Last Updated on August 1, 2020 by Sloane Marie
Meditation is a useful tool for people of all faiths, ideologies, and mystical understandings. When an individual chooses to meditate in secluded silence, they will find that they will become progressively more mindful. There are many teachings associated with the meditation, though mindfulness meditation is particularly useful for those interested in achieving greater control of their mind. If you are interested in a 10-day, silent meditation course, then take this opportunity to learn more about the Vipassana courses that are available for free all around the world. Take this time to read our guide to mindfulness meditation.
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A Guide to Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation was taught by the Buddha as a pathway to enlightenment. Of course, there are other benefits of meditation that are not related to a philosophical understanding. Many people choose to enjoy the benefits of meditation without following any particular practice. Instead, they use this beneficial tool simply to help themselves before more compassionate, aware, and relaxed. This is perfectly acceptable, as even the Buddha taught that the mundane benefits of meditation still lead to a more virtuous lifestyle. If you are interested in learning more about the Noble Eightfold Path, the way to the cessation of suffering, then please take this opportunity to learn about Buddhism from this informed and reliable source.
Meditation, Mindfulness, and Silence
When you find that you are interested in meditation for the first time, it is important for you to understand that seclusion and silence are beneficial. Of course, meditation is meant to be a state of mind, and not necessarily something that you do, such as yoga or exercise. However, it is beneficial for you to learn to walk before you run, so find a place that is free from noises that may pull you out from a tranquil and mindful state. For this reason, you should consider learning the difference between silence and meditation. In time, you will be able to maintain a meditative frame of mind even in the most stressful situations.
Similarly, one of the primary goals of meditation is to be mindful of all that occurs. Anapana, which is mindfulness of your breathing, teaching you to follow the natural flow of your breath. There is no need to change the rate or depth at which you breathe, as the purpose of anapana is for you to learn how to observe your respiration without attempting to control it and without allowing your mind to wander aimlessly through your thoughts. From there, mindfulness meditation, Vipassana, allows you to observe the sensations of your body. For additional information about this subject, be certain to learn about the difference between mindfulness and meditation.
How Can I Meditate?
Traditionally, meditation is done while sitting down. Buddha himself gained enlightenment at the base of a bodhi tree. However, as you gain experience, you will find that you can meditate in any position and in any situation. Many people find that there are certain positions that they are comfortable in, such as lying down. It is certainly possible to meditate while lying down, but you may run into feelings of tiredness that will negatively impact your ability to meditate. Meditation is not a tool to help you fall asleep or a form of hypnosis. While you can meditate in bed, that is best saved for individuals who are attentive and aware of the signs that they are falling asleep. However, it is important to keep in mind that meditation is objectively beneficial, so meditation in bed is better than not meditating at all.
You may find that you are interested in listening to something while you meditate. As mentioned before, meditating outdoors certainly possible. This may cause you to consider meditating while listening to music. Being mindful means being aware of the world around you, so it is often beneficial to not meditate while listening to something that is meant to grab your attention. While you can meditate with music or other distractions, it is best to meditate with the intention of gaining deeper insights. If you are interested in having an evening to yourself while listening to your favorite songs, then you are welcome to do so. However, mindfulness meditation is best done in a silent setting that will allow you to observe what arises and passes without emotional or intellectual attachment.
How Often Should I Meditate?
As you get into meditation, you may wonder what is the best use of your time when it comes to practicing meditation. At first, you should attempt to silently sit for an hour each day. If that is too much, then try for half an hour. This will give you the time that you need to settle your mind and learn how to simply observe what arises and passes. As time continues on, you should make a definite time in the morning or evening to dedicate yourself to an hour or two of silent, immobile meditation. If you are concerned about a maximum limit, then read more about whether or not it is possible to meditate too much. In short, the purpose of meditation is to develop a frame of mind that is constantly meditating. The goal is to be both mindful and equanimous at all times.
Can I Meditate to Discover My Purpose?
You may feel that there is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction in your life, also described as dukkha by the Buddha, that has brought you here to learn about meditation. With that in mind, you may have a notion regarding a divine or cosmos purpose. From the perspective of the Buddha, there is no fundamental purpose to any individual's life other than practicing mindfulness meditation. However, you may not have arrived here seeking to understand the teachings of the Buddha. If that is the case, then take this opportunity to learn about how to meditate in order to discover your purpose. Of course, you may find that focusing on the objective, present moment may be more suitable for what it is that you are searching for.
With this in mind, allow yourself to turn off all the distractions that you have in your life, sit in a comfortable position, and turn your thoughts toward the physical sensations of your breath and body. In short order, you may find that what you are searching for is something you never considered before. Mindfulness meditation may provide you with the satisfaction that you are searching for, and you may find that you are interested in learning more about the Noble Eightfold Path.