My definition of meditation
This is my understanding of meditation.
A simple definition of meditation would be that to meditate is to turn your attention inward and focus your mind. Meditation cultivates awareness and acceptance, and can aid in our healing, enhancing our well-being.
Each individual can encounter different experiences of meditation depending on what type they choose to practice, how often they practice and also what their motivation to meditate is.
One thing which has surprised some of the people who have attended my classes, is the vast amount of meditation techniques available to us from so many traditions around the world. Many of these people had previously defined meditation as “being mindful” or as breathing exercises to enable relaxation and clarity of mind. It was fascinating for them to discover that there are meditation techniques which can help us to cultivate positive emotions (such as loving-kindness) and ways of healing (for example, forgiveness).
I have never felt that meditation can be defined as a particular technique as there are many various ways which can lead the practitioner into a meditative state. An ancient sage said that all meditation techniques are just different paths up the same mountain. Meditation is an on-going experience- a state of being aware and being present, accepting the experience for exactly how it is on any given day without judgment or criticism.
Meditation gives us an opportunity to observe ourselves, to rest, to heal, re-balance and re-energise. I have also found personally, that practising meditation has been a vital part of my spiritual path. Practising techniques which have focused on connecting to elements of nature, spiritual guides and deities have deepened my understanding of nature and the divine and strengthened my connection to our planet and God/ Goddess.
Although many of my class participants, on asking them to define meditation, would often define it as “being mindful” or “observing the breath”, there have been other definitions. For some, the word meditation conjures the image in the mind of a yogi or Buddhist/ Hindu chanting Om. Some people define meditation as “a thing that spiritual or religious people do”. I have found that for some people who do not deem themselves spiritual or religious that the idea of meditation does not always appeal. However, I would define meditation as a well-being practice that can be of huge benefit to all people regardless of their faith or religion. There is such a wide range of meditation styles which are not affiliated with having a spiritual/ religious belief that I believe an individual can always find one technique that will resonate with them.
I would also define meditation as a positive life-enhancing practice. Meditation enables us to experience relaxation, clarity, stillness and serenity. Through the practice we re-discover these treasures which may have become buried within. When you are able to take your meditative awareness beyond the mat or cushion into the rest of your daily activities, you begin to experience life in a magical way. Being in a flowing state of meditation is living life more fully. Meditation encourages acceptance, healing, alignment, love, wisdom, joy and peace.