Introduction to Meditation
There are many cultural stereotypes that may hinder your meditation introduction and should be addressed upfront. Case in point: Surely you have seen cartoons of an emaciated man in a loincloth, sitting in a lotus position on a lonely mountaintop. Meditation is often thought of as a way to escape our everyday reality. But the practice can do just the opposite.
What we “escape” is only the artificial requirements of our everyday lives and the thoughts, the background noises that control them. Meditation invites the individual to accept who and where he or she already is. In fact, meditation, by helping us clear away clutter in our minds, can bring our present reality into sharp focus.
What is the meditation process?
For many who have had an introduction to meditation or who already meditate regularly, the practice is meaningful because it can increase consciousness and altered states of awareness. We develop an understanding of how our lives have purpose and meaning, how we are connected to others and something larger than ourselves. In other words, meditators can choose to use their practice to cultivate a spiritual perspective. The practice of meditation is like cultivating a small plant that has sprung from the seed of our most essential self. Meditation nurtures us in a way that creates space for us to grow and blossom, to recognize and become our most authentic and vibrant self.
We hear a lot today about our world at a tipping point, precariously balanced between war and peace, health and illness, nature’s harmony and chaos. The introduction to meditation brings integration and balance to all our seemingly disparate parts and our understanding of our place in the world. We sit grounded in the earth while reaching for the vastness of the heavens. What we create in between, in meditation, is the magical alchemy of what makes us truly and fully human.
What is a single point of focus?
And there are many paths. Every major religious movement around the world including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and even shamanism, teaches one or many forms of meditative tradition as a way to cultivate spiritual growth and connection to the Divine. However, the practice of using a single pointed focus can be practiced outside of any religious context for the purpose of taming stress reactions, anxiety, and pain.
You might ask: What is the meditation technique that best suits me? How do I learn about meditation? There are hundreds of books and CD’s on the subject. But having a teacher who is experienced in the practice and who can suggest not just techniques, but the appropriate challenges, guidance and support drawn from their intuitive understanding of where you are along your journey, is most helpful. These pages in All Things Healing will offer both practical advice and inspiration for those seeking to learn more about meditation and its many philosophies and forms as well as countless links and resources to teachers, books and community. We invite you on this journey of discovery.
Kay Goldstein has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and has been meditating for 18 years. Following her own path as a lifelong spiritual seeker she has enjoyed numerous careers and interests that have led her to teaching and writing about meditation. Kaye provides powerful insight and guidance towards meditation introduction for those who want to follow this path. To learn more about her, go to: www.kaygoldstein.com.