This meditation 101 guide is to the beginners of meditation and to know what to do in the midst of many meditative practices.
I will also tell you the types of meditation and suggestions to properly meditate.
Meditation 101: Types, Diet, and Suggestions
Meditation is done under a deeper state of consciousness, usually the Theta and Delta state.
It is a practice to discipline the mind.
It helps to still the mind so that our restless thoughts cease. Thus, we can be more in control of our mind and our life.
The yogis basically discovered the science of meditation, or at least the first to written it down, with the many benefits that comes from it.
There are only 2 Meditations
When we get to the core of meditation, there is only 2 functions: relaxation and increased concentration.
Those 2 functions has many benefits which are the byproducts of relaxation and concentration.
Also, there are many meditation styles and techniques but there are only 2 types of meditations.
Be it transcendental, kundalini, mantra, zen, vipassana, mindfulness or other popular techniques, it all falls under 2 types.
Most meditations fall under focus meditation.
Improving concentration, you simply focus attentively on a single pointed thing.
This also include focusing on nothing, or emptying your mind of all thoughts.
You can focus on an object, sensation, or on an emotion like love and compassion.
Mantra, or voicing a single word over and over again, also establishes the single pointed focus, but it’s often used as a way to “get in the mood” and change the air around them through the vibrations of their chanting.
Through focusing on a single object, you enter a deeper state of consciousness and using focus to direct a change in the subconscious mind.
The other type of meditation is contemplation.
In the West, meditation is not called meditation but hidden under the title of “contemplative prayer” used by alchemists.
Contemplation is analyzing thoughts and feelings to realize the illusion or subjectivity of the current reality and attain illumination.
All of this is to transcend awareness to a higher level of awareness. This is the same type of meditation the Buddha and Buddhists use. Transcendental, vipassana or mindfulness meditation also fall under contemplation.
This also includes Philosophers who sit and just “think”.
The answers to “Who am I?”, “What is reality?”, and “This body is not me” is contemplation meditation.
Moving meditations, like Tai Chi and Qi Gong, is not the same as the previous mentioned meditations simply because it operates on the alpha state consciousness instead of the theta or delta state consciousness.
You may find yourself doing the dishes in a meditative-like form. Or you may go on a walk and find yourself immersed in the walk.
Although it is not as deep as still meditation, it has some benefits such as focus and relaxation.
The Best Meditation
The best meditation is not some technique or some secret that is not within your reach.
Rather, it is a secret hidden in plain sight among us all.
To sink your mind into the beauty of Nature is the greatest form of meditation.
Anyone can do this and anyone can practice it whenever they can.
The trees, the rocks, the ants, the sea and the winds all have a story.
Nature can teach us when we ourselves cannot.
When you are fascinated by nature, you naturally go into a deeper state of consciousness.
Although you are not intentionally focusing on anything or contemplating, you can learn a lot by being there passively waiting for wisdom to pour into you.
The wisdom of Nature is more valuable than a million books.
Books can only touch your mind, but experience can touch your soul.
And not only that, but no one can take it away from you because it is always there with you.
Suggestions for Proper Meditation
Diet and Moderation
Your physical body affects your mind and your mind affects your physical body.
If we think of gratitude, we will soon smile.
If we physically gesture a smile, we will soon think of happy things.
How we treat our physical body is as important as how much we meditate.
We want our mind to be alert, so being healthy will help with that.
So here are the same ol’ healthy diet tips for everyday life but also for meditation:
The average number of sleep should be 8 hours of restful REM sleep.
This means that if you sleep but don’t dream, you won’t get the necessary hours of rest.
Everyone dreams even if they don’t remember it.
A military experiment tests people who dream, people who sleep but not dreaming, and no sleep.
Whenever the soldiers were dreaming, they wake them up as soon as it hit the dream state of Theta state consciousness in the EEG.
What they found was that while the people who dream gets full rest, the group who sleep but not dreaming has the same results on average with the group with didn’t sleep at all.
So REM sleep is important.
Meditation is also a form of sleep. By meditating in a deeper state, you get the same benefits with sleeping.
The only difference with meditation and sleep is that meditation is sleeping while being conscious.
As you begin your practice, do notice that you still need to perform regular sleeping. So continue to sleep as normal.
Exercise helps us stay healthy and allow us to mobilize our physical body.
Including in regular exercise is to have proper posture when we are sitting or laying down.
You want to make your spinal cord more flexible. This is so that you can withstand long hours during meditation.
If the spinal cord is rigid, you will have major complications in sitting for many hours.
This is naturally done when you exercise your body.
Eat a healthy diet
The food we eat affects us on all levels: physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.
Vegetarian foods are lighter while meat are heavier to digest.
You also want to cut down sugar and processed foods as they do not have much or any nutrients at all.
If you want to change your diet, do it slowly.
Don’t make sudden changes or starve yourself.
There was an experiment where they put a frog in a heated pot. If the pot was already heated, and you put the frog in, the frog will jump out! But if the pot is cold, and you put the frog in as you slowly heat up the pot, the frog will stay.
The point is that we need time to adapt, so do it slowly.
Don’t do drugs or alcohol
Why do we do drugs or drink alcohol?
It is because it gives us a way to experience joy or bliss when we ourselves cannot do it ourselves.
But what they do not understand is that the mind can recreate any condition that drugs and alcohol can create.
One example is the natural DMT you get from meditation.
The mind, however, can also make addictions out of anything, especially if the object of addiction makes us feel bliss so much that we depend on it for our survival.
It’s quite common sense to have moderation for everything we do.
Do It Thoroughly
Whichever meditation you are doing, there is only one rule: Do it thoroughly.
It really doesn’t matter what kind of meditation you do or what technique you want to call it.
Results come when you do it all the way through. A half-hearted meditation will give you half-hearted results.
There are many times where a beginner practices meditation for the short while and then give up, blaming it on the technique or lack of time. But the truth is that it is due to laziness and impatience.
We are met with thousands of techniques on how to meditate.
How do I start from all of these choices?
Choose one and it will work.
Choices are a double edged sword.
The more options you have, the less you are able to choose.
Limitation is how you will make a decision.
So choose one and just start.
What if I am too busy and don’t have the time for meditation?
If the excuse is that you have a lack of time, then realize that there is more time for everyone.
Each person has the same 24 hours in a day.
It is how we use it that counts.
How do I know if I am Meditating Properly?
If there is any tension in your body, then you are not relaxed.
If you have to move a thumb or if your back itches and you feel like you want to scratch it, you are not relaxed.
One should be a dead weight.
To be dead weight, imagine someone telling you to ‘play dead’ or ‘become a tree’ (which apparently is a good analogy for children).
When you are completely relaxed, you cannot feel anything at all.
Of course, physical relaxation is the first part of proper meditation.
Your mind, however, may still be full of noises – full of monkey chatter.
Proper meditation does not mean you have to be mentally relaxed before you think you are doing it right.
The whole process of meditation is to relax and still the mind.
Don’t expect anything to come out of meditation.
Usually when we start something new, we anticipate what is going to happen.
Will I have a euphoric feeling? Will I have a head buzz? What will I see?
All the expectations, that will never happen, prevents you from seeing what is going to happen.
Let it unfold naturally.
Meditation is a practice.
If you got 15 seconds of meditation, celebrate your small success.
All it takes is patience, persistence, concentration, and practice…practice…practice.