Hello, my name is Timotheus, and I am so happy and grateful you have found this article. I have been meditating since a young child, and I enjoy meditating because of its many benefits. With my years of experience, I would like to share with you today What is Meditation and How to Practice it.
Meditation is very good for your health and well being. It is an excellent practice, and it helps to develop a good and positive mind, body, and soul.
It is best that you read this article from here to the end. But in case you like to jump to specific sections, here is a Content Table with links to each section:
- What is Meditation?
- Why Do You Need to Meditate?
- What are the Benefits of Meditation?
- What is the Correct State of Meditation?
- What are the Ideal Conditions of Meditation?
- How Should I Practice Meditation?
- What are the Types of Meditation?
What is Meditation?
One day, back in the 90s, a friend invited me to join her for a meditation class. Back then, I had heard of meditation. But was not quite sure what it was all about. Curious to find out more, I agreed to attend that class.
He guided us, step by step, on how to relax. And then how to do breath meditation. It was a wonderful experience. But then, I realized something. The practice given was so familiar. This was because I had been meditating since I was a child!
Since young, i had been spontaneously practicing meditation but did not know i was meditating. It was only when I did that short practice in that class that I found out I had been meditating all along.
Even though I had practiced since young, I felt it was still good to attend the course. I believed I would learn more about meditation. And I truly did. Also, the energy of the teacher and the space there was very peaceful and pleasant to me.
So, I continued the class. Now, looking back, I realized this course gave me a strong foundation on the knowledge of meditation. And now, I am happy and grateful to share my knowledge and experience about meditation with you.
At the point of writing this article, i am already 56 years old. Decades have passed since that first meditation course. In that time, I have personally learned and experienced more about meditation. So, I am happy and grateful for this opportunity to share all that with you.
Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we? Let’s being with – What is Meditation?
There are various forms of meditations as listed below. All of them are practices to exercise the mind such that we reach a penultimate state of stillness and silence.
During this state, the meditator is fully conscious and aware. The meditator is in control of the situation, unlike a state of trance or hypnosis. The meditator is completely aware throughout the meditation journey.
It is at the point of complete stillness and silence that transformation can take place. This is the transformation of the character. And in this pure awareness of stillness and silence, insight and wisdom can arise.
Why Do You Need to Meditate?
In America alone, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reported that 8% of the entire adult population practiced meditation. The number has grown since. Globally, surveys found that about 200 to 500 million people meditate.
There are many reasons why more and more people are meditating. The modern world has become very stressful. In a fast paced world, many people face all kinds pressure from many sources.
Meditation has been found to help calm the mind, body and soul. It offers relief in a high stress and pressure world. It is not escape. But a way to manage life.
Of course, there are those who meditate for spiritual pursuits. This is because during meditation, one connects with one’s soul, and explores the spiritual realms.
For me, I meditate mostly to relieve stress. And along the way, I have many spiritual experiences. In this article, and the series of articles that follow, I will discuss about meditation more for the practical reason of stress relief.
At the same time, I may talk about some of my spiritual experiences. In time, I will share more of my spiritual experiences. I will do so more to help people who also have spiritual experiences during meditation. It is my hope that my sharing will help people know that they are not alone. That others, like me, have spiritual experiences during meditations, too.
What are the Benefits of Meditation?
As mentioned above, meditation can help to relieve stress. In today’s fast paced and high pressure world, many people are faced with lots of stress. Meditation can help calm the nerves and help a person to be at peace.
Also, when we meditate, we can create our personal space. A place where we can spend some time alone and be by ourselves. A friend of mine has a very interesting way of putting it. She said that meditation is like having a date with her self. And that is so true.
Another benefit of meditation is that it can help people who are suffering from insomnia. In one of my meditation classes, I have a student who had not had any sleep for weeks. After one session, she came back the next week to happily tell me and the class that she finally had really good sleep. Needless to say, she has attended all my meditation sessions since then.
Meditation also helps us to have a more focused mind. With the practice of focusing on an object or Mindfulness Meditation, I have found that my ability to focus has improved. I do attribute meditation as one of the ways that helped me do well in my master degree. I received good grades constantly, achieved 1st class honors, and was one of the top students of my cohort.
