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Meditation Techniques and Their Positive Effects on the Mind

Robert Dimuro

Posted on December 9, 2018 17:40

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Meditation is the best way to understand and appreciate conscious experience.

When many hear the word “meditation,” they associate it with the stereotypical image of sitting cross-legged on a mat in a cult-like environment with gongs and other Buddhist overtones. This is an unfortunate characterization because meditation is simply about one’s own conscious awareness that transcends specific routines and settings. The benefits of meditation for the brain are proven and can change a meditator’s entire outlook on life. In this article, I’ll outline a few techniques of meditation that, based on my own experience, are highly effective.

Like many who have never engaged in routine meditation, I was always skeptical of its usefulness and claimed benefits. In the limited experience I’ve had with meditation in the past, mostly in yoga class, it seemed annoying and contrived. Indeed, the instructor was very stereotypical in her approach, only placing emphasis on breathing at regular intervals in a controlled fashion, which made it seem more like a chore than a fulfilling experience.

After several weeks of daily meditation, I’ve rediscovered the practice in a new light. The goal is simply to pay attention to your conscious experience. This literally means paying attention to everything, including physical sensations, thoughts, moods, emotions, etc., which is not as easy to do as it sounds - getting lost in thought is common, as the mind naturally likes to wander and dwell on specific thoughts. These proclivities of the brain result in a myriad of negative mind states.

Contrary to what most people believe, the goal of meditation isn’t to shut out your thoughts in a strained effort to maintain focus on breathing or any other sensation - it’s simply to notice what appears in consciousness in an impartial manner. The key to embracing this technique is to realize that whatever comes to your attention is out of your control. This is true for a loud sound, an annoying itch, or a sudden flash of light, but it’s also true for thoughts. Thoughts come and go as they please, and that observation garners a great sense of peace and calmness.

The premise of meditation rests on the fact that you are not the author of your conscious experience but rather its observer. As such, the benefit of continually practicing meditative techniques is to be more engaged with the present moment - and less engaged with a past you have caused or a future you may have an effect upon. It also helps people not to be consumed by their emotions, whatever they may be. For example, a fit of anger can dissipate as quickly as it arises if you cease to identify yourself with that anger in the same way that you wouldn’t identify yourself with the sound of a car horn or pain in your back.

The techniques I’ve described may sound easy, but the only way to realize their benefits is to meditate routinely, which I highly recommend to everyone - even if for only a few minutes each day.

Robert Dimuro

Posted on December 9, 2018 17:40

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Source: NBC

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