you may also appreciate our   Meditation and Beyond ebook, audiobook, CD

Meditation - ancient remedy for modern stress

What is meditation?

Some people hear word “meditation”and think of worship or prayer - connotations suggesting a religious influence. Meditation is a individual practice which is - in many ways - a means of “worshipping” one's inner world and “praying” for peace - one's own inner peace.

Meditation can also be understood as a state of awareness. In times past only individuals committed to a life of devotion within a religious order had the time or inclination to practice.

Today the benefits for health, reducing stress and coping with an increasingly-complex world have gained importance and so meditation is becoming the most effective and health-preserving means of dealing effectively with the pressures of life in the 21st century.


Sitting comfortably is a good way
to begin meditating

What benefits will meditation offer me?

  • Improved concentration – the ability to focus clearly on what is important.
  • Less distracted – can your mind construct mountains out of molehills? - Meditation will give you perspective and depth to discern the significant from the trivial.
  • Improved Health – reduced stress levels are immediately apparent; anxiety, worry and distress also decrease with ongoing practice and any disease-conditions brought on by these things will abate
  • Self-understanding – who you are, what you are and why you are can all be answered with sustained meditative practice.

Styles of meditation

There are two main approaches to meditation: “doing” and “being”.

“doing” meditation

Includes meditative practices which teach the mind to sustain focus - such as focussing on movement, stillness, images, sounds, mantras etc. You learn to exclude irrelevancies and distractions and to bring your full powers, skills and abilities to bear on what is most important in any one moment. Health will, at some time, be high on that list.

Generally this requires some degree of withdrawal from everyday life to create a space wherein it is safe to ignore external distractions..

“being” meditation

Meditative practice which does not involve “doing” merely “observing” what is occurring within - your thoughts, desires, aversions, feelings, judgements, hopes, reactions, fears, worries, passions - whatever arises. You learn about yourself, how you operate and what is important to you - with this awareness you become more of a master of yourself and your life. Improved health is a side-effect because you will become increasingly accepting of yourself and a delicious sense of being at home being you will grow..

Meditation just requires
you and some time


How does meditation work?

Everyone's experience of meditation is different and generalised statements may be true for some and not for others.

For me, meditating can be like a waking sleep state. Something like conscious dreaming wherein I am fully conscious of the dream and that it is - in fact - a dream and that I do not need to create feelings (or experiences) of pain just because I dream of something hurtful.

At other times it can be an intense feeling of stillness wherein everything is at peace and there is no conflict, no stress, no threat, no worry and no fear - this state is so similar to a feeling of profound and unconditional loving I accept them as much the same.

I have also experienced sessions featuring feelings of dissatisfaction - the traffic noise, the dog licking my face, the knock on the door - generally disatisfaction with external conditions which are distracting me from my own inner satisfaction. These become less frequent occurences as practice progresses.

How to meditate?

For “doing” styles it is necessary to create a time and a space - turn off the phone, distance from the kids and pets, freedom from distraction, perhaps an inviting ambience with scent, sound. For “being” meditation all that is necessary is to observe what is going on wherever and whenever you remember.

External environment: minimise actual and potential distractions. When beginning phones, kids, pets, appliances, appointments, pain etc, etc, etc can obliterate a meditative state. So you need to create a time and space where all those distracting elements are safely and effortlessly kept out of your awareness. If sounds, scents, sensations help - use them, everyone is different and what works for me may very well be useless for you. Wear comfortable clothing - sackcloth may work for some, silk for others.

Internal environment: minimise actual and potential distractions. Discomfort can become destructive, if you are comfortable in a full-lotus yoga posture that's great. If you are not then sitting upright in a chair will achieve a superior experince than dealing with painful knees, worries about breaking bones or joints etc. Meditating whilst worrying about ...... is not rewarding so it can be useful to come to an agreement with yourself that for the next 20 minutes you can and will do abolutely nothing about your debt, condition, desires, fears or fantasies. That done the internally-created distracting elements will leave you alone for that timespace.

Benefits of meditation

 The most widely-experienced benefits include:
  • the ability to relax irrespective of what the world is “doing to you”
  • increased levels of tolerance and patience
  • more appreciative of life and living
  • calm and peaceful episodes (feelings and experiences) increase
  • increased awareness of harmful substances and environments
  • problem-solving abilities grow along with focus and concentration
  • anger stress, grief, and fear lose their influence
  • creativity develops and becomes more influential in life
  • healing and well-being improve - often dramatically

How long should I meditate?

There is no universal answer - a 30-second reflection on one's gut-feeling may have a more profound effect on your life that 3 months of “navel-gazing” on a mountain top.

As a guide, I find 20-minutes a day, sitting still with no agendas (other than to notice what is going on within me), maintains equanimity and my ability to cope with most of life's input.

Where can I go from here?

If you live on the Sunshine Coast or hinterland then you can come to our group meditations on Monday evenings at Middle Path.

If that is not appropriate then our audio CD “Meditation & Beyond” is a wonderful way to support yourself in learning to meditate.

Here is a good site which has a lot more detailed information about meditating:

Meditation & Beyond for Stress Relief

  you may also appreciate our   Meditation and Beyond ebook, audiobook, CD
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