What is meditation?

Meditation can be defined as a chosen technique / practice that is designed to create a healthier sense of perspective of the self, to improve attention, to transcend the mind, and to increase a heightened state of awareness and consciousness.

Meditation is about bringing the self into the real present moment. To step into the role of the observer as to what is really here in the present moment deep within the self. To observe without judgement or expectation.

Most of us have shut down our capacity to feel and experience our subtle self, our energy, our unlimited self, our higher self and our truth. Meditation techniques slow things down and sharpen the mind so that we can experience the fullness of what and who we truly are.


According to Edgar Cayce meditation is a form of attunement for spiritual growth.

Most religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, has a tradition of using meditative practices. Spiritual practices like Yoga, Qi Gong, Divination, Shamanism, Kirtan, etc have an element of meditation built into them. The reason is that it is a very powerful tool for awareness and transformation. In many of these religions and spiritual practices it is believed that we are personally responsible for our own state of mind, and, through a practice of meditation, we can change this for the better.

Meditation is used in DBT, psychotherapy, mindfulness practices, in wellness centres, addiction rehabilitation centres, for pain therapy, for helping mental issues, for stress and for helping emotional upheaval.

While meditation is often used for religious purposes, it is also practice it independently of any religious, spiritual beliefs or psychological practices.

When we slow down enough, access the reality of the now and unpack ourselves we start to shift into a space acceptance, appreciation, kindness and peace.

Two types of meditation

There are many styles, techniques and forms of meditation, but ultimately we can categories meditation into 2 categories:
1. Concentration meditation
2. Insight meditation

In Buddhist traditions these are known as:
Supta (concentration)
Vipassana (insights)

1. Concentration Meditation

This is a meditation where we place our focus on one thing.

The purpose of concentration meditation is to be fully focused and engaged in the observation without allowing anything to distract us.

The purpose if this is to sharpen and clarify the mind and eventually be able to control and then transcend the mind. We start to observe the nature of our mind through the single focused concentration.

Once we transcend the mind we step into our higher being and start connecting to the Divine.

The thing that we focus on can be internal or external. Internal may be focusing on our breath or heart or the tip of our nose. It can be a mantra that we repeat over in our minds. External focus could be a sound, mantra or music that we listen to. We could have our eyes open and be focusing on a mandala or flame.


2. Insight Meditation

This is a meditation where we focus on broader experiences OR where we contemplate a concept or idea.

The purpose of insights meditation is to gain universal wisdom, to understand our true nature and shift out of our limited self. It is self-transformation through self-observation. It involves the state of being aware of and involved in the present moment and making ourself open, aware, and accepting of what shows up.

An insight meditation may work with observing sensations of the body were we observe the coming and goings if the sensations which leads us to understand the concept of impermanence or the concept of the present moment.

Or it may use images or thoughts to guide the being through an experience.


There are some meditations which don’t fall into either of these categorizes or have a small component of one of them. Active relaxation meditation, guided visulization meditation and Metta meditation (loving-kindness meditation) would be three examples of these other meditations.

Benefits of medtation

Each meditation will have specific benefits associated with it, but in general all meditation will have the following benefits:

  • Awareness of thoughts and the mind
  • Getting control of the mind
  • Balancing the autonomic nervous system
  • Balancing our hormones
  • Feeling calm, at ease and at peace
  • De-stress
  • Lowering depression, anxiety and anger
  • Improves clarity
  • Improves concentration
  • Releasing tension and pain
  • Increases feelings of kindness and acceptance
  • Increases feeling of compassion and love
  • Healing on the cellular level
  • Finding it easier to forgive
  • Finding it easier to let go of the past, hurt and grudges
  • Connecting with the present moment
  • Relaxing the body
  • Increased mindfulness
  • Higher understanding of truth
  • Increases energy
  • Improves sleep
  • Better connections and relationships with others
  • Increases intuition
  • Higher understanding of universal wisdom

With all of these benefit (and more) there really is no reason not to meditate… so let’s get meditating!


How to practice meditation

While there are many ways to practice meditation, it is best (especially for beginners) to practice like this:

  1. Choose a location that you will dedicate to your practice. This may be a corner in your bedroom, a spot in the garden, or a room used only for meditation.
  2. Always meditate in this chosen place, this creates familiarity for your mind and makes it easier to get into the practice as your brain will associate this space with mediation.
  3. The space must be a quiet spot that is free of distractions. This means putting the dog out, switching off your phone and letting the family know that you will be busy in your meditation.
  4. Chose the same time of day to practice. This create the habit that you need for regular practice. If you are a morning person then make it in the morning. If you are a night owl you may chose to mediate in the evening.
  5. Be comfortable. This means making sure you have been to the toilet beforehand. That you are wearing comfortable clothes. Sitting is a way that you can keep your spine straight but are not in pain, so if you need to sit on chair do so.
  6. Do the same practice every time. This is key to the practice. If you chop and change, playing with different apps, a variety of breathing techniques, meditation tools and youtube guides you are just messing around. Chose one technique and stick with it for at least 40days. It is only through regular practice that you gain the wisdom, insights and benefits.
  7. Set a time limit. If you are just getting started, work with a shorter session of about 5 minutes in length. As you progress add on more time.

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