Meditation – benefits and utility in everyday life
For those drawn to this ancient practice, which in yoga classes comes with those postures that strengthen not only your body, but also your mind, meditation is not a fad. Whether we are aware if it or not, we all need meditation, because meditation is an excellent way to quiet our mind and recharge our batteries.
Every human being needs physical and mental relaxation. In his book “Meditation and Its Utility in Daily Life with Practical Hints”, Sri Swami Premananda says people should keep their inner selves in touch with the Source through systematic practices intended to calm down their bodies, minds and emotions.
Concentration leads to meditation
Meditation is the seventh step in the ladder of yoga. You cannot access this state unless you have come to master the art of concentration. What is the meaning of this? Concentration means focusing your mind on an external object or a point inside you for 12 seconds in a row. They say that yoga learners start to improve their concentration technique if they manage to focus spontaneously and maintain their focus on an object/point /subject for 12×12 = 144 seconds without interruption.
Meditation may be objective, focused on a particular object outside our body, or purely subjective, focused on our breathing.
All types of meditations are good; what matters is the intensity and steadiness of practice. Aspirers ought to meditate on a regular basis and assimilate what they have learned so that they turn this newly acquired knowledge into wisdom and use that wisdom to overcome the challenges in their lives.
For some people, meditation and concentration are the same. Here is an additional explanation to help you distinguish one from the other: when people focus their thought waves in a single point, we talk about concentration. In order to understand, assimilate and use any knowledge, any piece of information, every human being needs to concentrate. When concentration is maintained for 144 seconds, we call it meditation; when it is extended to 144 x 144 = 20,736 seconds = 345.6 minutes, they say that the person has reached Samadhi.
Briefly, concentration leads to meditation and sustained extended meditation leads to Samadhi (the eighth stage, or the illumination). Those who practice them will get quick and definite results if they properly go through each stage of the yoga system under the guidance of a guru or teacher.
Meditation, source of energy and creativity
The first four stages are meant to purify your mind and strengthen your body, making it fit to receive and hold the DIVINE power. Nowadays, many people equate yoga with practicing a few asanas and pranayamas (yoga poses). This is not enough, as true yoga starts with withdrawal of the senses and involves not only practicing concentration, but also gradually extending the concentration time under close supervision, to reach the stage of meditation and finally become united (yoga means to join, to unite) with the Supreme Reality, with the TRUTH.
Furthermore, meditation – as many mistakenly believe nowadays – is not solely for hermits, anchorites or secluded people. Meditation is extremely important in everyday life and is tremendously helpful for modern people, as it enables them to become the best they can be and perform at their peak.
Conversely, those who are unable to meditate will lack the creativity, courage and confidence they need to achieve their goals. Even psychotherapists have come to recommend patients suffering from nervousness, abnormal bursts of anger, mental disturbances, fear and inferiority complexes or lack of self-confidence to practice meditation as an adjuvant to medical treatment.
Tips for beginners
Every morning and evening, preferably at dawn and sunset, sit in a comfortable posture, with your spine straight, and relax each part of your body, then relax your mind and remain in the same posture for as long as you can.
It will be easier for you to relax your limbs than your mind. This process of relaxing, quietening and body awareness will automatically slow down your breathing, which will make meditation easier. Many thoughts will cross you mind, and some may disturb you. Try to stay calm and watch these thoughts dispassionately. Instead of struggling to free your mind of thoughts, observe them and let them go. The more often you practice meditation, the easier will be to free yourself from worries and negative thinking.
You will see that, once you take a liking to daily meditation, you will not only feel better, but you will never want to give up this practice.
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