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Meditation in Today's World

Jul 23, 2008
Earlier, I was asked via email, if I've ever meditated? This question, albeit very simple and answerable by either yes or no, had me thinking. I literally had to stop for a few moments and ponder about it. A part of me said "Yes, everyday I meditate through my Catholic prayers." But then another part of me said, "Not really... since I'm not Buddhist or Hindu."

Admittedly, the initial image that comes to my mind when I hear the word meditation is a person doing the half-lotus position, with eyes closed, chanting or humming the word "Om." Either that or a person isolated in the middle of a cherry blossom garden, again with eyes closed and zoning out of the world.

The better part of me knows that meditation is much more than the images that I initially think of when I hear the word, but still for some reason I have such a stereotypical association and impression of the word. Is it because of mass media's influence? Perhaps. Or maybe I just don't really use the word as often.

But I digress.

Because I was uncertain if I've ever meditated, and I stereotyped meditation to eastern practices, I decided to verify and research on what meditation means... The Compact Oxford Dictionary defines meditation as: "The action or practice of meditating." Other definitions from Dictionary.com for meditation are: "A devotional exercise of or leading to contemplation / A contemplative course, usually on a religious or philosophical subject."

Meditation then, I realize is something that everyone does subconsciously. However, the discipline of meditation emerges, when people meditate in a more conscious, proactive and directed manner. What is attained, because of a more deliberate purpose of meditation, is essentially peace and clarity of mind, calmness and inner strength. After all, meditation requires individuals to silence themselves amidst the hurly burly and chaos of life.

Meditation in one sense, enables individuals to assess situations from both a distant and personal perspective: A distant perspective--because during meditation, one literally tries to free his/herself from the physical boundaries that create the situation. On the hand, meditation is a personal perspective--because not everyone attains enlightenment the same way as the other. Individuals have to address their personality and overcome respective obstacles vis--vis the bigger picture.

If you think about it, the end result of meditation is actually quite paradoxical, because meditation frees you from all distractions by "losing yourself" in the state of contemplation.

I've heard a number of people tell me that habitually allotting at least 15 minutes of your time in a day to meditate--whether it is to reflect, to think of nothing, to deliberate, to chant mantras or to pray--allows your mind to think more clearly; it gives your body more room to be natural; and in turn you perform better as a person.

Personally, it makes sense. Meditating is very natural habit to begin with. It is nature's way to provide us with the break that we need whenever we are overloaded with sensorial, mental and emotional information. So if we consciously engage in meditation, we are able to actually put more purpose in our instinctive trait to take a step back when troubled. Meditation allows us to channel our energies and reach our personal and holistic objectives in a clearer, more definite way.

So, have you ever meditated?

Clearly, the answer is for everyone is yes. The big question now is: are you willing to make your meditation a more proactive, conscious, disciplined and deliberate way of life?

Maybe we should all meditate on that.
About the Author
Jane Michael is the head writer at the Center for Meditation. Meditation is her practice and her passion. Guided meditation is a great way to start your meditation practice.
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