|Do Yoda Proud: Meditation 101
Meditation refers to a state where your body and mind are consciously
relaxed and focused.
Practitioners of this art report increased awareness,
focus, and concentration, as well as a more positive outlook in life.
Meditation is most commonly associated with monks, mystics and other
However, you don't have to be a monk or mystic to
enjoy its benefits.
And you don't even have to be in a special place to
You could even try it in your own living room!
Although there are many different approaches to meditation, the
fundamental principles remain the same.
The most important among these
principles is that of removing obstructive, negative, and wandering
thoughts and fantasies, and calming the mind with a deep sense of focus.
This clears the mind of debris and prepares it for a higher quality of
The negative thoughts you have - those of noisy neighbors' bossy
officemates, that parking ticket you got, and unwanted spam - are said to
contribute to the 'polluting' of the mind, and shutting them out is allows
for the 'cleansing' of the mind so that it may focus on deeper, more
Some practitioners even shut out all sensory input - no sights, no sounds,
and nothing to touch - and try to detach themselves from the commotion
You may now focus on a deep, profound thought if this is your
It may seem deafening at first, since we are all too accustomed to
constantly hearing and seeing things, but as you continue this exercise
you will find yourself becoming more aware of everything around you.
If you find the meditating positions you see on television threatening -
those with impossibly arched backs, and painful-looking contortions - you
need not worry.
The principle here is to be in a comfortable position
conducive to concentration.
This may be while sitting cross-legged,
standing, lying down, and even walking.
If the position allows you to relax and focus, then that would be a good
While sitting or standing, the back should be straight,
but not tense or tight.
In other positions, the only no-no is slouching
and falling asleep.
Loose, comfortable clothes help a lot in the process since tight fitting
clothes have a tendency to choke you up and make you feel tense.
The place you perform meditation should have a soothing atmosphere.
be in your living room, or bedroom, or any place that you feel comfortable
You might want an exercise mat if you plan to take on the more
challenging positions (if you feel more focused doing so, and if the
contortionist in you is screaming for release).
You may want to have the
place arranged so that it is soothing to your senses.
Silence helps most people relax and meditate, so you may want a quiet,
isolated area far from the ringing of the phone or the humming of the
Pleasing scents also help in that regard, so stocking up
on aromatic candles isn't such a bad idea either.
The monks you see on television making those monotonous sounds are
actually performing their mantra.
This, in simple terms, is a short creed,
a simple sound which, for these practitioners, holds a mystic value.
You do not need to perform such; however, it would pay to note that
focusing on repeated actions such as breathing, and humming help the
practitioner enter a higher state of consciousness.
The principle here is focus.
You could also try focusing on a certain
object or thought, or even, while keeping your eyes open, focus on a
One sample routine would be to - while in a meditative state - silently
name every part of you body and focusing your consciousness on that part.
While doing this you should be aware of any tension on any part of your
Mentally visualize releasing this tension. It works wonders.
In all, meditation is a relatively risk-free practice and its benefits are
well worth the effort (or non-effort - remember we're relaxing).
Studies have shown that meditation does bring about beneficial physiologic
effects to the body.
And there has been a growing consensus in the medical
community to further study the effects of such.
So in the near future, who
knows, that mystical, esoteric thing we call meditation might become a
My Old Iraq