SC TOOL - Meditation

Meditation can be defined as a state of consciousness characterized by stillness and inner calm. The ultimate goal is the attainment of spiritual peace. Meditation takes you beyond the restless activity of the mind to a deeper, more peaceful space. Meditation is mental maintenance. The mind needs to be stilled occasionally to keep it working at peak efficiency. Teaching yourself how to relax your mind and release it from the stress of thought for a short period each day keeps it clear and clean. You'll think better. You'll see more accurately and with more insight. You'll be able to concentrate and focus on things like never before. You'll be able to truly relax.

Meditation differs from deep sleep or relaxation in that it involves active mental effort rather than total rest. As well as relieving stress and replenishing energy, it can bring you physical, mental, and spiritual peace. You will develop awareness - the capacity to notice fully every event in your life as it happens.

The first requirement of meditation is the power to concentrate. The objective is to direct the mind to dwell exclusively on one subject. While the subject of attention may vary, all forms of meditation have as their goal the centering or focusing of one's attention, or mental energies.

Through focusing your attention upon a single subject, there is an integration of the mind, body and present moment, and your capacity to attend to one moment at a time with clarity and sensitivity is enhanced. Regular meditation practice instills a sense of living in the present moment - facing pleasant and unpleasant emotions, thought patterns, fears, and cravings without distraction.

At first, sitting still may feel strange and you may think you are wasting time. But you really are making excellent use of a relatively short span of time; you are retraining your mind to be more effective and creative. Short periods of inner quiet will refresh your mind and body.

Through meditation you can gain new perspectives on life. You could spend a whole lifetime seeking outside yourself for happiness, but in reality it can only be found inside. Meditation helps you to understand yourself. With time, you will discover where your true nature and abilities lie. It will inspire you to find your own creativity and inner resources. You will feel encouraged to get the most benefit out of each day.

Meditation is nondenominational. Meditative practices are part of many religious traditions. There are several common principles: outwardly, an awareness of posture, breath and mental control; inwardly, a spiritual search. Buddhism is best known for its teaching on meditation, and takes various forms, including Zen. Islam, Judaism and Christianity also practice meditation.

Meditation requires patience, understanding and practice. Try not to expect any particular result. If you have no expectation, you will not get discouraged and stop practicing, and because you don't stop practicing, you will gradually become more and more comfortable in this different state of meditation. You will look forward to it - like going to meet a good friend or taking a quiet rest. As with learning and perfecting yoga postures, meditation is a lifelong quest.

Meditation progress is cumulative; even if you think nothing is happening, the daily effort is increasing your concentration and willpower and helping you to gain control over your mind. Control of the mind is the key to success in life. If you can become the master of this dynamic and vast source of potential energy, you have access to a powerful resource

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