FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Meditation?
Meditation is the practice of self-realization. It is the development of your ability to focus your consciousness on the alignment of mind, body and spirit into a harmonies state of being. The term “meditation” often refers to a variety of practices, some of which are taught and discussed on this site.
Historically meditation was designed to promote spiritual health and well being. It was and still is believed that through regular practice you may enhance your state of happiness through the cultivation of your innate qualities of love, compassion, equanimity and appreciative joy.
In modern times, the practice of meditation is often referred to as “mindfulness” practice and is used to enhance self-awareness and inner peace as well as calmness of body and mind. The regular practice of meditation is believed to promote both physiological and emotional health.
Is Meditation a Religious Practice?
No, meditation is a practice for everyone and is absolutely free of religious dogma. Although meditation has its roots in both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, it has no strings attached to any particular religious beliefs. It is a practice with no national, cultural, religious or philosophical borders.
Although meditation practice is known to enhance one’s spiritual experience, a person can be an atheist or an agnostic and still enjoy the health and happiness that regular practice offers.
What Happens When I Meditate?
The first thing that generally happens when a person begins to meditate regularly is that their nervous system begins to calm and they acquire a deeper sense of relaxation. We call this the honeymoon period.
Oftentimes people come to meditation thinking that they will have some sort of “out of body” experience, when the reality is quite the opposite. Real meditation is absolutely an “in-body” experience with healthy physiological and emotional ramifications.
What are the Benefits of Meditation?
You may experience physical, psychological and spiritual benefits from a regular meditation practice. The key word here is “regular”. In order to attain the benefits of practice,
you must be willing to do the work.
Since the 1950’s, western scientists have been doing extensive neurological and psychological studies of meditation and its effect on practitioners. Most of these studies have revealed that regular meditation practice has a number of positive health benefits; lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and increasing your sense of personal happiness and well-being.
Historically and cross culturally, meditation is considered to be a source of
spiritual well-being and even enlightenment.
What is the Best Time to Meditate?
Anytime! This site is devoted to helping you develop a personal practice that you can incorporate into your personal life. You should try different times of the day and find what works best for you.
Where Should I Meditate?
Anywhere! Although it is helpful to have a special place to practice in your home, we are
dedicated to helping you see all the opportunities and possibilities for practice in your daily life.
You can experience a quality meditation practice on your bus seat traveling to work and
you can experience a meaningful practice on a park bench during a lunch break.
See Meditation Anywhere for examples.
How Long Should I Meditate?
There is no set time limit for a good or valid meditation practice. When it comes to practice,
quality trumps quantity. You can experience a meaningful practice whether it is for three minutes
or three hours.
Do I Need to Sit in Full-Lotus Position
in Order to Have a Real Practice?
We traditionally imagine a person in “full lotus” (i.e. cross legged) when we think about someone meditating but it is not at all necessary. You can practice meditation sitting in a chair, standing, lying down or even walking. It’s all a matter of aligning certain aspects of your body, mind and breath.
Should I Practice with My Eyes Open or Closed?
You can meditate with eyes open or closed. It’s all a matter of what works best for you.
Certain traditions in meditation encourage different techniques but ultimately it’s your choice.
What Do I Do with My Hands?
We often see images of meditators with their hands in special “mudras” or positions.
This again is a matter of personal preference. The objective is to have your hands
placed in a relaxed but attentive position that drops the shoulders
and draws them slightly back in order to open the upper torso.
See the How to Sit for Meditation page for more
Is It OK to Practice if I am Pregnant?
Absolutely! Meditation is good for you and your growing baby. It offers you both a sense of peace, contentment and joy. Caution: pregnant mothers have often reported an increase in baby activity during practice.
How Do I Know When I am Ready
to Start a Meditation Practice?
If you are reading this blog right now, you are ready to begin your personal practice. Just as anyplace is a good place to practice, anytime is a good time to start.