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meditation

IT IS A PLACE YOU GO, NOT SOMETHING YOU DO!
There are many false impressions of meditation. Meditation is beneficial to everyone, whether they are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and any other religion. Meditation is not mysterious; it is a way to calm down, to lower the blood pressure, to restore the nervous system, to find the clear mind that is within all of us.
 
You can sit and simply follow your own breath, paying attention to each inhalation and exhalation. You can use one word such as peace or attention. Choosing a word, phrase or following the breath enables you to sit and bring your mind back to the point when it drifts into planning, worrying, obsessing and thinking.
 
A simple way to focus is to choose a mantra and silently repeat it as we sit.
 
Many people begin meditation practice by sitting for an hour or more at a time and really work to empty their minds. They usually get discouraged because it takes practice and tools to get to the point of an hour of meditation. The harder a person tries to achieve an empty mind, it seems that more thoughts just flood the mind. This leads to frustration and the feeling that meditation doesn't work for them. Most people need some instruction to begin their practice.
 
A good way to begin is to sit for 10 minutes, twice daily. Focusing on the breath, a phrase or a mantra will lead to longer periods of sitting.
 
Meditation means to pause, find that calm center, where value judgments are suspended. One technique that helps to still the “ hamster cage aspect of a whirling racing mind” is to simply stop and say,” thinking”, rather than to label the thoughts as good, bad, happy, angry, upset.  Even very short meditations are  building blocks to a calmer, more peaceful life.

Many people use their meditation for others, focusing on a friend who is ill, in trouble or a group that needs this support. Research shows that people who are prayed for even though they are unaware of the prayers, improve significantly.

This mantra is one that invokes the fundamental aspect of Buddha, a basic attitude of compassion for all sentient beings.

Om Mani Padme Hum
 
Or you can choose a word for the focus point. Herbert Benson, M.D. recommended using the word, “one”. Others could be peace, now, attention, here and now, calm.
 
Focusing on each breath and paying attention to each inhalation and exhalation is another way to calm the mind.
It is important to find a place to sit that is quiet with no telephone or doorbell to disturb you. Sitting is usually done on a small cushion. Leg position should be comfortable; not everyone can sit in a lotus position. The basic idea is to sit and be still and let the mind become quiet.

There are many books on meditation and many Buddhist centers offer meditation  retreats.

 
May everyone be happy
May everyone be free from misery
May no one ever be separated from their happiness
May everyone have equanimity with freedom from hatred and attachment.