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We have all heard of the term “meditation,” especially since mindfulness and spirituality have become more popular in the last couple of decades, but what it is and how to practice are still debatable in today’s society. The word meditation stems from the Latin term meditatum which means “to ponder”. Most who are researching will say that meditation helps us become more aware of how the mind actually works, and how thoughts are connected to our feeling and actions, this we all agree on. Some also say it is a way to connect with our higher self, or the soul, in order to receive important messages about our spiritual life path, and even gain more knowledge of our own personal reality and how the universe works. I personally agree with this from my own meditation experiences. I feel that meditation is a great practice to enhance or strengthen my own spiritual gifts, and connect with higher realms and the great spirit, or oneness with all. I personally believe that meditation should be introduced into the school system, but since it is not, it can be simply taught in the home by parents. It is a great way for children to reflect on the day, and any situations that may have come up, positive, or negative.

It is quite difficult to date meditation. Some researchers will say it began in India, some Tibet, but in truth, meditation has been around since the beginning of humanity. Scientists believe that our earliest ancestors sat in groups around a large fire and practiced what we now call “fire gazing” which is indeed a form of meditation. The Native Americans had practices that were performed by shaman healers called “shamanic journeying”, and even as early as ancient religions that had hunter-gatherer societies had rituals that involved natural elements like bodies of water, the sun, the moon, plants, animals, ancestors, and celestial or spiritual beings. So it seems connecting with the mind, body and soul has been a long lived practice. That being said, why do so many people still struggle to find answers about how to meditate properly? Well, I’ll tell you why. There is no proper way to meditate! There is no right or wrong when it comes to meditating. We as humans, are all three parts, mind, body, and soul, and each of us operate or navigate these properties in completely diverse ways. Meaning, the way I meditate might be completely different from how the next person will meditate. Most will envision meditation as a practice where you will sit on a flat surface, legs crossed, hands on the knees while humming a deep OM sound. This may be a traditional way of meditating, but it also doesn’t work for everyone to sit in this position. Meditation is a state of mind. It is the state between alertness and sleeping, and reaching this state can be accomplished through a variety of methods. Some might enjoy the traditional position to meditate, but this state of mind is completely up to the person practicing. Some might enjoy sitting or lying outside in nature to reach that state, while listening to the natural sounds like birds, the breeze in the trees, different bugs chirping, and feeling the sun on their face. Some might connect with that state in water, so lying in a salt bath, or bubble bath. Some people even use slow movement activities such as: tai chi, yoga, walking in nature, or even a light jog. I personally enter this state while walking and jogging.

So what should happen when you meditate? Nothing. And yes, I know how silly that sounds. But, whatever is going to happen will happen, whatever thoughts come up, will come up. When attempting to enter a meditative state, you should never have any kind of intentions on what is going to happen, what messages you will receive, or what you might see. Whenever we go into something with intentions, that means we are expecting something. That’s not exactly how meditation works. The entire point is to let all of that go, and allow your higher self, or the soul, to do the work for you, per say. Some might argue that when meditating, we must not think of anything at all, turn all thoughts off. But I have to disagree with that statement. It is almost impossible to not think of something, that’s just the way our human brains are wired. This is especially for beginners. It takes some time and practice to enter this state with hardly any thoughts whatsoever. So, I found that the trick is to let the thoughts come through, rather than focusing on stopping them, but don’t give them judgement or any type of label. Just simply allow a thought to process, and be the observer of the thought, instead of giving it a dual name. meaning, don’t categorize the thoughts as negative, positive, scary, mean, nice, or anything else. Just simply let them be as is, and let them pass. When you no longer judge your own thoughts, they will come up, then go out just as quickly. When we can practice this thought process, we can then begin to use it in everyday life. Many people overthink, causing anxiety, depression, and other mental issues. Meditation can train the mind to calm down, and not label every single thought that pops up in our minds. Putting a label on a thought means that you have already decided what the though is, and how it is going to effect you emotionally. When we allow our thoughts to effect us emotionally, we will act on the emotion. While in meditation state, we are completely relaxed, and can allow a thought to come up without placing an emotion with it. How does this work? Because in this state of mind, we can connect with the higher self, or soul, and become the watcher. We can see each thought from an entirely unique perspective, as if we are watching from above, or in third person, rather than living in first person as we do in the material reality around us. For example, if someone says something that may seem offensive to you, nine times out of ten you will react to what the person has said. But if you were to practice meditation, and have trained the mind to look at the situation from every possible angle, then you might be able to respond, rather than react. The two are highly different.

The point of meditation, in my opinion, is to better understand the thinking mind, and learn to use it in a way that is a response to people and situations in our reality. Reacting comes from the ego mind, with no rationality behind it. Meditation can reduce stress, and calm the thinking mind. It can remind us that life is here and now, not in the past nor the future, so there is no need to dwell on something in which cannot be changed, or something that has not yet been determined. You higher self, or soul knows what is best, they have seen it all, past future, and every timeline in between, so the best person to ask for advice is…you. To reach yourself, it is best to find what puts you in that state of mind. You might need to try a few various positions, sceneries, and even the relaxing music you’re listening to, but once you find what works best for you, then getting into that state will become easier and easier each time. Meditation doesn’t need to be done for a lengthy time, in fact, when you first start out, just try to be still for no more than ten minutes at a time. You can increase the time as you get better at the practice. The better you get at falling into this state of mind, the more you will find that the thoughts coming through will slow, and you will begin to receive more messages instead. Sounds good? Well, not always. Meditation is also a wonderful tool for dragging up your very own shadow side. The messages coming through can let you know where you have issues that need to be taken care of, and this can sometimes be painful to process. This is why we learn to not judge or label our own thoughts, so that when these issues arise, we can carefully observe the, and learn the lesion we are being shown. I will use myself as an example. In a deep meditation session, certain aspects of my past kept presenting themselves, and I was determined to figure out why. Well, after some time of observing the thoughts, I realized that I had what society calls “daddy issues”. This was due to a father who was emotionally detached from his children, stemming from his own childhood. Once this issues came into the light, I could then process the emotions, and even understand from a higher point of view as to why I was effected by this, and where it originated from. After that, the issue could be forgiven, and let go, creating a space inside of me that wasn’t there before. As if a weight had been lifted. Meditation is great for healing the mind, and the soul. When we carry around emotions like regret, shame, grief, or even holding a grudge against others, we can feel a certain heaviness inside, because these are low vibrational energies. When we can clear them out, and forgive, we can then feel a sense of peace. Meditation can help shed these heavy emotions, even ones we didn’t know we had in the first place. And once we create space from the shedding, we then have room for new creative ideas and passions to come to light! And, the sense of peace. There is nothing in this world that is more valuable then having a strong sense of peace. Whether you practice meditation daily, or you’re just trying it out for the first time, I hope this article could be of some help along your personal journey. Peace and love to all, and until next time, stay safe, stay true, and don’t forget to smile.

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