Meditation – A word that for many, creates images of a monk sitting in a temple or a cave, thinking. Some, think it’s a sin to meditate or that it’s something that the devil invented to lure you away from God. Where that ridiculous idea came from, I don’t know, but it is definitely not the truth.
In that case, what is it?
Meditation is practiced as part of the path towards enlightenment and self-realization; it is a way for the practitioner to come in contact with their inner divine source and God. I think meditation is much older than what we are taught to believe. The proof can be found in many sacred and ancient sites across the world and was practiced long before popular world religions developed.
The word Meditation derives from the Old French word ‘meditacioun’ and latin ‘meditatio’ meaning to think, contemplate, devise, or ponder.
Meditation was a part of a Christian practice called the Four Stages, which was developed by the Chartusian Monk, Guigo the Angelic, in the late 1100th century. The practice the famous monk developed consists of “lectio, orato, and contemplato”. These are the steps of reading the text, thinking about or meditating upon the significance of it, praying in a response to the writing, and lastly, acquiring the gift of quiet stillness in the presence of God, called contemplation.
Since Guigo the Angelic, meditation has been practiced in numerous religious traditions and beliefs all over the world. Today, science has found that there are many benefits of meditation: it can help in reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, increasing peaceful thoughts, perception and well-being. Meditation is also undergoing research to define its possible health effects (psychological, neurological, and cardiovascular) and other benefits such as anti-aging.
There are just as many different ways to meditate as there are people on the world but, in short, it’s about practising a technique that takes away the attention from the senses and silences the mind and body so that one can perceive the self/the reflection of God/ Creator/ Source within oneself.
So how do you do it?
They’re two main groups of meditation techniques: active or focused/concentrative and passive or open monitoring/mindfulness meditations.
The active mediations are great for beginners, kids, or very busy people that struggle with sitting still. They entail the voluntary focusing of attention on a chosen object, breathing, movement, image, or word such as a mantra.
The passive, also known as Zen or Zazen, is a meditation that relies on patience. Some Buddhist practitioners would meditate for hours straight, waiting for enlightenment. The aim of Zazen is just sitting, and, suspending all judgmental thinking and letting words, ideas, images, and thoughts pass by without getting involved in them. This is a more advanced practice as for many beginners it is hard to sit upright on and in complete stillness just focusing.
Often one meditation technique uses both the active and passive parts such as Vipassana. Vipassana meditation uses sati (mindfulness) and samatha (calm), developed through the practice of anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing), combined with the contemplation of impermanence as observed in the bodily and mental changes, to gain insight into the true nature of this reality.
My own story
When I was a teenager I was very miserable; I was very self-absorbed and caught up in my issues as most teenagers are. I was brought up in a chaotic environment where my parents were often fighting as both alcohol addiction and infidelity were present. I couldn’t see a solution to my problem; I struggled in school even though I loved learning.
On top of that, I became pregnant at the age of 15 and had to go through an abortion. My life was a mess; a felt very depressed and guilty. I didn’t know where to go; it was between committing suicide or running away from home and the current circumstances.
Luckily enough, my parents despite their problems, were very open and wanted to grow spiritually, so one day we all started to meditate using TM -Transcendental meditation. This saved my life, as I could connect with myself and finally found the peace that I so much sought after and learned that there was more to life than I had experienced.
Meditating made me much stronger, both physically and emotionally. I became more peaceful, calm, happy and more of myself. At the same time, my grades became better, and my health improved.
Years later I came to study many different self-development techniques with many different coaches and teachers. By the end of the ’90s, I had studied the philosophies by OSHO and entered a therapy training program at OSHO RISK in Denmark, where I noticed that the Mental meditations I had practiced, didn’t completely help me as I had anticipated. I needed to do more active mediations and other exercises that involved my breath and go deeper into myself in order to help me fix my deep psychological issues. A lot of sorrow and anger was stored up from my childhood and teenage years and possibly from previous lives I lived.
For years I did the active meditations and came to teach different active meditations myself. When I became a mother, 18 years ago, my focus shifted, my attention was on not me any longer, and I shifted to being more of a caretaker than a meditator. I still benefited from the earlier years of practice since I was more aware and I could more easily deal with the daily challenges of motherhood.
Since 2012 I have gone back to meditation and have since then also deepened my studies in the ancient and sacred knowledge surrounding it.
I went back to teaching meditation again in 2015, and in 2017 I became a Certified Law of Attraction coach. Many of the techniques I use incorporate meditation and visualization to assist people in contacting their higher self. I personally use meditation as a tool to connect to the universal consciousness but also to integrate the different parts of myself.
I believe that meditation can be a tool for integration. It can help you connect to the whole; remembering your true essence and why you are here. But it can also give you space to discover parts of yourself that need attention and healing so that you can become a whole, integrated human being.
The goal is to become a more meditative human being in daily life; authentic, integrated, and whole. At that point, meditation is no longer needed as a tool, since you will be living in a state of constant awareness, being present with what is, and becoming more at peace within yourself.
How I Teach
In my meditation training, I’ll teach people different techniques so that they can find out what way resonates the most with them. We will try active and passive ways to meditate.
I can teach one-on-one lessons but most of the time I do it in small groups since the group setting and atmosphere can benefit everyone who is participating, helping to create a field of energy that can also be helpful for the individual. Just like an orchestra, one can practice alone or in a band for a more enriching and growing experience.
I also do different groups settings depending on the clients need. The sessions are usually around an hour, consisting of an informational part, the mediation section and lastly a section for sharing, where the meditator can get feedback and assistance to any problem or issue arising from the process.