The word Meditation comes from the same Tibetan verbal root as “habituate” or “familiarize.” In English, it means to contemplate or ponder. So in meditation we attempt to habituate ourselves to valuable ways of viewing ourselves and the surrounding world. We also seek to familiarize ourselves with, or contemplate an accurate view, an awareness, or reality, so we can eliminate all wrong conceptions and disturbing attitudes.

Notice there has been no mention of religion or blind faith. That is because there is nothing religious about meditating. The only similarities with religion might be in the qualities of love, wisdom, patience and impartiality.

Meditation is the simple act of guiding all our thoughts toward a distant place thereby reaching a calm and peaceful state. This doesn’t mean we enter a lethargic or trance-like state. There is nothing spectacular about a blank mind. Meditation means clearly and directly perceiving reality.

Assume the Position

There is a classic meditation position: first assume a seated position on a cushion or pillow with your legs crossed, and your backside slightly higher than your legs. The spine is straight, and the shoulders are level as if you are being pulled up by the crown of your head. The hands are placed in the lap below the navel. The right hand is on top of the left hand with the thumbs touching. The arms are relaxed, neither pressing against the body nor are the elbows sticking out. The head is slightly inclined, the mouth closed with the tongue resting against the upper palate. The eyes are slightly open to prevent drowsinmess, loosely focused on the tip of the nose or at the floor.

This is the classic meditation position used for centuries, but isn’t necessary, especially if you choose to meditate at school or work, on a subway or sitting on a park bench. The key is to maintain a straight spine, not leaning against a chairback.

Keep it Short to Begin With

It is ideal to begin your day with a short meditation. Focusing on beneficial attitudes in the morning will make you calmer and more alert throughout the day. Pay close attention to your breathing. Being aware of your breathing is the heart of mindfulness meditation. Another short evening meditation before going to bed calms you and settles the mind, and helps you reflect on your day.

Meditation sessions should be brief at first. Five to ten minutes is adequate and choose a time when you won’t be disturbed. You can extend your sessions as you become comfortable. The following short passage will help you contemplate your intention:

How Wonderful it Would Be

“How wonderful it would be if all things held happiness and were free of all difficulties. I would like to make this possible by showing others the path to enlightenment. But, as long as my own mind remains unclear, I can’t help myself let alone others. Therefore, I want to improve myself – to eliminate my obscurations and develop my potentials – so that I can be of better service to all others. For this reason, I do this meditation session, which will be one more step along the path.”

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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