Meditation is being silent in order to get an insight. Meditation is focusing your attention on a thing in order to figure it out. Meditation is reflecting on an experience in order to understand it. Meditation is contemplating on an idea in order to make sense of it. Meditation is concentrating the mind on one central subject. Meditation is thinking about something to such an extent that it totally fills your mind. Meditation is just being quiet in order to enjoy the silence. Definitions and explanations for meditation are many but practical meditation is based on the idea that life is a meditation. Most if not all of us have been absorbed in thoughts at one time or another. Sometimes we have been so absorbed that we loose awareness of ourselves; we become one with our thoughts. Becoming one with our thoughts is the height of creativity and we become what we think about. The problem with untrained thinking is that we could easily drift into negative modes of thought. Generally negative thoughts are unhealthy if they are not balanced with their corresponding positive ones. Our attempt is to help you to meditate on the things that bring peace to your life rather than worries. Thus our purpose is to give you the tools to enable you to manage your thoughts. Our belief is that once you are able to take control of your thoughts you could realize almost anything in your life! Peace of mind, purity of thought, self-control, mental alertness, emotional balance, physical strength, connectedness, self-awareness, a sense of purpose, self-confidence, and good health are some of the many benefits to the person who manages his or her thoughts.
It is true that meditation has many benefits but not many people are practicing it. Meditation is still regarded as the domain of the spiritual seeker but there are four main reasons why meditation is still not widely practiced. The first and probably the most cited reason is that meditation is not easy. Well, it is not easy because no one taught us how to meditate when we were growing up. Most things that are new to us take time and practice before we could be used to them. According to Swami Sivananda ‘Meditation is painful in the beginning but it bestows immortal bliss and supreme joy in the end.’ Meditation seems painful because it is new to us. Like most things in life the moment we begin to practice it with a purpose it would become second nature. Another often cited reason is that ‘meditation is a foreign intrusion into our culture’. Meditation is often regarded as an Eastern discipline. “They have their ways and we have our ways”, someone might say. This attitude actually limits the flow of knowledge and in the end it is the individual who suffers. We become stuck to our traditional ways of thinking with no room for new thoughts and therefore no room for growth. However if you are loyal to your beliefs you may still find out more about meditation without adopting foreign practices. For instance if you are a Christian you could find out about what Christians do when they meditate or if you are a Moslem you could find out about what Moslems do when they meditate. In this way you could remain loyal to your beliefs and benefit from a foreign idea. If life is a meditation, as some people believe we are all meditating in one form or other. The practice of meditation will help you to master your thoughts. The third reason is that ‘meditation arouses mystical states’ and neophytes do not know how to deal with their experiences. Yes, meditation could heighten your sense of awareness but there is really nothing to worry about those states of mind. If you are concerned there are many qualified meditation practitioners all over the world. If you are not sure where to begin the best place to start is with a recognized Temple or Church. The last reason is ignorance. Many people do not know the importance of meditation in life. Now you know and we hope this guide will help you to get started.
This program is put together mostly for the beginner and for those who find it difficult to meditate or to control their minds. We are unable to control our minds because our thoughts are everywhere. We think about unholy things, money problems, missed opportunities and our failures the moment we are alone. If we are not thinking about these things we are feeling jealous, resentful, envious and sometimes even angry. No one could concentrate with all these intruders. But the good news is that through the practice of meditation you could train your mind to be free of all the undesirables and to have mastery over your thoughts. Pictures of saints, saviors and angels as well as inspirational passages are great objects of meditations. In training to achieve control over your mind concentrate on a picture, when your mind wonders bring it back to the picture. Continue this exercise until you become good at keeping the picture in your mind for as long as possible. You could do the same with your breath, inspirational passages, your favorite pet, a snow covered meadow, a flower or a past uplifting or joyful experience.
We specially recommend using meaningful experiences of the past when your mind dwells on negative or unfulfilling thoughts. Most negative thoughts catch us off guard and before we know it we are seriously dwelling on the thought to the extent that it literally consumes us. The first positive step in dealing with a negative thought is to follow it to its cause. Is the negative thought a resentment, anger, or loss? Who is the person at the other end of the thought? What happened? If the thought is a recurring one it is important that you address it immediately and stop it on its track. There are exercises to do this in the book. If the thought is just a distraction and has no internal value you may replace it with a positive past experience as soon as you realize it.
In order to make meditation enjoyable for the beginner it is important that you first determine what you intend to get out of it. In other words we want you to set a goal for your meditation program. It could be peace of mind, quitting a bad habit, purity of thought or developing self-confidence. The goal should be such that it motivates you to action at all times. Second we want you to decide to complete the program the moment you begin. This means that you will decide to do all the exercises in this program.
Are you stuck in life? Are you at the crossroads of life? Are you dwelling on your sins? Are you hopeless? Are you helpless? Have you given up? Give this course a try; It could change your life!
For a small donation we will send you Practical Meditation: A Way of Life for the Individual and the Family. Your donations help us to maintain this site and provide educational programs to the public.