Recently there was a discussion on a message forum whether meditation
was superstition. If you have not practiced meditation before and
do not know what it is, you may have such doubts. To know the answer,
first you have to understand what meditation means. Meditation has
the same advantages as relaxation. If relaxation is superstition,
then certainly meditation is. The practice of meditation involves
any or all the following.
- Limit the sensory activity. In meditation
you close your eyes and limit the amount of information that
- Relax the mind and body. You relax all
the parts in your body from head to feet by focusing on each
of them and relaxing them.
- Breathe deeply. You take a few deep breaths
or a few slow breaths, which will help you relax further and
go into a still deeper relaxation.
- Focus your attention. As you relax, you
focus your attention on your mind and thoughts or on a particular
spot in your body such as the place between your eyebrows, the
tip of your nose or your breath.
- Pay passive attention. You pay attention
to what goes on in your body or mind without controlling or
resisting anything, such as your breathing, body sensations,
feelings, emotions, thoughts, memories, or on anything that
happens around you or images of places, people and things that
- Pay active attention: You choose any subject
or object of interest and pay attention to it, without stressing
yourself. The object can be secular or religious.
There are many methods and techniques of meditation, which we
cannot list here because of the scope of this discussion. You can
find them in many books and articles. Technically, any act of contemplation,
deliberation, reflection is meditation. It is an act of letting
go of mental restraints so that the mind can be more plastic and
you will have an opportunity to break free from routine thinking
and habitual responses and spend quality time with yourself and
In meditation you let your mind do its work, while you watch
it. It helps you relax and know your deeper thoughts and hidden
feelings. Your meditation does not have to be a religious or spiritual
practice. You do not have to think of God or spiritual subjects.
You can even think of people you love or things you hate to know
why you have such thoughts or feelings towards them.
Meditation can help you overcome weaknesses, behavioral problems
or habitual responses. For example, you can visualize situations
that disturb you, or cause fear and you can visualize alternative
approaches to cope with them in different and healthy ways. You
can also consider meditation a fun activity just as you watch a
movie or a play a game. It is a controlled day dreaming and a good
past time, if there is nothing else to do. You can even practice
it with open eyes, which many who regularly practice it do.
You can also use meditation to solve problems, think creatively,
analyze a situation, gain insight or know your intuition or gut
feelings. Meditation may not solve all your problems. However, it
is the cheapest and the most easily available technique to change
your thoughts, feel relaxed or become familiar with your deepest
thoughts and feelings.
Therefore, meditation is not a superstition unless you are superstitious
or prejudiced about it.
Jayaram V is the Founder President of Hinduwebsite.com and
writer of several books and hundreds of articles on various
religious, spiritual and self-help subjects.