Meditation Techniques - Their Purpose and Benefits
By Remez Sasson
If you explore the world of meditation, you will find that there are many meditation techniques. Besides the classical techniques, almost every meditation teacher invents some of his own. The multiplicity of meditation techniques and methods causes some confusion for people who are new to the subject. They do not know where to start and which method to follow.
There are many meditation techniques and methods to choose from. Everyone extols the method he or she follows. They do so, because this is what they know and have been practicing. One's method may not necessarily be appropriate for someone else. That's why there are so many techniques.
Most people, especially in the West, associate meditation with relaxation of the body and mind. Many try it, because of their need to find some relaxation in a world full of tension.
There are various Indian meditation techniques, Buddhist meditations, Zen meditations and other Eastern or Western techniques. Even guided imagination and creative visualization are a certain type of meditation. You can now learn and practice meditation wherever you are, not just in the exotic Far East.
Sometimes, people come across a method and start practicing it. Sometimes they like it and go on with it. At others times they are not satisfied, and either search some other technique or stop altogether.
The question is not what technique or method to choose. The crucial question is what do you expect to attain or gain, and does the method you choose lead you to your aim. Are you just after physical relaxation, a little inner peace, or do you want to gain real peace of mind? Maybe your aim is the attainment of enlightenment.
There are techniques that instruct you to concentrate on the tip of your nose, on your breathing or on your movements. Others tell you to think on a sentence, quote or prayer, while other methods tell you to repeat a mantra. In all of these methods you are actually teaching the mind to stick to one object, action or thought. You are training it to become one-pointed.
You can sit by the sea and watch the waves, follow a cloud in the sky or concentrate on a certain subject and try to understand it. You can repeat a prayer or think about god. These too, are all various methods of meditation. The main theme of all of them is the act of focusing the mind on one single subject, in other words concentration.
The mind is usually restless. By subduing its waves, it becomes quiet. When the mind is quiet the body is quiet too. Meditation is not different from any other method of training. To succeed, you need perseverance, inner strength, ambition and faith. To gain results, you need to devote, time, energy and love.
Meditation brings physical and mental calmness and enhance the power of concentration power, the memory, intuition, inner strength and peace of mind. It might also lead to spiritual enlightenment. This depends on how much enthusiastic you are, how much energy and time you devote to it and on your inner ripeness.
The ultimate goal of meditation is to reach beyond the mind and live in the world of pure spirit. This may not be the goal of the majority of those just start to meditate. For most people, the main purpose is the reduction of physical and mental stress and the gain of some peace of mind.
If you meditate, and persevere with earnestness and concentration, you will eventually come to realize that there is a world beyond thoughts. You will be able to silence your thoughts, and then meditation will take a new meaning. You will discover the joy and bliss that comes when the mind is silent. You will discover a new kind of consciousness, which is beyond the mind and is not dependent it. In this state of consciousness there are no thoughts. It is what the great Indian sage, Sri Ramana Maharshi, called the thoughtless state.
When the mind becomes naturally quiet, you find out who you really are. You discover your true identity. The mind is then transcended, and the spiritual consciousness shines.