Meditation is also a spiritual practice, if we allow it to be. Those who do not wish to embark on the spiritual journey can simply enjoy meditation as just a way to relief stress.
For those interested in the spiritual experience that meditation can offer, here is a bit more information of the benefits from the spiritual aspect.
Meditation can help us transcend transcend our physical, emotional and mental bodies till we arrive at our spiritual true self (soul) in the quest for self-realization. Perhaps this is why there is a type of meditation called Transcendental Meditation?
Remember that the soul is pure consciousness. It is a part of the Cosmic Consciousness. It is covered by the 5 sheaths (see Anatomy of the Soul for more info). We are attached to this plane of existence because of accumulated karma and samskaras. This creates delusion and ignorance.
Meditation can help us gain insights, and can help us build better character. It can also help us gain enlightenment.
What is the Correct State of Meditation?
When I meditate, I start with a few deep breaths. Or as many as I like in order to get a little more relaxed. Sometimes, it is easy to go into a meditative state. Sometimes, it a little more difficult and it takes a little while to get to the state of silence.
The difficulty is due to obstacles that can happen when you meditate. These obstacles can be restlessness, worry, drowsiness, sensual desire, and few more reasons.
Eventually, I reach a point where the meditation experience is beautiful. It is not easy to describe, but I will try. It is a stillness and silence that bring such peace. I feel so calm. The entire world, the space and time, feels so pristine. Every breath I take is so pure and enjoyable. It is like a thirst is finally quenched after years of not drinking a single drop of water.
The meditation journey i just described can be explained in scientific terms. There are various levels of brain waves. They are Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta Waves Levels.
Most of us are usually at the Beta Waves level. This is the normal waking consciousness. In fact, when we begin any meditation practice, we are at the Betas Waves level.
As we sit comfortably in a meditation, as we close our eyes, our brain waves begin to go to the Alpha Waves Level. Our brains go to the Alpha Waves Level even when we are not concentrating or working on any problems.
As we continue to meditate, there will be more Alpha Waves appearing. This means we are getting deeper into the meditative state. As mentioned above, this is when I start to feel more at peace when I meditate, and also feel more relaxed.
When we continue to meditate, the Theta Waves start to appear. At this stage, we are able to stay longer and longer at the object of our meditation. If it is the breath, then that is the object of the meditation. In what I shared above, I often reach this state. It feels very blissful. And there is no more thought. Just breathing.
The body is now more relaxed. The mind is more relaxed. When we go deeper into mediation, we begin to have Delta Waves. This is a very deep state of meditation. And the meditator begins to have spiritual experiences.
So, what is the Correct State of Meditation?
It all depends on what is your goal for meditation. If it is simply for rest and relaxation, then going to the Alpha Waves Level may be good enough for some of you.
Of course, the Theta Waves Level is ideal because this is the stage where you can get really relaxed. Many people, including me, have said that when they emerged from this state, they feel so refreshed. Like they have slept for hours.
Then there are those who would like to explore the spiritual worlds of meditation. And that would be to achieve the Delta Waves Level. As mentioned, at this level, a meditator will have spiritual experiences. Some have experienced the third eye opening, some astral travel, some do mudras, and many more.
What are the Ideal Conditions for Meditation?
As a beginner, it will help to set up ideal conditions for your meditation practice. And experienced meditator that is adept at meditation will be able to meditate in any condition. For example, I can even meditate in a noisy train carriage when I travel to and from work.
Here are some suggestions for creating the ideal conditions. The first is the environment. The best is to have a room that is quiet and cool. And reduce any interruptions. For example, switch off your mobile phone or turn it to silent mode.
The ideal time to meditate is in the morning or late at night. In the morning, if possible, meditate before breakfast. DO NOT indulge in a full breakfast before meditation. If you meditate at night, the best time is before you go to sleep, and at least 3 hours after a meal.
Wear comfortable clothing when you meditate. It can be loose t shirt with comfortable shorts or even pajamas. Avoid any wear that is restrictive.
