’.
It all depends on your choice and suitability. But do not
change your method too often.
- Start now. Do not wait for time when
you will be ‘ready’ for
it. Meditation is an ongoing journey. Begin it now and keep
- Have patience. Do not expect great results immediately.
With patience and regular practice you can progress well.
- Enjoy the journey instead of meditating in a monotonous
- Be fully involved in meditation; do not meditate in a mechanical
- Initially structured method may help more, select appropriate
time and place, be free from distraction. It is better done
on empty stomach but one should not be too hungry to get
distracted. Wear comfortable clothing.
- Basic posture is sitting comfortably with straight but
relaxed back, hands on lap and eyes gently closed. Take regular,
deep breaths and relax your body. Select the technique and
Some Popular Techniques
- Meditation on observing the breathing. Both active and
- Meditation on body relaxation.
- Vision Meditation. Focus on some object / picture.
- Meditation on hearing. Focus on sound, mantra etc.
- Thought Meditation. Thought watching, thought wandering,
- Fantasy meditation. Meditating on imaginary objects, incidents,
- Self awareness meditation. Meditating on self (physical
/ emotional self), past and present.
- Real life meditation. Meditating in day to day activity
with present mindedness.
- Activity meditation. Meditating with dance, painting, playing
- Kundalini meditation. A powerful technique which combines
various other techniques to meditate on energy centres called
chakras resulting in activation of kundalini (yogic) energy.
- Other popular techniques are Preksha meditation, Vipassana
meditation, Transcedental meditation, Mindfulness meditation,
Zen meditation, Buddhist meditation, Yogic meditation, Tantra
There is lot of commercialization of meditation these
days. But you need not spend big money to meditate. The real
power of meditation is always there within you. Every human
being is given unlimited capacity of mind. Only thing you
need to do is to start the journey, it does not matter which
path you take. Do not worry about result. Enjoy the journey.
Every step, every second spent on meditation will unleash
the inner energy. The world of success, freedom, joy, love
and happiness is waiting for you. Get going !!