What is Meditation?
Meditation is simply relaxing the mind. People sometimes over complicate it but it really is very simple. The word meditation brings to mind a person sitting lotus style and repeating a mantra. Yes, that is meditating. But if you sit on a park bench and your mind gets lost in the clouds, that is a form of meditating. If you are and artist and get lost in a painting, that is a form of meditating. There are many forms of meditating but the purpose of meditating, as I see it, is always the same. To calm the mind. The brain is designed to think. That is what it is there for. And when we think we often focus on stressful things. The stress releases chemicals in the body that damage health. So how do you calm the mind? You divert your focus toward something pleasant or something neutral. Yep, that is all there is to it. Sounds easy, but it takes practice and discipline. And there are so many methods because we all are different personality types and will gravitate to different methods.
What is the best way to meditate? There is not one method that works for all. First you will want to determine why you want to meditate. Do you want to reduce stress, lower your blood pressure or gain other health benefits? Maybe you want to improve your mental state, elevate your mood or reduce symptoms of depression. Are you experiencing extreme stress (death, divorce, PTSD, panic attacks) and just want to feel in control again? Perhaps you are on a spiritual path and want to explore your connection to the divine spark within. Or maybe you understand the principles of energy and want to meditate to release any resistance you hold to that energy stream (sounds a bit new-agey, I know) So as you can see there are many reasons to meditate so the forms of meditation will vary.
Another question to ask yourself is what is your personality type. Do you have trouble sitting still and quieting your mind? If so, you may want to explore a moving meditation (Tai Chi, Qigong, yoga). Do you find it easy to quiet your mind and do you have the discipline to sit cross-legged for an hour? Perhaps lotus style is right for you. Is your body in discomfort? Sitting in a chair doing breathwork might be right for you. I consider these all forms of meditation. Regardless of the form, the purpose is to bring balance back into the body.
Click here for a basic overview on different types of Meditation.