Meditation is a way to connect with our innerself, with an inner energy that has the potential to heal itself. It is practiced in almost all religions, but Indian and Tibetan people probably give more importance to this technique.
Meditation is a technique whose origins are lost in the mists of time. The only certainty is that it has helped and it helps millions of people around the world. A tipical problem affecting West people, is the inability to find time to quiet the mind, to have a chance to escape the daily hustle and find peace in yourself.
We seek what can not be found, i.e. happiness in external objects, cars, houses, money, fame … but we have examples around us, from family to famous or rich people, that these objects do not provide peace or bring happiness. This secret has always been natural in the East. If you take a few moments a day to go within oneself, this investment will give us an enormous profit in peace, health and balance.
On the other hand, to have animosity in our heart toward any person, only will produce disturbances on our domestic peace and happiness. Do you know anyone that houses hatred feelings and is happy? Is a contradiction in itself. As the Dalai Lama says whether to be selfish, you must be a smart selfish, for the selfishness to feel good we try to forget animosities.
There are many meditation techniques, Hindu, Tibetan, Japanese, etc.. All have the same goal, getting the mind to settle down and get that state of inner peace that allows us to see things more clearly. You can learn a large number of meditation techniques in books, but for some it is probably better to learn from a qualified teacher.
One of the most simple techniques is called Vipassana, is based on concentrating on your breathing, adopting an upright posture. Sitting on a cushion on the floor or in a chair, legs crossed, back straight, shoulders and hands relaxed, hands resting on your lap, right hand over left, palms upward. The head tilted slightly, placing the tip of the tongue on the palate ( it will secrete less saliva and will be easier to concentrate exclusively on the breath). If you can not be in that position on the floor, just sit in a chair, also following the recommendations on posture.
All the mind must be focused on how air enters and leaves the nostrils. At first, the mind plays with us, we will remember a thousand things, pain in our back or legs, or we want to eat a sandwich, it should be clear that they are only illusions of the mind. It is not advisable to play along. We should just let pass the thoughts, without discussing their content. The image is like when you are in front of a window looking at cars passing by, you can watch them without looking particularly at any of them. If we pay attention to one in particular (green seat, leads a woman, etc) that will distract our mind, we must return to the breath and just watch the cars (ideas) go by, without hook our mind. Gradually decreasing the flow of ideas and finally there is the internal state of relaxation so important to mental and physical health.
If practiced daily 15-30 minutes, in over two or three weeks, we will gradually find welfare, which will be increased to daily practice. No one who has practiced these techniques has repented to do it, at least he has an enriching experience.
The only recommendation that can be done to anyone interested in these techniques is to be very careful with sectarian groups. Groups using the doctrines of one religion or another engaged in exploiting the people who fall into their networks. Affected people are so convinced of their faith in the sect (faith achieved by real brainwashing) that if one argues against them may turn against their loved ones. What we should see in any group ? If there is any force gaining (phone calls, etc), getting followers almost by force is against any religious principles, if the activities are related to increased funding of the organization (free labor, etc) . The money or economic power is something opposed to any impulse, interest or spiritual concern. Finally the feeling of our group is the real one. Fanaticism is just a sign of insecurity and lack of information.
“Be patient with everyone, but especially with yourself. I mean, do not be discouraged because of your imperfections, but always rise up with a renewed spirit. How can we be patient with the faults of our neighbour if we are impatient with our own? One who is angry with his own faults will never correct them. Helpful corrections comes from a calm and peaceful mind”. ( Saint Francis of Sales).
The benefits that can be found in the practice of meditation include decreased anxiety, feelings of anger or depression. Gradually you will feel an increased concentration, alertness, control and emotional stability, producing this set a strong sense of wellbeing.