The Art of Meditation in Today’s World

In today’s stressful environment, yoga and meditation are quickly gaining popularity across a variety of cultures. Though some associate meditation with a hippie, new age movement, in fact, meditation has ancient roots and can promote emotional wellbeing and physical health.


Meditation (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

Achieving a Higher State of Consciousness

The mind/body connection is believed to be a powerful one and meditation taps into that to help you achieve inner peace and a tranquil state of being. At its best, meditation practices are a means of transforming the mind. Though many situations in life are beyond our control, our mind should not be out of reach. Like any skill in life, focusing the mind takes practice, but when a level of mastery is achieved, it allows us great self-control and concentration in all areas of life.


The Benefits of Meditation

The benefits of meditation include building up the skills to combat stress, greater self-awareness, reduced bad moods, and improved focus. Though meditation can occur anywhere, it is best practiced in a quiet atmosphere that is conducive to reflection. Some studies show that when stress levels are reduced through meditation, physical ailments such as depression and chronic disease are minimized.

Effective meditation can lead to a transformative experience and the calm realization of the true nature of things. Though human behavior is often dark or contradictory, meditation helps us access the soul and examine our shadows. A deeper understanding of ourselves can lead to a deeper understanding of our species.


meditation (Photo credit: HaPe_Gera)

How You can Get Started with Meditation

It may feel daunting at first but anyone is capable of meditating. For those just starting out, it’s best to find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Set aside five or ten minutes, either first thing in the morning or just before bed, and make yourself comfortable. Turn off the TV, silence any phones or tech devices, and make the surrounding area as quiet as possible. (Some people do opt to meditate to music. If you prefer this form of meditation choose gentle tunes – preferably with no lyrics to distract you.) Sit at ground level with a straight back to promote steady breath. Close your eyes and clear your mind of stressful or lingering thoughts. Let your attention go to your breathing. If you choose, you can focus on a positive word or phrase that has meaning to you. Repeat that word in your mind at a steady rhythm. Silence your mind and let all intrusive thoughts fade slowly into the background.

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There are different forms of the art, such as guided meditation or a mantra-based practice. Yoga and tai chi are also considered forms of meditation in some circumstances and require you to align your mental state with the physical. Ultimately, the practice of meditation is an innately personal experience. Figure out what works best for you to achieve a peaceful state and you really can’t go wrong.

Though you likely won’t achieve transcendence in the early days of your practice, with time and patience you can train your mind to fully relax and induce a state of focused mindfulness.