Meditation is a word that has come to be used loosely and inaccurately in the modern world. That is why there is so much confusion about how to practice it. Some people use the word meditate when they mean thinking or contemplating; others use it to refer to daydreaming or fantasizing. However, meditation (dhyana) is not any of these.
Meditation is a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state. It is the means for fathoming all the levels of ourselves and finally experiencing the center of consciousness within. Meditation is not a part of any religion; it is a science, which means that the process of meditation follows a particular order, has definite principles, and produces results that can be verified.
In meditation, the mind is clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused. When you meditate, you are fully awake and alert, but your mind is not focused on the external world or on the events taking place around you. Meditation requires an inner state that is still and one-pointed so that the mind becomes silent.
When and how long should you meditate?
Meditation can seem like an obstacle when you first begin. Do not put any pressure on yourself in terms of how long you should meditate. Try about 5 minutes when you start. Real meditation (which is done in the spiritual eye) can be quite strenuous. When you are ready you should try and lengthen your meditation sessions – the next goal could be 15 minutes. This is when your subconscious is going to start calming down. Once you feel comfortable you will automatically increase the length of your meditations as your mind will become calmer, you will feel more stable and freer and you will feel more aware of what is going on around you. Our personal preference in terms of meditation is the morning, but when you are a beginner it does not matter so much when you do it. Maybe do it at night before going to sleep or during the day if you find time. Once you are more advanced you will prefer doing it in the early morning as the atmosphere is clearer then and you will feel more refreshed during the day.
Buddhist and Yoga Meditation
At the outset of buddhism and when the faith was in constant development, yoga was mainly used as a method to align body, mind and spirit to assist on the path of attaining liberation and enlightenment. Of course there were different methods that were being used which then lead to varying ways of meditation and differing goals. In Buddhism it is the ultimate goal to overcome the ego and let go of the „I“ – therefor not being seen as an individual anymore but part of the whole. In Hinduism meditation is used to create a connection between the divine (or godly) and spiritual nature of a human being and the being itself. Meditation is a method that is used in the yogic way without having to be part of any particular religion – it is used as a method to attain liberation and eventually become free of the circle of reincarnation.
When the mind is silent and no longer distracts you, meditation deepens. The mind needs to be quiet and peaceful in order to liberate ourselves from worries and mental imbalances. If our mind is not peaceful it becomes very difficult to attain a more or less constant state of happiness. Even if our outer environment provides everything we can long for. Meditation alleviates stress and forceful thinking if done regularly. It creates peace from within which will ultimately also change our experiences on the outside.