What is Meditation?

Meditation

3 minute read

September 1, 2020

          Okay, so you came to my blog to find some tips on eating and working out but now there’s this other, unexpected section called “meh·duh·tay-shun.” What a strange and foreign word it is!

 

          Before I started meditating myself, the only thing I knew about meditation was what I had seen in movies and TV shows or learned about in school. I learned about the Buddhist Monks and their intense meditation practices. I had seen Aang clear all 7 of his Chakras in Avatar the Last Airbender (or at least he tried to). And of course, I can’t forget Mr. Miyagi’s breathing meditation lesson in Karate Kid.

 

          Although all three of these examples are dramatically different, all of them, and all of meditation in general is based on one simple idea: training attention ("Meditation: Origins and Traditions," 00:53 - 01:00). This means teaching the mind to be aware of itself and its surroundings and learning how to call attention back to our mind when we feel that it has wandered away. William James, in his 1890 book, “The Principle of Psychology,” wrote that “the faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will.” So basically, if you meditate, you’ll be a good person, super smart and strong, and you’ll get all the ladies or gentlemen. Or both. Or neither. Or whatever you’re into. Meditation = very good.

 

          Meditation originated in ancient spiritual religions but that does not mean it is a dead practice. In fact, far from it--according to a 2012 National Health Institute Survey, over 18 million Americans meditate today ("Meditation: Origins and Traditions," 02:55 - 03:12). Now just because meditation started as a religious practice, that does not mean you have to be religious or believe in God in order to meditate. In fact, even the Buddhists believe that the person meditating is not trying to get into a hypnotic state or contact angels or God, but rather the person meditating is simply trying to still their mind. Trying to stop their mind from rushing around in aimless thought (BBC News, 2009).

 

          Also, it’s important to understand that meditation is not a contest. You don’t need to become some meditation master that clears all their chakras and reaches enlightenment in order to reap the benefits. All you need to do is find a nice quiet place, sit or lay down in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and relax. Taking time out of your busy day to simply be. To make the time for peaceful and meaningful self-reflection.

 

          Now if that sounds like something that you can handle or something that you are interested in doing, please read more of my “meditation” blogs to find out more about meditation, how to do it, its benefits, and even some guided meditations led by yours truly. Or just give it a try yourself. It’s hard to go wrong.

 

          In fact, why not try out the free meditation app I use called “Insight Timer.” I think it’s the best app out there, but there are others you can try too like “calm” or “Headspace.”

 

Happy Meditating,

           Seagull Strength

Works Cited

James, William.“Attention.” The Principles of Psychology, 1890.

NCCIH. Meditation:Origins and Traditions. Interview with Dr. Josephine Briggs, and Dr. RichardJ Davidson, Youtube, 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHILscdegL8.

“Religions - Buddhism:Meditation.” BBC, BBC, 24 Nov. 2009, www.bbc.co.uk /religion/religions/ buddhism/customs/medi tation_1.shtml#:~:text=In%20 Buddhism%20the %20person%20med itating,or%20any%20other% 20supernatural%20entity.&text=The% 20purpose%20of%20meditation %20is,is% 20to%20 still%20 the%20mind.

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