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What is meditation?

Meditation is surrender. It is not thinking. It is the vehicle that connects us both with our true Self and with that which is beyond ourself. Meditation is the thing that nourishes our spirit. It is the fuel for our for our spiritual growth and the key for our ascent. Simply put, it is our connection with the Divine.

Where did meditation come from?

At its roots, mediation can be traced back to ancient times. Researchers speculate that even primitive societies may have discovered altered states of consciousness and meditative states while staring into the flames of their campfires. Meditation techniques can be found in Indian scriptures dated at five thousand years old. Over thousands of years, meditation evolved into different structured practices and styles, spreading across Asia, its continent of origin. It was only in the 1960s and 70s that meditation became popular in the West. From that point, many variations have spread across the globe.

What are the benefits of meditation in my daily life?

The benefits gained from meditation include a healthy distancing from the stressful things of life and a trust in that forces that shape your everyday existence. Life can be very demanding. It is important to have both the ways and means to cope. It’s easy to get into a stressful and irritable mood thinking about the pressures of work and family life. There is also a risk of losing focus on all the good things of life. Meditation helps you to witness that which is stressful. It helps you to see things clearly, as if from a distance.

How is meditation different from relaxation, thinking, concentration or self-hypnosis?

Meditation is indeed different from all these techniques because it not only relaxes us, not only enriches us with peace, joy and optimism, but it actually transforms a human being, gradually and deeply, into a beautiful and happy individual. This happens without great effort, thought or concentration.

What is the best time of day to meditate?

At sunrise, early in the morning is usually the most ideal time to meditate. At that time, one is able to feel the silence within in a complete symphony with nature. It especially works if the person feels well rested after a good, normal sleep. Evening is also a time of the day when we can easily bring ourselves into meditation. In the morning, we feel the need to start our daily routine in a comfortable way. In the evening, we want to find relaxation after having completed our busy day. The exact best time to meditate depends on our lifestyle, our job and the various tasks we are dedicated to every day.

Should I meditate with my eyes open or with my eyes closed?

Basically, it is more pleasant and useful to meditate with your eyes closed. In this way, your perception of your inner being can be more intense. However, in case you have some unusual sensations, such as your inner body turning around or the seeing of colors, it is highly advisable to open your eyes. These phenomena mean you are either too much on the right or left side and not in the center. A quality meditation is only possible in the central channel.

How long should my meditation sessions last?

It is good to give ourselves the time we need to focus and to find that special silence inside. To this end, it is generally best to meditate no less than fifteen minutes. Often the full time of the meditation will not have the same quality or depth, especially if we have never tried meditating before, therefore fifteen minutes of quality meditation is the goal. In order to achieve a truly meditative state, it is highly recommended to accept and forgive the thoughts which may interfere. Then the real meditation will take place and you will be able to enjoy.

Where should I meditate?

When you fill a space with artistic pieces, you create a beautiful room and you feel delighted each time you step into it. Similarly, when you keep a regular place for your daily meditation, you build a conducive atmosphere that eases you into a meditative mood. While there is no strict rule about where to meditate, keeping an assigned meditation area in your home is ideal. Also, attending a group meditation will strengthen your state of silence. As you grow in meditation, you will find yourself at peace no matter where you are.

Do I have to sit cross-legged?

While sitting cross-legged on the floor for meditation is good, it is not the only way to do it. You do not have to sit cross-legged. Sitting on a chair is fine. Remember that you must be comfortable in the way that you are sitting, otherwise one can get easily distracted and not be able to go into a meditative state. The most important objective in your posture is that your spinal cord should be fairly straight.

Can people get by without a teacher?

You can be your own teacher. The meditation unlocks the knowledge which is within each of us. You will know what is right and what is wrong. You feel what techniques to try and which to avoid. But, at the same time, you will always benefit greatly from the experience of others. Through a group meditation, your growth can be accelerated tenfold. We grow through collectivity, humility and surrender.

Should I use music while meditating?

The distractions of day-to-day life make maintaining our attention extremely difficult. Music is an aid to meditation. While listening to gentle music, we observe a positive shift in our attention. The attention that was involved in worries and problems, now gets subtler and steadier. Meditation thus becomes spontaneous and effortless. Moreover, the ragas and notes of the Indian classical music have been designed to stimulate the subtle energy system within us. By just listening, you can feel an increased flow of vibrations which can take you effortlessly into a deeper spiritual state.

What is a mantra and do I need one?

The word “mantra” is derived from the root word “man” meaning to think or to meditate. A mantra is that which is uttered in meditation. It is the phonetics of vibrations into specific sounds, which have a direct effect on the inner being. When a realized soul utters a mantra, he or she mediates the spiritual energy for the specific purpose for which the mantra is intended. Mantras are most effective while sitting in meditation. During meditation, when a problem or a blockage is found in a particular subtle energy center, mantras can be used to clear them out and achieve the state of thoughtless awareness where a person’s spiritual nature begins to manifest spontaneously.

Can I learn to meditate from a book/DVD?

You can learn meditation from a book or a DVD, but you have to remember that the book or DVD can only take you up to a point. If you want to grow deeper in your meditation, you will experience more growth by attending a meditation class. The advantage of a class is hands-on advice from instructors and immediate answers to your personal questions.

What do I need to get started?