Text Box: Meditation is a mental discipline that has been practised by people of many cultures and religions through the ages.   It is a state of mind in which all thoughts are concentrated on a single point.  Every religion has its own doctrine and every religion uses its preferred spiritual practices including meditation.  Meditation is not complicated. When you are alone, your mind focused in prayer, you are meditating. It is a form of reflection that helps you to relax mentally and see things more clearly.  It isnít difficult: there are simple techniques to help you master the basic concepts and principles of meditation.
   Why meditate? Meditation helps relax the body and uses the mind to bring about a state of physical relaxation. .  It does, however, take patience and persistence to develop the power of concentration.  The mind will wander and must be consciously brought back to the subject of meditation. Each religious discipline will favour its own particular subjects,  for instance a Budhist might focus on qualities-of-being such as compassion, happiness, joy or loving kindness. Christian meditations traditionally focus on scenes from the life of Christ or aspects of Christian belief.  Christianity offers many deep philosophical concepts such as the Love of God, the teachings of Christ and Redemption.
  To prepare for meditation, you should keep your surroundings simple.  The room should be warm and clothing loose. Do not meditate in the dark  - you would probably fall asleep!  A slightly dimmed light is more suitable.  Likewise, if you meditate lying down or sitting in an armchair, you will soon find yourself dozing off.  You donít, however, have to sit cross legged to meditate.  Just choose a firm chair that enables you to sit upright. Place both feet firmly on the ground. Keep the spine straight and keep your hands folded loosely in your lap or placed one on either thigh.
Once seated comfortably, make yourself aware of your breathing and allow yourself to breathe more slowly and deeply. Mentally follow your breath in and out for a few moments. The following deep breathing pattern also helps to bring a sense of calm to the mind and body:  Breath in to a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of two. Breath out slowly to the count of four. Hold for a count of two. Start again.
  Once you have established a suitable breathing pattern, you will be ready to try this relaxation exercise: simply focus your mind on each part of your body and mentally say to yourself as you do so: My head is relaxing, I feel relaxed. My face is relaxing, I feel relaxed. My shoulders are relaxing, I feel relaxed.  And so on. Take your time and after each phrase, you should experience a release of tension in your body.
   As you become more relaxed, your mind becomes increasingly inner focused.
  After following these basic steps in relaxation, you will be ready to focus your mind on the subject on which you have chosen to meditate. This could be a prayer, the Nativity, Christís Crucifixion and Resurrection or  a favourite bible passage.
   It is recommended that you meditate for fifteen minutes every day and this should help you understand yourself better, relax both physically mentally and to think more clearly.

An introduction to meditation ...

Text Box: It is recommended that you meditation for 15 minutes every day to help you relax and understand yourself better.

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