The ideal posture for meditation is the semi-lotus position. This is a posture where you place one leg on top of the other. Cross-legged position is all right too. The best is the full lotus position.
Your back should be upright and completely straight. To help you sit upright, place a cushion under your buttocks. Your eyes should look straight ahead with the head erect. Your eyelids should be gently shut, and your mouth gently closed.
How Should I Practice Meditation?
Start your meditation practice for about 10 minutes per session. Do this until you are comfortable with meditation, and feel you can do more.
Then increase to by 5 minutes or more. Gradually, increase the duration to the ideal length of about one hour or more per session.
Usually, I would meditate at least 15 minutes per session. I would meditate longer when I have more time or when I feel tired or stressed. I love meditating for at least an hour or more, and have done so in the past whenever I have time. At times, I would even visit temples, and sit and meditate for an entire day.
The frequency of meditation should be at least once a day. If possible, it is better to do it twice a day. For me, I meditate at least twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. When I can, when I work from home, I would meditate when I take short breaks from work.
What are the Types of Meditation?
There are many types of meditation. Here, in this article, i will highlight a few. And I will explain each of them as best as I can. They are as follows:
What is Samatha Meditation?
Samatha is the Sanskrit word for ‘tranquility of the mind’. And Samatha Meditation is a type of meditation to attain that. There is also One-Pointed Concentration, which is a method used in Samatha Meditation.
The idea is to focus on one single thought, or one thing with your mind. An example would be your breathing. And that is also the basis for another type of meditation called the Breath Meditation.
What is Breath Meditation?
Breath Meditation focuses on only one object during the meditation. And that is the Breath.
This type of meditation uses the natural breathing process. You follow the air going in and out of your nostrils. As you go deeper into this meditation, your breath becomes more shallow. And you have to concentrate even harder on your breath.
As you meditate, you will feel happiness, joy, bliss, calm and tranquility. At the final stage of this practice, you will become still and silent with the only one object in mind.
What is Insight Meditation?
As the name said so clearly, Insight Meditation is a form of meditation that helps us gain insights. It is a way to see things as they are. To see all things without any distortion. To gain greater clarity of ourselves and the world with insights.
In Insight Meditation, the ultimate goal is stillness, silence and emptiness of thoughts. As we empty all thoughts, we are finally left with only pristine awareness. With this pure and pristine awareness, we become aware of the presence of our true self.
Within this backdrop of pure awareness, and with the help of our true self, we begin to hear a little voice. This is the arising of insights. With the insights, we begin to understand our thoughts, our habits, our behavior, and our character.
Basically, we have greater clarity of who we are in this world, and the world around us. And in this understanding of who we are, we experience bliss and peacefulness as we let go of the mind’s conditioning.
What is Mindfulness Meditation
Every day, in this world, most people have many thoughts as we go about doing stuff, and living our lives. The National Science Foundation published a research article that reported that the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day.
And out of those thousands of thoughts, 80% were negative. On top of that, 95% of those thoughts were exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.
In Mindfulness Meditation, we seek to focus on a particular thought or activity. To fully immerse ourselves into that thought or activity until our minds are not thinking of anything else. And we do this, all the while, without judgement or condemnation.
Our minds are focused on what is happening now. Right now. Not what happened a minute ago, or what will happen in the future.
From my experience, I have found this form of meditation very powerful. We can gain full awareness of ourselves and what is around us. I will share a story about this powerful experience in the section below, where I share about Walking Meditation.
What is Walking Meditation?
Back in the late 90s, I learned about Walking Meditation. And I would practice it every day when I walk from the train station to my office where I worked then.
I discovered that Walking Meditation is very powerful. It can enable me to be aware of my self, everything around me in this world, and how we are all connected. And this awareness helped me backfire a prank from a colleague. I will explain as I tell you this short story.
As usual, I would walk from the train station to my office. The path that I took had a large and empty field filled with wild grass on my left. And on the right, a drain runs along the path.
As I walked, I practiced Walking Meditation. First, being aware of my feet as I walked. Then slowly, I became aware of each part of my body as the awareness rose from my feet to my head.
