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Meditation - Meaning, Benefits, Experiences and Types

What Does the Word Meditation Mean?

Meditation is a tricky word to define with one sentence. Especially, since if you search "what does meditation mean" you'll get many different answers ranging from the dictionary version, to the ancient cultural meanings, to the more unique ideas of an individual.

The most helpful way to understand meditation, in my opinion, is to look at all the words and phrases associated with it and start to get your own picture of what it means to you. Take a look below.

  • Clearing the mind

  • Contemplation and mindfulness

  • Becoming familiar with the Self

  • Self-Realization and knowledge

  • Uniting with the universal mind of consciousness

  • Becoming aware that everyone/everything is ONE

  • Observation of the external and internal

  • Letting go of the physical senses

  • Accepting what is

  • Surrender

  • To Ponder

  • Going inward

  • Observing thoughts and emotions

  • Silence and Lightness

  • Concentration, Focus, Attention

  • Seeing things as they are without judgment or feeling the need to "fix" or change them

  • Allowing the of energy of Source to flow through you

  • Mastering the mind

  • Connection to a higher power

  • Reprogramming the body and mind for a specific goal

  • Health and well-being

The Purpose and Benefits of Meditation

I put purpose and benefits under the same heading because they are so closely linked. Most people start practicing meditation for a certain purpose which implies that they are looking for some kind of benefit...of which there are many! But, here's just a few.

  • Understanding yourself

  • Relaxation and decreased stress

  • Reduced emotional triggering

  • Increased imagination and creativity

  • Deeper, more restful sleep

  • Seeing new perspectives

  • Heightened enjoyment and contentment in life

  • Increased health and wellness in the body

  • Increased ability to focus

  • Mental/Emotional stamina

  • Physical endurance

  • Less impulse actions and reactions

  • Help with addictions

  • Slower aging

  • Stronger immune system

  • Regulate emotions

What Do People Experience During Meditation?

Sometimes, especially at first, it's possible not to feel or experience anything. It may seem dry, irritating and pointless. You might feel restless, bored, frustrated, sad, angry...negative emotions are not something that need to be fought against. Just observe them and then let them pass through. This is all part of the meditative experience. Over time however, if practiced regularly, people start feeling differently, looking forward to meditation as a daily habit. Here are some of the things people may feel during a session:

  • A sense of feeling "complete" or whole, lacking nothing

  • Peaceful, Loving, Calm, Ecstasy, Bliss

  • Natural high or Euphoria

  • A feeling that nothing is wrong, there is nothing to fix or change

  • Sometimes people see colors or visions and pick up on things that they are not usually aware of. A general expansion and intensity of the human senses.

  • Interesting sensations in the physical body such as trembling, hot or cold, twitches, heavy or light breathing, weightlessness, etc.

  • A profound feeling that everything is okay, that nothing is so serious

  • Changes in the perception of time

  • Feelings of connectedness between the brain and heart

  • The mind, body and spirit feel that they are operating in sync with each other

  • Instantaneous or gradual healing of physical disease, illness, pain or discomfort

What Types of Meditation Techniques Are there?

In the world of meditation, there are ancient and traditional techniques that are very specific and follow a rule set. Many of these meditations are connected to certain religions or cultures. The descriptions I give below are not from any specific religion, culture, or place and can be used by anyone whether they are highly spiritual or not.

The words or phrases I use are not necessarily the standard some cases, there is no standard definition for a certain kind of meditation...and this is by no means a complete list.

  • Healing: a focused meditation used to allow the body to access the energy needed for cellular regeneration and restoration.

  • Observation: a state of being where a person becomes aware of their surroundings, the sensations in the body, their thoughts or specific things experienced through the senses.

  • Symbolic: this type of meditation uses specific symbols that have significant meaning to the person who is practicing.

  • Sound Bath: usually practiced using some type of instrument that makes sound vibrations such as gongs or bowls

  • Mantra: repeated words used during meditation.

  • Guided: any meditation that a person listens to and follows along with someone else who is guiding the meditation in some way.

  • Movement: this could be yoga, gardening, swimming, or walking, any kind of movement done in sync with the awareness of the body while moving.

  • Resting Awareness: a letting go of all thoughts and emotions.

  • Visualization: using imagery in the mind for a certain desired outcome.

  • Mindfulness: meditation focused on being aware of thoughts, emotions, and sensations that arise.

  • Body Scan: a tuning into any sensations that are felt by the body...heat, cold, nausea, tingles, tightness, etc. Sometimes tightening and loosening of specific muscles are used as well.

  • Loving Kindness: focusing on sending positive energy to a particular person, place, or thing.

  • Skillful Compassion: meditation used to raise compassion toward yourself or other people.

  • Chakra: specifically for helping the chakras to become unblocked, and aligned so that an easy flow of energy can move through the physical and etheric body.

Meditation is found in nearly every culture and religion in the known world. You can do it anywhere. You don't need money to practice it and it doesn't matter your nationality, your color, your age, or your gender...anyone can do it and see the benefits from it! Happy Meditating!

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