Fundamental Principles of Meditation
Different teachers of meditation propagate different practices. In the marketplace it is not unlikely to find as many meditation practices as there are practitioners. In such a scenario having certain bit of confusion is very likely. We have already explored some practices used by various meditation and brain entrainment experts by using the auditory beats like binaural beats, monaural beats and isochronic tones in our previous articles. In this present article we shall explore some fundamental principles of meditation, which need to be adhered to diligently no matter which practice of meditation one is trying to follow.
The first and foremost fundamental principle of meditation is that you have to follow a process of your choice constantly and not change the process every now and then. Any process that you choose is difficult to follow initially. But if you keep changing your process, you shall never be able to master anything.
Never cross the magnetic lines of forces of the earth when you are meditating. This point cannot be emphasized enough. We have already written extensively on epigenetics and the essential energy character of our bodies. If our bodies are in conflict with the energy of the earth while we are trying to meditate the results are never fruitful. They can also be damaging in the long run.
You must never sit or lie on bare ground while meditating. This is because there is energy flow in the body during meditation, which needs to be cut off before it flows into the earth. So, you must break the flow by sitting or lying down on a mat made up of insulated material; or to be in a position where you are not directly in touch with the ground.
You must choose a spot in your house or office or wherever you wish to meditate and then try to meditate in the same place every day. This is because your mind relates with everything around you and visualizes everything even when your eyes are closed. If you keep changing the place your mind is never at ease to relax fully during meditation.
Another thing is that you must decide upon a time of the day when you are free to meditate. These days life is extremely difficult for everyone and so it is most likely that the mind is constantly engaged in something or the other. Hence choosing a time of the day when the mind is relatively free and can be pulled out from other situations is most important. Also try to keep the same time everyday so that the mind becomes used to relaxing during that time. Generally, the Yoga practitioners recommend early morning hours, which is called Brahma Muhuratam, in Sanskrit. But many people find it easier to meditate during the evening hours after work, as their early mornings are extremely busy.
The posture taken while meditation is also very important. This is also in congruence with the energy structure of the body and the kind of energy flow that happens throughout the body during the process of meditation. As far as possible the head, neck, back and full spine have to kept completely e in a straight line so as to support the energy flow. The posture can be a sitting posture or a lying down posture, depending upon your convenience. As life is becoming more and more riddled with various lifestyle disorders people are finding it exceedingly difficult to sit in Yoga postures for a long time for the purpose of meditation. Hence any position that is convenient is fine as long as the head, neck, back and full spine are kept in a straight line.
Meditation is a process of relaxation of the mind, and directing the thoughts inwards to experience the wealth of subconscious elements the mind is blessed with. Through meditation people have focussed their thoughts to accomplish complete health, wealth, immense growth and everlasting happiness. This is why paying attention to above-mentioned fundamental principles of meditation is of utmost importance.
Generally Used Meditation Approaches
Meditation is an abstract process. This is the reason why most people have difficulty in describing their exact meditation process as well as well as the end results they experience while meditating. It is also worth understanding that meditation is more about the end results rather than the techniques used. While the value of techniques cannot be overruled completely, it is important to know that after a while of control, meditation becomes more of a free flowing exercise. In fact, if you wish to experience meditation in its true force you need to let go and let the mind take over completely.
Assigning a certain technique to a certain practitioner is very difficult. Different people use different techniques. But the goals remain the same. The end goal is very simple – to concentrate the thought process in the direction of the present moment. This results in focusing all the energies into the present moment. Now, different people attain this in different ways. In fact, the techniques used to attain this final goal are difficult to describe in a summarized form. But certain broad categories have been identified, which are based on the methodologies that form the foundation of the technique in use. Please remember that these are broad guidelines, which the meditation practitioners can bring in use according to their convenience and requirement.
The following methodologies are broadly identified thus –
Observation Based Meditation:
This is a methodology suggested for beginners and people with little or no grooming in the field of meditation. In this technique people are asked to just passively observe their thoughts. They sit or lie down in a comfortable position and are asked to focus on their thoughts without trying to control them in any way. The thoughts are allowed to flow as they appear in their minds. The practitioners are asked to just observe their thoughts without restricting them in any way. After the session is over the practitioners are asked to spend time with the thoughts that had passed through their minds without any judgemental attitude. This way they develop insights about their thoughts and the way they look at things. Since there is no judgement involved people do not have any fear. Besides no one else observes their thoughts but them, so they can be completely honest and this is the outcome as well as the end goal of this practice – to make you observe your thought process.
