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Meditation for Real People
Page 2: What Good Is Meditation Anyhow?

What happens when you meditate? Your mental process (i.e., thinking) takes a break. Your thoughts slow down until they're nonexistent. Normally during waking hours our brains are in the Beta state, and there is a lot of brain activity. Every time you close your eyes you immediately enter Alpha, where brain waves slow down and visualization is possible. Meditation begins here, but going deeper into the Theta state is ideal. In Theta you are very drowsy and your senses begin to really withdraw from what we know as reality. You might catch a glimpse of the Theta state just before you fall asleep (which is the Delta state), but you have to be really observant. At its deepest, you reach what sleep researchers call the Hypnogogic state. Sometimes it feels like your body is vibrating and you can't move. If you have ever felt this while falling asleep, you may have gone into a panic (which of course immediately increases your brain wave activity), but it's actually a very normal process - you're just usually not conscious of it happening. In meditation you're consciously directing your mind to go somewhere into Alpha or Theta (and yes, you may "vibrate," but chances are you won't go that deep - at least not at first!). If your meditation is spiritual in nature, you will also focus on a mantra or religious icon and eventually you will feel a union. Even if your meditation has no spiritual connotation, meditate long enough and you will have some interesting and profound emotions! While meditation in itself is not aligned with any one religion, all religions have their form of meditation (what do you think prayer really is?). But you can also choose to have no belief system whatsoever and still benefit from meditation.

(Article continued below.)

There are more ways to meditate than there are religions - that's because a number of non-religious and non-spiritual groups have also created meditation techniques. You can use mantras, or chanting, special hand mudras, guided meditation or any number of other techniques. You don't need to track down something esoteric and complicated, or something which has been endorsed by the latest Hollywood celebrity. Nearly any technique will do. You could practice the following basic steps for the rest of your life and it would work - you grow into this form of meditation and it deepens as you continue your practice. Or this can just be the door to help prepare you for the meditation style that is your perfect match. The important thing is to just start doing it. Don't procrastinate. Make it a regular habit, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower - in this case you're just giving the mind a thorough scrubbing. It's a very simple technique. You can use light, non-invasive music if you wish. There are many CDs of meditative music out there. You could also use Gregorian chants or Tibetan bells. Synchronicity has some very technologically advanced meditation music which you may want to explore.

Next page >> A Basic Meditation Technique >> Page 1, 2, 3

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