Although there are numerous ways in which to practice meditation, each technique has its own unique way of helping a person to detach from the ego mind and drop down into a state of awareness. And why would you want to do that? Well apart from the hundreds if not hundreds of thousands of studies done on the negative effect stress can have on the mind and body (and how meditation can help relieve that stress), another profound benefit from meditation is connection with a deeper sense of existence.
Jacquelyn Ferguson takes a look at one of the more popular meditation techniques, Transcendental Meditation, in this recent News Press post. According to Ferguson, who highlights the practice of Transcendental Meditation as a viable solution for those who suffer from PTSD, Transcendental Meditation involves the use of mantra and focus on the breath as a way to detach from stress.
Here is her 6 part Transcendental Meditation process:
To learn TM:
1. Choose a mantra, which is a sound, syllable, word or phrase on which to focus; e.g., “God is love,” “I’m relaxed.”
2. Get comfortable in a quiet place eliminating distractions like kids and telephones. To successfully meditate you must focus. You can lie or sit down.
3. Close your eyes and relax each separate part of your body starting with your feet, working to the top of your head. This becomes easier with practice.
4. Deepen your relaxation by breathing deeper and slower. Consciously inhale slowly and deeply; exhale slowly. Exhale more deeply than you inhale. Count your breaths: inhale to the count of six; hold your breath for four counts; exhale to nine, and hold again for four counts; do over and over. Notice your mind and body relaxing more and more.
5. Focus on your mantra. Repeat it softly for one minute. Each time say it more and more softly. Once you’ve said it as softly as you can, repeat your mantra only in your mind. Don’t force yourself to concentrate on it but feel it relax you. You may become easily distracted at first. If so, deep breathe and refocus on your mantra. Your focus will improve dramatically with practice.
6. Focus on feeling your connection to life itself, while continuing to mentally repeat your mantra for about 20 minutes. When distracting thoughts come to your mind, or if you forget your mantra, calmly allow it to come back and return to focus back on your mantra.
Return your attention to your surroundings naturally after 20 minutes. Always stretch before you get up.
Read more from Ferguson on the practice of Transcendental Meditation here.