The Sane Side of Meditation

There are a lot of notions and ideas around meditation that are incorrect.  A lot, and I mean a lot of what is said and written about meditation is balderdash! There are many, almost infinite ways, to connect to your higher self. It is just that a lot of confusion exists about it. Most of that is due to the fact that so many people associate meditation with a specific form or a particular religion. It does not have to be so.You are to sit for long periods of time in stillness and silence in order to connect to God.Seriously?How’s that working for you?It seems like a lot of people think in order to connect with your higher self and know God, you have to put your left ankle next to your right ear while you turn around three times counterclockwise and breathe deeply through your nostrils, clap your hands 4 times and sit down using your right arm for leverage.What a load of nonsense!Meditation is the simple act of putting your attention on a limited area of focus. You do it for a set period of time. You do it while intending a change or improvement in yourself. It is the intent, your purpose in doing it, that distinguishes it from daydreaming, reading a book or fantasy.Not every form of meditation is about inner focus. There are many exceptions to this such as some Zen and yoga style meditations. These are types of meditation that use passive focus in order to connect, join, or merge with something else. Koan, with the famous question, “What is the sound of one hand?” provokes mediation based upon focus to answer to this question. Various Huna practices focus heightened attention on objects, such as Nalu.There are no time constraints, either. You can do meditation for a short period of time, say a minute or so, and it usually has a relaxing or energizing effect. Doing it for longer periods tends to produce a feeling of connection with the focus of the meditation. Often, a flow of ideas or information related to it unfold. In some cases, especially if the intent is there, it can lead to a shift of consciousness away from your current surroundings.Some forms of meditation involve active imagination and guided imagery. This includes most forms of hypnosis as well. Although hypnosis is seldom associated with meditation, it fits the definition. A trance in hypnosis is a type of meditation.Meditation can be used for relaxation, understanding, learning, healing, self-development, spiritual development or changing circumstances. The main characteristic of a good meditation is that you feel better for having done it. The tradition or the style is not as important as the experience itself.  If the rules you associate with it don’t suit you, then let them go and do a practice that suits you.