what it means to me to meditate
Meditating is not something you do, a certain act.
Meditation is a status, a state in which we remain in deep contact with our pure essence, with who we really are.
There are no job titles or self-definitions (I'm happy, I'm sad). Simply "I am."
Jaggi Vasudev, better known as Sadh Guru , mystic and likeable Indian yogi for me a great source of inspiration, said:
"If you close your eyes and sit down, in English we call it meditation. You can sit with your eyes closed and do many things. There are many dimensions. You can do japa, tapa, dharana, dhyana, samadhi, shoonya. Or you may have just learned there. 'art of sleeping in vertical postures! "
"If the body calms down, the mind calms down too." How many times have we heard that? And above all, how true is it?
If we force this process, however, we will only feed the incessant flow of our thoughts.
And so how do you achieve this much sought-after peace, quiet?
Surely thanks to the breathing techniques (pranayama) and the postures (asanas) that the yogic tradition has handed down but also during the activities we love most. From the more creative ones (like painting) or moving ones (like practicing, walking or playing sports).
You don't necessarily need to be sitting in Loro with your Chin or Jnana Mudra to uplift yourself.
I have discovered that I am completely at peace and connected with myself when I do the dishes (I love it 😂), when I do my hair or do it for others (from the fold to the braids), when I draw, when I cook, when I prepare mine breakfasts, when I am by the sea barefoot and lulled by the movement and sound of the waves. Aaaaah! But also when I practice and when I teach.
On all these occasions, my mind has no desire to be elsewhere.
Remains alert but serene. It is a bit of a "stay without penZier" ", whether it is in the lotus while you stretch the column or in a beautiful beach by the sea.
meditation: A MANUAL DEFINITION
Meditation, in Sanskrit dhyana (among eight limbs of the path of Patañjali) is a contemplative practice, present in various religious and spiritual traditions as a means to calm , focus and transform the mind. Meditation cultivates self-awareness and provides optimal conditions for practicing and amplifying it.
In general, in addition to calming the mind and body, the goal of meditation is to intensify personal and spiritual growth.
A common misconception of meditation is that its only purpose is to clear the mind of thoughts. While some traditions such as Zen and Yoga teach the state of no-mind as an ultimate goal, it is widely recognized that the practice of meditation itself involves thoughts as the cornerstone. Whenever the mind becomes distracted, the practitioner is encouraged to return to an object of concentration, such as breath, sound, image, or a philosophical or spiritual concept.
Basically, meditation is training in attention and awareness. It is widely used as a spiritual practice in Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and yoga and is even found in secular contexts such as modern interpretations of mindfulness. Some consider Jewish, Christian and Muslim prayer to be a form of meditation as the mind is focused on a set of words or concepts.
Due to the wide variety of contexts in which meditation is practiced, there are a huge number of different meditation practices. In general, meditation involves establishing a focal point to free yourself from distractions, finding stillness in a stable and stable posture. However, there are some forms of practice that involve movement, such as walking meditation.
Popular focal points for meditation include:
Sound : Repeating a mantra, phrase or other sound
Visualization : Imagine an object with closed eyes, such as a lotus flower or the body's energy points (chakra)
Look : look at a real object with your eyes open. Candles, flowers or pictures are common objects used for looking
Breathing : Watching your breath and how it feels - the sensations - as it travels in and out of the body
Philosophical or spiritual concept : as loving-kindness, acceptance or self-transcendence
Meditation allows practitioners to observe the patterns of the mind and notice the thoughts that interrupt them, eventually leading to longer spaces between them over time. Regular practice allows deep concentration in a natural and more frequent way.
Training the mind in this way greatly improves mental strength and focus. In addition, there is a great deal of research that has confirmed the physiological and psychological changes that occur in the body during meditation. For example, Herbert Benson's studies have shown that meditation counteracts the stress response, in turn improving any health conditions related to chronic stress.
It takes years of practice, dedication and discipline to reach the truly meditative state known as dhyana, in which it is no longer possible to perceive the act of meditation or separate a sense of self from it.
Generally, what is taught as "meditation" in yoga studies is actually the practice of dharana; techniques for focusing and concentrating the mind in preparation for dhyana. Focusing on the breath, bodily sensations, mantra, chakra or drishti are all forms of dharana, in which the mind is trained to fixate on a particular subject or object.
During these times of stress and uncertainty your doshas may be out of balance.
