Meditation as a Practice and the Meditative State

Welcome to wisdom for the Inner and Outer You.

This week I decided to share a piece from my book Memoirs of a Wandering Ninja, Walking the Path of Enlightenment. This excerpt comes from chapter twelve where the theme is on meditation. I hope you enjoy and I look forward to seeing you on May 5th for the Meditation Day Intensive that I will be leading. You will find a day concentrated on meditation will be very rewarding!

What Kind of Meditation to Do

If you’re not sure which meditation is best for you, just start one. Take the first meditation exercise I gave you in this book, Panther Stillness, and begin practicing it. Not just once or twice but devote a few weeks to doing it every day. If you’re the type of person who says, “I just don’t have the time to meditate” then think of this.  Think of the three minutes you spend in a passing conversation with someone at work today, the five minutes you spend reading the paper or flicking through a magazine, or the five minutes you spend checking emails or surfing the Net or on the phone that really weren’t needed. You could spend that three, six, or nine minutes on the Panther Stillness meditation, or three minutes seeing things differently with the Eagle Vision meditation, or three minutes taking a meditative walk. What I’m saying is that in next to no time at all you could be meditating and accessing your inner source of peace and harmony.

Terry Hodgkinson on Ko Chang Island, Thailand.

How to Know if Meditation is Working

The simple answer to this question is:  you are getting results. Of course it also depends on the purpose for which you are meditating. If you are ill and using meditation to help your body and mind relax to aid the healing process, then it may take some time before you see the results you desire. If you are seeking to have an experience with your “True Inner Self” this may also take a while. If you are using meditation for stress relief or to build positive resources in your life experience, you should begin to experience some results in only a few sessions.

Here’s the catch. If you are anticipating results and you can’t get this off your mind, then it will generally take longer for the results to appear. It’s best to let go and just do the meditation without expectation of immediate results. If you allow the meditation to happen naturally, the results will show up soon enough, and I’m speaking from personal experience. Another way to know that you are meditating well is when you are no longer wondering or thinking about meditating, you’re just doing it. Sometimes you can be focused only on your breathing and after a while you are aware of your breathing but no longer focused on it and your mind is naturally more still. This is a good sign of being in the meditative state.

Many people report that they know when meditation is beginning to work for them because when they open their eyes, the greens are greener and the blues are clearer. Everything is more brilliant than when they first sat down. A feeling of peace, harmony and a greater awareness is with them the rest of their day.

In Chapter Five we talked about the different waves or frequencies of the brain. These distinct waveforms range from 0.5Hz. (pronounced Hertz, or cycles per second) up to 30 or more Hz. In that chapter I explained how researchers divide these frequencies into the following four groupings:

Beta           13–40 Hz

Alpha          7–13 Hz

Theta           4–7 Hz

Delta         0.5 – 3 Hz

When we say that you are “in beta state” (which you normally are), what we’re saying is that that’s the most usual set of frequencies, the ones that are the busiest. Beta is associated with alertness, with the highest frequencies in that range often described as “fight/flight” mode.

Alpha frequencies have long been associated with relaxation mode. I discussed how taking a walk in natural surroundings like a park, or sitting by a river can help you to experience relaxation.  The Alpha frequency is also known as the meditative state of mind.

Theta waves are considered by some to be associated with dreamy, creative states. Here the utilization of visualization meditation can work well with conditioning your subconscious mind for positive changes.

Delta waves are normal during sleep.

It has been shown through the use of modern technology such as an EEG (Electroencephalography) which records brain activity, when you meditate your brain can, and for experienced meditators does, change in frequency. You enter into the Alpha, and some even the Theta level where you have access to deeper relaxation, rejuvenation, creativity, intuitiveness, and perhaps many other good things. Many people report that after only 15 or 20 minutes of meditation they feel like they have slept for three or four hours.

The difference Between Meditation as a Practice and the Meditative State

There is a difference between meditation as a practice and as a meditative state. The meditative practice has methods, ways, and rules. It is purposed and is intended, while meditative states occur naturally. Everyone has individual goals in meditation but one thing is certain and that is meditation can help everybody in one way or another.  You may want to focus on the “Outer You” enhancing all the roles that you play and the dances you dance. After all, this is your birthright! Or you may want to focus on the journey inward to the innermost “Inner You” to discover your “True Self” and the “nameless” source of the 1000 things. When you become one with the Four Insights and Essential Path then your whole life becomes your meditation.

Excerpt from Terry Hodgkinson’s book Memoirs of a Wandering Ninja

Quote for the week:

“Why do we meditate? We meditate precisely because this world of ours has disappointed us and because failure looms large in our day-to-day life. We want fulfillment. We want joy, peace, bliss and perfection within and without. Meditation is the answer, the only answer”  Sri Chinmoy

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About Terry Hodgkinson

Terry J. Hodgkinson is a MindFit consultant. He owns Positive Changes Hypnotherapy and Meditation Centre in Toronto, Canada. As a corporate trainer, keynote speaker and retreat leader he enjoys his work so much that he calls it his passion. In 2009 Terry's book, Memoirs of a Wandering Ninja - Walking the Path of Enlightenment was published. *For information on Terry's international retreats visit: www.TaoJourneys.com *Book Terry for your next event visit: www.TerryHodgkinson.ca *Martial arts training visit: www.ChungFuMartialArts.com
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