Improves your ability to control your thinking
Meditation is a practice involving clearing your mind and focusing on a specific thing or thought.
Why meditate? To increase your ability to relax, be mindful (and thus make better choices) and concentrate (and thus become more effective). To reduce stress, clear the mind, increase awareness of the present moment, and to enhance personal and spiritual growth.
Here are some internal links we have written on meditation:
- Reasons to meditate
- Spiritually Oriented Meditation
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- There are three main types: of meditation brain patterns:
(1) Focused attention where the attention is focused on something like the breath, body parts, a candle flame, word or a concept which increases the activity of beta and gamma brain waves,
(2) Open monitoring of reality. Mindfulness meditation during which one observes the contents of one’s experience without judging them. This increases the activity of slow theta brain waves.
(3) Self-transcending meditation where the mind experiences transcending to higher levels of consciousness beyond the normal/sleep/dreaming levels of consciousness to four higher levels (1. complete silence with the consciousness still wide awake, 2. witness consciousness where the little ego & impermanence of the world can be watched, 3. God consciousness where one starts blissfully seeing deep below the surface and 4. Unity consciousness). Activity of alpha brain waves increases. The sixth & seventh levels are rare and can take years of guided practice.
- Specific types of meditation include Mindfulness, Centering Prayer, Vipassana, Zazen, Transcendental and Yoga relaxation. Each technique as well as the target of focus is slightly different but the general idea is similar. For example, different variations emphasize focusing on a different “something” such as your breathing, a sound, mantra, candle flame, blank wall, parts of the body or God’s presence within.
- An advanced chapter on balancing mindfulness with concentration from Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana.
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