The correct definition of meditation is to think constantly of something. You become that on which you meditate. Think of God, you become God. Think of stone, you become a stone. The only thing that the process of meditation is really meant to teach us is to remind us that there is something above from which we have come here and it is our first duty to get back where we belong. Meditation is not only meant for the saints it is meant for everyone. Another point to emphasize is that, the only way to learn to do meditation is to actually do it, and not reading books on the topic. There are many methods of doing meditation; many stages; and lots of benefits but the ultimate purpose of meditation is to explore reality and awaken divinity within us. The purpose of this essay is to acquaint you with method, the stages, and the benefits of meditation.
There are many methods of doing meditation; the method described below is the most fundamental of them. First of all, find a comfortable place to sit, the place should be quite and should not distract you in any way. Second, choose a comfortable posture, it can any be any posture, but your back should be upright. The posture (asana) should not make you feel uncomfortable in any way. Also, don’t move while meditating, it reminds you of your body, and distracts your concentration. If you have selected the correct posture then after about 45 minutes, your body will become very light as if it did not exist, and peacefulness can be felt everywhere. Third comes setting the time period, it can range from 15 minutes to over 2 hours. For beginners it is about 15 – 20 minutes day, this is not a prescribed time period though, it can be over 20 minutes, but usually beginners are not able to sit longer than 20 minutes. For intermediates it is about 30 minutes or more and advanced it is usually 1 hour or more. The fourth step is to choose an object of meditation upon which to concentrate for the entire length of the practice. The object of meditation can be repeatedly reciting syllables (mantras); thoughts of love, peace, beauty etc; saints; the heartbeat, breath, a flower, a book, or almost anything. Choosing an object of meditation is difficult. The whole idea is to get the mind concentrated upon one object, in order to control the mind. But if a person instead of choosing an object of meditation directly meditates upon God, the result will be surprising. So here it is entirely upon the person to choose the object of meditation. Another thing is to forget everything about your self and devote the entire attention towards the object of meditation.
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There are many benefits of meditation. It helps us to get to know ourselves better. It answers questions like “Who am I”, “What is Reality” etc. Meditation helps us to get closer to God. It develops good concentration. It relieves us from the stress and tension of daily life and brings about peace and calm throughout the day. After meditating, there is more clarity of mind as it is free from thoughts. Self-control, Self-respect, and Self-acceptance begin to develop. Supernatural abilities begin to develop as spiritual experiences begin to become more peaceful and blissful. These are just a few of the benefits. There are more benefits of meditation then one can imagine, ranging from awakening of the millions of brain cells to the awakening of spark of divinity in the Heart. Meditate and reveal the truth of the above statements for yourself, as the answer can only be found within and not outside.
The stages of meditation are numerous. The beginning stages of meditation are usually associated with developing posture, and adjustment to its practice. This takes about 6 months or more, depending on person to person. The intermediate stages of meditation begin when the person starts getting spiritual experiences and gets into super-conscious (samadhi).
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In this state the object meditated upon, the person meditating and the knowledge of the object all become one. Here the person experiences bliss and the essential nature of the reality. After reaching this state, the person enters the realm of supernatural phenomena. He begins to experience Supernatural powers, miracles etc in his daily life. It is no longer necessary for the person to meditate after reaching this state. Self-realization is the popular name given to the state of super-consciousness. In the advanced stages of meditation, 2yrs or more, the next state to achieve is cosmic consciousness (nirvabilka samadhi).
Super-consciousness is only a step on the ladder to cosmic consciousness. In this state the person finds that he is no longer his body, his spirit and mind escape through the body to encompass the world, the solar systems, the entire Universe. He becomes one with Universe, and he is called a Brahm-Gyani. This state can only be achieved with the help of a True spirtual teacher (Sat Guru).
Although there are still more states left to achieve after cosmic consciousness, they have rarely been attained. Some people attain cosmic consciousness not even after 15 yrs of meditation, while some achieve within 15 months. It all depends on the person to person, and on the earnestness of his meditation.
These were the method, benefits and stages of meditation. It has to be known that meditation is for everyone. Meditation has been known to transform the entire character of a person. The answer to everything is within. Turn within. All knowledge, all powers, everything is within. Your destiny is within, your future is within, the Ultimate is within.