To help you draw attention to your doshas and to identify which is your predominant dosha, we have created the following quiz.
Try not to get stressed out on every question, but simply answer based on your intuition. After all, you know yourself better than anyone else.
MEDITATION vs MINDFULNESS
Are you still a little confused? Quiet is simpler than you think.
Mindfulness is nothing more than " mindfulness meditation ".
Mindfulness, an increasingly widespread practice in the Western world, is nothing more than " mindfulness meditation " which, from a niche phenomenon has become a mass phenomenon. programs for stress reduction are offered in many centers. Among these, the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and more and more people decide to hang out with them.
Its original form (Vipassana) is the cornerstone of Buddhism but, thanks to recent stress reduction programs, it has found a successful application in the secular and clinical fields.
Within the practice of Vipassana there are different schools of teaching which, while presenting some technical differences, always have to do with the development of awareness (Mindfulness) regarding the processes of body and mind. The main traditions of Vipassana that reached the West (in Asia there are many more) are the result of the revision of modern teachers: Mahasi Sayadaw (1904-1982) and U Ba Khin (1899-1971), both Burmese. Mahasi Sayadaw's method is based on the alternation of sitting and walking meditation, on the observation of the breath as a primary object of awareness starting from the sensation of rising and falling of the abdomen, and on the use of a mental label for the processes that are observed. In the Mahasi method the observation of breath and physical sensations is used as a preliminary phase to the observation of the mind itself as an object of contemplation. The U Ba Khin method is based exclusively on sitting meditation. It is characterized by the observation of the breath at the height of the nostrils and an extreme care and precision in the observation of physical sensations.
DUE FORME DI MEDITAZIONE
TWO FORMS OF MEDITATION
Before proceeding, I must tell you that there are two forms of meditation:
Concentrative meditation (or Samatha meditation)
Mindfulness meditation (or insight meditation)
We start from afar.
Let's go back to about 5000 years ago, when human beings began to "meditate".
Concentrative meditation is a practice that man has known for at least 5000 years and is present in all spiritual traditions, including Christianity. Its purpose is to stop the mind on an object of contemplation: the repetition of a word, a visualization, the breath.
What we told ourselves a few paragraphs ago.
By practicing concentrative meditation intensively and continuously, it is possible to reach high levels of concentration, up to entering states of deep absorption.
Let's go back to our days now.
Mindfulness Meditation it is more recent, and is an evolution of the concentrative one. Its origin is traced back to the teachings of the spiritual guide Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, who lived around the 5th century BC in present-day Nepal and northern India. In this practice, concentration develops in observing the processes of mind and body in their continuous change. Done intensively and continuously, this form of meditation leads to states of absorption characterized by a greater understanding of the nature of mind and body: insight.
Here we are with modern mindfulness programs.
Mindfulness is the English translation of the term Sati , a term in an ancient language, the Pali. In Italian it is translated with awareness or mindfulness. In reality, neither mindfulness nor awareness or mindfulness fully translate the original meaning of Sati, which indicated a presence of mind and heart. Today we can speak of awareness as that quality of attention that allows one to turn to experience , internal and external, with a mind that maintains the characteristics of clarity, peace and softness. Awareness can be cultivated both in the course of meditation exercises (or "formal meditation"), and in daily actions ("informal meditation"). The activities I told you before 🙃
Mindfulness is an important part of Yoga and Meditation. Greater awareness can be cultivated through yoga and especially through meditation practices. This has been linked both historically and in modern scientific studies to improving mental health and well-being. Mindfulness can be considered an awakening process in the present moment . The practitioner's attention shifts from memories of the past and plans for the future to what is happening right now.
However, the practice of Mindfulness is not just about being aware of the present moment, but also about the quality of that awareness. When developing awareness, the practitioner tries to intentionally bring their attention to the present moment and cultivate an attitude of acceptance and non-judgment towards it.
Most of the time, without practice, Mindfulness is a fleeting state of initial awareness. Usually, once the mind is aware of something, it starts thinking about it, weaving a narrative around it, labeling it and judging it.
When practicing mindfulness, the practitioner begins to extend that fleeting moment into a prolonged state of awareness.
Since Mindfulness is an objective and non-judgmental process, it is closely related to other yogic concepts of acceptance and surrender. A person may still experience difficult thoughts, feelings, and moods but, through awareness, these experiences can become less threatening. They simply become something else to be aware of and accept without resistance or attachment.