Practitioners of Hinduism and Buddhism practiced meditation in order to attain a higher spiritual state. Aside from these two major religions, there are others that incorporate meditation to their teaching. The basic tenets of these religions specify meditative practice as an important component of the daily exercise of faith and devotion to their gods and deities. Meditation is both a means of honoring the traditions of the religion and a way to better oneself, particularly in terms of controlling the impulses and patterns that lead to negative and unproductive habits. It is also something that can be able to control the thoughts of one person. Thus it is being used today as means to cure impending mental issues.
Meditation may mean two different things to two people, depending on where and how they learned to meditate. Meanwhile, the primary purpose of meditation is shared by the many different approaches, and that is attaining a higher level of consciousness. This altered state is a means of transforming and changing the mind such that it becomes calm and focused all the time.
Ways to meditate
Meditation is easier said than done. There are some who devote their time to studying this practice. Still, many of the techniques require very little in terms of materials and resources. For instance, in techniques that is aimed at focusing one’s attention, the only requirement is a quiet place and an object that the person can pay attention to. The latter may even not be necessary if the practitioner chooses to focus instead on a mantra or his own breathing pattern.
There are two other important elements of meditation, and these are universal requirements no matter which technique is to be performed. First of all, the setting must be as quiet as possible, especially for those who are just starting out. A quiet setting does not only refer to the ambient noise, but also to a lack of distractions such as modern gadgets, television, and reading materials. In terms of body position, the familiar lotus position, which requires that person be comfortably seated, is the most popular body posture that is associated with meditation. However, meditation may also be performed while lying down in supine or even when walking. As a person develops skill in entering the meditative state, he or she can meditate while on the move or in noisy and highly stressful environments. Practicing meditation regularly allows a person to “escape” the chaos of traffic, a long line at the grocery store, or an all-day meeting. The key to meditation is for the person to find a level of physical comfort which allows him to direct his mind toward the task at hand.
Meditation and breathing
Breathing plays an important role in meditative practice. In fact, mastering a specific breathing pattern is central to the correct performance of many meditation techniques. The objective of the slow, deep, and diaphragmatic breathing pattern that is taught to meditation novices is to improve breathing efficiency by promoting the use of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the primary muscle of respiration and using it is the most effective way to breathe, bringing an adequate amount of oxygen to all the cells of the body. This part of meditation is said to heal. Most people are unaware that their breathing pattern is not relaxed and efficient. Instead of the diaphragm, they are mostly using muscles of the shoulders, neck, ribs to breathe, which are accessory muscles of respiration. The process is not that hard to master. There are classes that are being offered that can help in mastering the proper techniques of breathing.