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Meditation is a much used and abused term today.

We have all kinds of Gurus proclaiming that their meditation technique called XYZ meditation is the right one or a better one than ABC meditation.

But what is meditation exactly?

To put it simply, meditation means "awareness". To put it in other words, it means to be in the present.

Now what does this mean?

Actually, though we may feel that we are in the present, the sad truth is that we are NOT. To be in the present means to be aware of each and every happening "in and around" you WITHOUT an attempt to change anything. If after a yoga session, one feels fatigued then there is something wrong in the practice or you were not doing yoga at all, but some other kind of aerobic or physical exercise. Yoga helps to remove rigidity and stiffness from the body. If after a practice, you feel lazy, then you are doing exercises which seem similar to yoga, but not yoga postures. Fitness of body is just a side effect when one moves on the Path of yoga.

Whether it is the movement of the car outside or the chatter of the mind within, OR even the inability to do so - all of this is meditation.

Yes, even the observation that you are unable to do so AND without the attempt to change that, itself is meditation.

This is contradictory to what many schools teach, which is to be focused on a point or a mantra or a process.

So, is what they teach useless? Not quite, so long as you recognize that it is an intermediate step to calm the mind of its deluge of thoughts. These are merely steps to slow down the thoughts so that you can then be aware of them.

Picture this... The beauty of a galloping horse is seen when you can slow down the horse and see the beauty of the rhythmic motion of the muscles. Similarly, the understanding of the mind takes place when you slow down the thoughts. Without this slowing down of thoughts there is no understanding.

A popular Myth propounded by Meditation experts is to reach a state of thoughtlessness or no thought. This is simply not true. Thought would stop only when you are dead or perhaps hypnotized. And in that state there is no understanding - only a stupor or daze.

True meditation comes from the fullest understanding of the mind and only in that understanding lies true freedom - the freedom which is "sought" by people "practicing" meditation.

The very act of "seeking" which is the basis of all meditation techniques or meditation practices prevents the freedom from the mind.

So, meditation techniques may be practiced knowing fully that these are intermediate steps to a deeper understanding and not an end in themselves.

Popular techniques to calm the mind include Mantra Japa Meditation, Trataka (gazing at a flame) and Dharana (or witnessing everything around and within). Thousands of meditation techniques have been born out of these basic elements.

Read many more of the interesting aspects of meditation by going here.

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