Observation and Analysis Based Meditation:
This is an extension to the observation based meditation. In this method the thoughts that cross the mind are analyzed later by the practitioner. In this method there is no external counselling involved from any outside source unless the practitioners wish to discuss their thoughts. People are just asked to self-analyze their thoughts. This gives them better insights into their own minds and thought processes. This technique is very helpful in making people choose better options of thoughts, initiating self improvement and hence creating better lives for themselves. This method has also been used in the Indian prisons to give counselling to prisoners with even serious criminal backgrounds.
The combination of the above two techniques has been very successfully used by the celebrated Indian police officer, Ms. Kiran Bedi, when she headed the notorious Tihar Jail. The exact technique used by her falls into the category of Vippassana technique of Yoga. She managed to create formidable reforms in the prisoners by using this technique.
Target Based Meditation:
Most people who wish to meditate wish to attempt it with some motive. While meditation is no magic cure it can make many wondrous things happen in your life. We have already analyzed the power of our thoughts. This is what is done in this technique. The practitioners are asked to channelize their thoughts in the direction of their chosen desires. Different people desire different things. They are asked to visualize the objects of their desires and feel themselves in possession of what they wish for. This meditative process involving self visualization has helped people cure terminal diseases and achieve great heights in their personal and business lives.
Concentration Based Method:
This is a more advanced meditation technique. The thoughts are concentrated on something, which is of importance and all the irrelevant thoughts are removed from the mind slowly and steadily. This is a pure form of meditative technique and practitioners are generally well-versed in other forms of meditation techniques and have progressed to a certain level before attempting this one. Here the thoughts are focussed so that they attain great power. The mind becomes completely tranquil and a sort of vacuum in the thought process is created. The brain waves of this form of meditation are very relaxing and the practitioner experiences a blissful state of complete physical and mental peace.
The meditation technique that suits you best may be a mix and match of more than one of the above. Choose what works best for you. As you move forward slowly you shall see that meditation becomes a wonderful experience for you.
Meditation – Manifested Benefits
Meditation in its various facets and the benefits that it can impart to our lives is what we have been exploring in the past few articles. We had explained the Alpha, Beta, Theta and Delta states of the mind. We had explained the binaural waves, monaural waves and isochronic tones and their usage in brain entrainment purposes. This discussion is interesting because of the benefits meditation offers. Our mind is such a powerhouse place, which has so far not been completely fathomed. So the exploratory aspect of this is also quite interesting.
Meditation as a process can impart several growth horizons. Some of the best manifested augmentation aspects of meditation are listed below -
Reaching the Subconscious Mind:
Meditation is the most excellent source of reaching your subconscious mind. You can safely say that it is one of the best pathways for you to come in direct connection with your subconscious mind, the place which is the store house of all information. Reaching the states of enlightenment is the result of a long journey. Not everyone may be able to attain enlightenment. But, everyone can enjoy the journey and can benefit immensely from it.
Easy Pathway to Goal Setting:
Meditation is the foundational element of goal setting. In fact, all the mental processes involved in goal setting process are basically meditative in nature. The most essential part of goal setting process is setting up affirmations and repeating them to yourself. This is a method in which you reach your subconscious mind and direct it to move in your desired direction. Affirmations are short statements of the things that you may wish for. They are written in the present tense as if the desired object has already been achieved. You are then asked to repeat them to yourself many times during the day especially after getting up in the morning and going to sleep at night. After a while, your subconscious mind starts moving the things around you in such a way so as to turn each of your wishes into a reality.
The changes that happen at the subconscious levels in your mind make the desires manifest themselves in your life. There are neural pathways formed in the mind because of repetition of affirmations. These are like channels for flow of information, which when reach the subconscious make things a reality. What we constantly think happens eventually in our lives because of the same reason. This is why thought inputs are of utmost value. Our thoughts have the power to make or break us as they reach our subconscious minds directly.
Understanding the True Nature of the Human Birth:
Meditation makes the reality of the human birth clear to you. When you meditate regularly you experience deeper energy sources of your mind. You get to understand that your human body is a different type of energy source and your human mind is a completely different type of energy source. This is despite the fact that the mind is a part of the body and is not known to survive without the body. Yet, as you advance in meditation you shall see that the mind can take you to places and make you to experience things, which are far beyond the reach of your body. This is the true power of the human birth. This is something animals are not endowed with. Meditation makes you understand and come face to face with the immense blessing that the human birth is all about.
