Why do we meditate? We meditate because this world of ours has not been able to fulfill us. The so-called peace that we feel in our day-to-day life is five minutes of peace after ten hours of anxiety, worry and frustration. We are constantly at the mercy of the negative forces that are all around us: jealousy, fear, doubt, worry, anxiety and despair. These forces are like monkeys. When they get tired of biting us and take rest for a few minutes, then we say that we are enjoying peace. But this is not real peace at all, and the next moment they will attack us again.
“The body is like a temple and the soul or inner reality is like the shrine inside the body-temple. If the temple does not have a shrine, then we cannot appreciate the temple. Again, if we do not keep the temple in good condition, then how can we take proper care of the shrine?”
We have the body and we have the soul. A spiritual person has to give equal importance to both. If someone does not get any exercise at all, then the physical will remain unlit, lethargic and a real hindrance to the aspirant. If the physical consciousness does not aspire, it will remain separated from the soul. Then rest assured, you will never be able to achieve perfection. The physical has to aspire in its own way to increase its capacity so that it can hold light. Then the physical will contribute to the spiritual and you will be able to aspire and manifest much more. So, physical fitness and spirituality must go together. Understanding this mutuality of mind and body is important and good reason for those learning meditation to develop a fit and healthy body-temple.
It is only through meditation that we can get lasting peace, divine peace. If we meditate soulfully in the morning and receive peace for only one minute, that one minute of peace will permeate our whole day. And when we have a meditation of the highest order, then we get really abiding peace, light and delight. We need meditation because we want to grow in light and fulfill ourselves in light. If this is our aspiration, if this is our thirst, then meditation is the only way.
The deeper our meditation becomes, the more we can feel the guidance of our own real Self, the ‘inner pilot’ as describes the soul. This inner wisdom tells us how to live in the outer world, what to do and not to do, what decisions are best – all the details of life are guided from within. Thus a lifestyle enabling this access to the soul through meditation is of incalculable value for it grants us great happiness – the soul’s delight flows into everything that we are and do.
If we feel that we are satisfied with what we have and what we are, then there is no need for us to enter into the field of meditation. The reason we enter into meditation is because we have an inner hunger. We feel that within us there is something vast, something divine. We feel that we need this thing very badly, only right now we do not have access to it. Our inner hunger comes from our spiritual need.
Meditation also helps us to lower blood pressure, improved blood circulation, lower heart rate, less perspiration, slower respiratory rate, less anxiety, lower blood cortisol levels, more feelings of well-being, less stress, deeper relaxation.
Here are five types of meditation that are best suited for anyone new to meditation:
1. Mindfulness Meditation: The most well-known type, it is about being aware of the sounds and activities happening around us. It’s almost a flow-like type of meditation, because we literally just let our mind be fluid and flow from one thought to the next, not really focusing on one particular thing.
2. Spiritual Meditation: This type of meditation is for those who regularly participate in prayer, as it’s based on communicating with God. Just like the other styles, we must become calm and quiet and then begin to focus on a question or problem we might have. This style of meditation can feel not only relaxing, but rewarding as well.
3. Focused Meditation: If the idea of clearing our mind of all thoughts stresses us out, focused meditation is great because we can focus on a sound, object, mantra, or thought. The key here is to just focus on one of these things and stay committed to that one thought or object.
4. Movement Meditation: Movement meditation may seem intimidating, it can be extremely uplifting and relaxing at the same time. Sitting with our eyes closed, simply focus on your breath and try out different gentle, repetitive flowing movements
5. Mantra Meditation: Mantras are words that are chanted loudly during meditation. It may seem odd to be making loud noises during a meditation session, but it’s actually the sounds that become the object being focused on. In yoga, the mantra Om is regularly used since it delivers a deep vibration that makes it easy for the mind to concentrate on that particular sound.