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world¶s many religious traditions. All authentic spiritual paths agree that the way to attain true and lasting happiness is to come to a deep and substantial knowledge of oneself and one¶s place in the world. The only way to know one¶s inner self is by means of the science of meditation. As the most ancient and systematic spiritual tradition known to humanity, the process of meditation is found in its fullest form in the Yoga and Dharma tradition.
The History For as long as there have been human beings, there have been people doing what only human beings do best: Asking philosophical questions. Such questions include:
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Who and what am I, really? What is life¶s ultimate meaning? Is this world that I see around me, and which I take to be so real, the only reality there is? Or is there something infinitely greater?
Inevitably, in order to help find the answers to these and similar questions, men and women throughout the ages, and in many spiritual traditions, have turned to the process of meditation. Meditation, however, is not just for a few special seekers dedicated to unraveling life¶s deepest mysteries. Meditation has a lot to offer everyone. Maybe even you! The Benefits There are many wonderful benefits that you can experience by taking up the practice of regular meditation. These include inner calm and peace of mind; reduction of stress and anxiety; greater control over your own mind and its activities; keener intelligence and sharper concentration; becoming more centered and balanced; discovering who we truly are within; a deepening sense of communion with God; joy and happiness.
How to Meditate In order to practice meditation, you first have to find a quiet and uncluttered spot to sit. Such an environment contributes to a quiet and uncluttered mind. Once there, sit in a comfortable, yet alert, position. Have your back and spine straight, but not strained. Don¶t slouch or recline, or else you might fall asleep ± and the goal of meditation is not to sleep, but to be very much awake! As you sit in your comfortable position, try to put aside all negative thoughts and anxieties that
may be bothering you at the moment. Allow your thoughts to be on hold for just a little while. Tell yourself that you can always come back to them later. Listen with relaxed, yet keen and alert, attentiveness to the rhythm of your own breathing. Feel, and even hear, the life-giving air as it enters and leaves your lungs. Concentrate all of your attention on nothing other than the sound and the feeling of your breath. With every out-going breath, allow the stress and anxiety hidden in your body and mind to just be released. Allow fears and doubts to simply leave. With every in-coming breath, imagine the calm and peace of a love-filled universe entering your lungs, and into your very being. If your mind temporarily wanders away - and it will! - then just gently and patiently bring it back to its task of focusing only on the breath. Try this for about 10 minutes as a preparation for mantra-meditation, slowly increasing the time over the next few weeks. After you have calmed the mind with breath concentration, you can now move on to the more spiritual aspect of meditation by using a mantra.
Mantra Meditation There are many different techniques of meditation. Of all the various forms, however, the most popular, effective and easiest is known as "Mantra Meditation." This type of meditation uses a mantra, or a transcendental sound vibration, to achieve its goal. The word "mantra" comes to us from the ancient Sanskrit language and is actually composed of two words. "Man" means "the mind," and the word "tra" means "to liberate." A mantra is thus a sacred sound frequency that frees the mind from anxiety and illusion. The Mantra The most powerful of mantras that one could use is known as the Tiru-mantra: Aum Namo Narayanaya Which literally means: "I offer my respects to the Absolute, the Sustainer of all beings." It is said in the Vedic literature (Narayana-Upanishad) that if one recites this mantra sincerely and with devotion, one will achieve peace, fulfillment and self-realization. More, you will also achieve God-consciousness, an immediate awareness of the grace of God in your life. Immediately after doing the breath concentration exercise described above, sitting in the same position, with your eyes closed, begin to repeat the mantra, Aum Namo Narayanaya, outloud and with devotion. Focus all of your attentive energy on the sound and the vibration of the mantra, hearing the mantra, and even feeling the soothing vibrations of the mantra in your chest near the heart region. A good meditation session lasts for about 20 - 30 minutes per day. It is explained in the Yoga literature of ancient India, and by great Yoga masters throughout history, that if one can cultivate a daily meditation practice, and perform meditation with sincerity, humility, patience and with
devotion, then one will achieve peace, fulfillment, wisdom and direct realization of God's presence in our lives. With daily practice of meditation, you will slowly begin to see your stress and anxiety levels begin to reduce. You will also begin to experience a deep inner peace that will seem very familiar and comforting. This is because you will be accessing the deepest well of inner peace that is natural to your true self. The only way to experience this joy of meditation is to try it. So dive deeply into the reality of your own inner peace. Meditate! Spiritual Guidance As is always true with any serious path of self-unfoldment, it is important to have experienced and trusted guidance in pursuing self-realization. In the Yoga tradition, such guidance is provided by the guru, or spiritual teacher. The International Sanatana Dharma Soceity is here to serve you in your spiritual needs. If you would like further guidance with furthering your meditation experience, and with your spiritual progress, please feel free to contact us.
About the Author Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya (Dr. Frank Morales, Ph.D.) has been practicing and teaching Dharma for over 35 years. With a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he is the Founder-Acharya of the International Sanatana Dharma Society and the Director of the Center for Dharma Studies. Sri Acharyaji is currently recognized as one of the world's foremost scholars on the Yoga tradition, Dharma and meditation, as well as being a truly authentic spiritual teacher. With a very large international following, Sri Acharyaji is especially renowned for his highly authentic approach to spirituality, his authoritative and scholarly method of teaching, and his clear emphasis on serious spiritual practice and direct experience of self-realization. He has lectured on Dharma at dozens of top universities, such as Harvard, Columbia, Rutgers, Cornell, and Northwestern. He has also served as a consultant for such Fortune 500 companies as Ford Motor Corporation and Lucent Technology. Sri Acharyaji's teachings stress the achievement of enlightenment through the practice of meditation, Yoga, and directly experiencing the presence of the Divine. Another overarching aspect of Sri Acharyaji's teachings focuses on the importance of love, compassion and service
toward all living beings. Whether speaking to an audience of thousands, or having a heart-felt discussion with only one person, Sri Acharyaji vividly conveys a deeply moving sense of compassion, peace, humility, and spiritual insight that has endeared him to thousands of students and admirers throughout the world. For more information, visit: http://www.dharmacentral.com
Copyright Notice, (c) 2010-2012, Dharmacentral.com You have the author's permission to publish and/or forward this article for educational purposes only if it is left thoroughly unaltered, unchanged and unedited (with the inclusion of this notice), and if full credit is given to the author.
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