It was interesting to learn how my entire body worked together to enable me to walk. As I observed how every part of my body helped me to walk, my guardian angel spoke to me.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention. Since young, I was able to have chats with my guardian angels. They were the ones who taught me how to meditate when I was young.
Back to this short story, as I continued the Walking Meditation, and becoming more and more aware of my entire body, my guardian angel said to me, “Now, expand that awareness to the field on the left.”
Wow. I never thought of that. But that was interesting. So, I did what my guardian angel suggested. And to my amazement, I could feel everything in that field.
I could feel the grass and each blade of the grass. I could feel the soil. And then I felt a flutter of wings. I could make out the shape of the creature with the wings. And to me, it felt like a stork.
A stork in Singapore? I took a glance and I saw the stork! It truly was there! Exactly, as I saw in my mind when I expanded my awareness.
Just then, I felt an energy coming up from behind me. While still doing the Walking Meditation, I expanded my awareness towards that energy. Somehow, I knew it was one of my colleagues.
And I knew exactly who this colleague was. The person. The name. Everything. He was trying to prank me by jumping and surprising me from behind.
In a split second, I decided to surprise him back. Just as he almost reached me, and was about to surprise me, I turned around and said hello to him. Even before turning, I was already saying his name.
Imagine his shocked face. Haha. He froze. And asked me how did I know he was sneaking up on me? And how did I know it was him and called out his name?
I just smiled.
I hope you enjoyed this short story about my experience with Walking Meditation. And I hope it helped you to understand what Walking Meditation is all about, and what can you gain from it? If not, please let me know by adding a comment below.
What is Flowing Love Meditation?
In the year 2000, my Master Spirit Guide shared with me a very good and powerful meditation. He called it Flowing Love Meditation.
The meditation brings in Divine Love energy, and fills our bodies with this blessed energy. The energy helps to heal and energize our bodies. It also opens energy doorways and empowers us to create and manifest our reality.
I will be sharing more about the Flowing Love Meditation in a future article. Please be notified of this by joining my mailing list (see form at sidebar).
What is Healing Meditation?
When we meditate, we are actually already healing our bodies. As meditation helps us to relieve stress, reduce anxiety, ease pain, sleep better, and many more benefits (as mentioned above), our bodies get better.
At the same time, there are many types of healing meditations out there. And everyone one of us have many different bodies. To simplify, each of us have a physical body, an emotional body, and a spiritual body. There are a few more, but we will just discuss these three for now.
There are healing meditations to heal the physical body. This is very straight forward. This type of meditation focus on the physical body, and help to heal any physical ailment. In the above section, I wrote about a student with insomnia. She was healed with a healing meditation that I conducted in the meditation class.
Some of us may have emotional trauma of some form. There are healing meditations that can heal this particular form of trauma. The Flowing Love Meditation can definitely heal this. I have witnessed many people healed emotionally when I deliver this meditation.
Then of course, there are healing meditations to help us clear any spiritual blockages, and help us reconnect with our spiritual selves, our Spirit Guides, and with the spirit world. Our Spirit Guides and Angels are always here to assist us. When reconnect with them, for example with a meditation to Connect and Speak with your Spirit Guides, we become healed and feel more whole.
Together with my Master Spirit Guide and many Angels, I have created quite a few healing meditations. I will share them soon in future articles. Again, join my mailing list to get updates.
What is Guided Meditation?
There are meditations that you can practice on your own. Then there are meditations where you can be guided along the journey.
This is when you attend a Guided Meditation or listen to one on your mobile phone, and you hear the person leading the meditation speak. You simply just sit and relax. Pay attention to the person speaking. Follow the steps.
I have conducted many Guided Meditation sessions in the past. And everyone who attended have enjoyed it. I am thinking of recording a video as a Guided Meditation. What do you think? Should I do it? Will you be interested to listen? Let me know in the comments below.
We come to the end of this article about What is Meditation and How to Practice it. If you have any questions regarding anything mentioned here in this article, ANY at all, please feel free to ask by adding a comment in the comment box below. I will be more than happy to help.
Wishing you an awesome life filled with abundance, love and light.