Understanding the Power of Negative Emotions and Potential of Positive Ones:
Meditation is a journey in which there are stops like understanding the potential of fear, anger, betrayal, deception, jealousy and other negative emotions. You come face to face with all the negative emotions residing in yourself. This is a process of recognizing the presence of these negative emotions and then moving forward towards positive ones. The ultimate goal of the meditation is to understand that the purest emotions are that of love and forgiveness. The universe moves in unison with you when you move with the positive flow of energy in your system.
Meditation has immense benefits. We shall explore more about the process of meditation in our later articles on this subject.
Meditation and Brain Wave Entrainment through External Auditory Stimuli
We explored the process of meditation in terms of the brain waves and their patterns in the previous article. Many of the meditation programs in use these days proclaim a lot of unbelievable assurances. Whether this is just a hard selling technique for the people to pay money and become a part of a certain program or it has any essence to it is something that we shall try to explore now.
The essence of many of these programs is that if you employ certain aural frequencies, you can actually make your brain reach certain brain wave patterns, which can interpret all kinds of information. Most of these programs state that by playing certain specially created audio tapes one can reach the Alpha, Theta or even Delta brain wave patterns, which are highly productive and creative states of the brain. The obvious question that emerges is if this is not like tricking the brain in doing something which you want? And is it natural? And also, when people can just achieve this by putting on some music, why would they want to spend their lifetime seeking spiritual progress and enlightenment on mountain peaks.
At HealthandWealthCentre, our attitude has always been to provide the very best of information, which is authentic as well as implementable.
In order to understand the above-mentioned dilemma regarding reaching certain brain wave patterns using auditory stimuli we have to explore the auditory beats called Binaural Beats, Monaural Beats, and Isochronic Tones. These are used for brain entrainment, which is a technique of synchronizing the brain waves using external stimuli. Binaural Beats, Monaural Beats, and Isochronic Tones are a resultant of using external auditory stimuli.
The trigger point for research using auditory stimuli was the fact that the animals reacted to different sounds in a different way just as the humans had a way of picking up the pieces of conversations relevant to them when they are in a very noisy cocktail party. This effect was termed as “the cocktail party effect”.
The human brain goes through many frequency cycles each day. These changing cycles produce different effects in the human consciousness. It was also discovered that the receiving and operating frequency of the brain can be changed and even controlled through the usage of sound waves.
Binaural beats are the beating tones perceived in the brain below the frequency range, which was earlier thought of as something not within the human auditory range. Certain external sound inputs could produce the binaural beats to be perceived distinctly. Binaural beats were discovered in 1839 by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove.
This discovery was a revelation and was later used for brain entrainment. It formed the basis of many future neurological and cognitive research studies. The perception of binaural beats is created by putting in the stimulus of sounds of two separate frequencies in each ear through headphones.
The difference between the frequencies has to be small. It is seen that the difference between the frequencies is ‘heard’ by the brain and a third tone is produced, which is exactly of that particular difference in frequency. For example, if you want entrainment of the brain to ‘hear’ a frequency of 7 Hz, you input a stimulus of 200 Hz in one ear and 207 Hz in the other. The third tone produced will be exactly of 7 Hz. Thus your brain gets entrained to ‘hear’ the frequency, which is considered well outside of the human auditory range of 20-20,000 Hz.
Neurophysiologists use the binaural beats to understand the sense of hearing and health benefits. They are also a point of interest especially pertaining to reducing anxiety and increasing control over pain.
The perception of monaural beats also uses dual tones to entrain the brainwaves. This dual toned auditory stimulus is given generally through external speakers, although some people also recommend using headphones. The idea is to have both of the tones mixed up before reaching the ear. Monaural beats are considered superior and easier on the brain as the brain gets adjusted to them faster for the entrainment process to proceed smoothly.
Isochronic tones are the most powerful of all the auditory brain wave entrainment methodologies. They are similar to monaural beats as the pattern of mixing is created outside of the brain. The auditory stimulus is given by speakers, although some people again recommend the headphones. Isochronic tones are more powerful because they use tones of equal frequency, which create the desired results much faster and with greater intensity.
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