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UM…or was that Om?

Whatever your mantra, meditation as a daily practice develops a greater awareness of self, providing a path to peace and relaxation, enhancing clarity, reducing stress and evoking a feeling of calm.

Meditation references date back to 1500BC where ‘tantras’ are referenced in Hindu scriptures. Meditation has been practiced in its various forms, across faiths from Hinduism to Taoism and Buddhism. Sufism or Islamic mysticism practiced meditative techniques and breath control while early Christian faiths taught lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio  (read, ponder, pray, contemplate).

Whether faith based or secular, meditation provides a path to peace and relaxation, enhancing clarity, reducing stress and evoking a feeling of calm.

While there is many a focus for meditation and each of us connects with our own personal mantras there are essentially two practices:

Concentrative Meditation

Focuses our attention on a specific image, sound, or our own breath, the aim being to still the mind, clearing all else other than that which is our focus.

The breath slows as we sit, silently, focusing on the dynamic of our breathing.  As the mind quiets the breath slows becoming deep and rhythmic.

Immersing ourselves in our breath we become aware yet still.

Mindfulness Meditation

Encourages us to be aware of the multitude of stimuli, sensations and feelings that surround and envelope us while enabling us to be separate from them. Letting them pass we act as witness to our thoughts.  We learn that we are not our feelings but instead how to observe them without reacting to them.  We can instead choose how to respond. With this choice comes clarity and calm.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”

Buddha

Starting with a commitment to just a few minutes each morning you will soon find yourself not only more aware of the moments that would normally pass you by, when ‘being’ in the moment really matters, and more easily letting go of those that don’t.

 

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