Meditation and the Mind

Sitting still and quieting the mind takes perseverance and practice. Asking an adult to still or quiet the mind is comparable to asking a two-year-old to sit quietly and not wiggle very difficult, indeed. The majority of us spend our days bombarded by sensory input. The mind is active we engage it in reading, studying, writing, conversing, watching television, or spending hours in front of a computer screen. The mind seldom reposes or gets a wink of rest. Our bodies would revolt or get sick if we pushed them to keep up an equivalent pace for example, hiking, running, and swimming all day with no warm-up or break for too long. Mentally, however, during our waking hours our minds channel-surf, tossing from one activity to another. All this agitation disturbs concentration. Theoretically, during meditation all the mental activity settles down. The mind doesn’t go to sleep, but meditation allows it to become peaceful, calm, and aware.

Two Techniques to Calm the Mind

In yoga, the metaphor for the mind is likened to a chattering monkey that has been bitten by a scorpion. Meditators use different techniques in order to hush all the static in the mind.

Meditation is not about zoning out. Quite the opposite; it requires the mind to focus its attention on one object or on a moment-to-moment awareness. There are traditionally two techniques used to meditate concentrative and mindfulness. Some forms of meditation combine the techniques. Depending on the method of meditation, the focus of attention may vary. The goal, regardless of the method or object of focus, is to hush mental activity.

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