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7 Fundamentals of Meditation: Customize a Path to Inner Peace

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Meditation has become increasingly popular as a powerful tool for finding inner peace and clarity in our fast-paced world. Ancient and modern mindfulness practices alike, offer a sanctuary amidst the chaos, allowing us to cultivate a sense of calm and tap into our inner wisdom. Let’s briefly explore seven fundamentals of meditation and how its varieties can help us achieve profound levels of tranquility and clarity in our unique lives.

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Finding a quiet and comfortable space where we can practice meditation without distractions is ideal, but not always practical. If and when we’re able, our meditation space could be a corner in our home, a peaceful park, or even a dedicated meditation room. If this is achievable, ensuring the space is clean, inviting, and free from external disturbances can even become a part of our mindfulness practice.

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However, it’s common for this type of setting to be out of reach at least some, if not most of the time. This doesn’t negate the benefits of meditation though. Using various types of awareness and intention, we can still generate the calm and peaceful space we seek within us.

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When choosing to become meditative, we adopt a posture that promotes both alertness and relaxation. It is most encouraged to sit with our spine straight, shoulders relaxed and hands resting comfortably on our legs. We can also choose to sit on a cushion or a chair that supports our back if desired or necessary. Alternatively, we can practice meditation while lying down. We might find this horizontal positioning is ideal for some visualization meditations such as shamanic journeying.

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However, meditation is not synonymous with stillness. Celestial Communication consists of channeled movements, including mudras, that accompany mantras or chanting. Walking meditation harnesses the use of mindfulness to achieve tranquility in motion. Even ecstatic dance helps to enhance brain functions that translate into more bliss. With intention and awareness, we can adopt meditative postures of serine stillness or embrace fluidity of movement to achieve our goals. Experimenting with different types of meditation can help us find the tools that most optimally serve our personal mastery.

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Regardless of the space we carve out or the postures we select, attention to our breath remains an anchor into the meditative processes. Observing the natural rhythm of our inhalations and exhalations brings us into the present and our awareness quickly, no matter how heavy, shallow or varied it may be. By adopting a perspective of curiosity and observation, watching, attuning and even directing the breath can all play a part in fine-tuning our meditation experiences.

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If we are attempting Zen meditation for example, we allow our breath to guide us within, gently tuning our attention back to neutrality whenever our mind wanders. With ecstatic dance or walking meditation however, noticing our breath’s natural fluctuations with non-judgement and gratitude can help us to avoid overthinking the flow of our physicality. We can even explore the precise applications of breath-work, utilizing various intentional breathing patterns to stimulate various functions of both our physical and non-physical being. What’s right for us will probably change with time, situation or desire.

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Mindfulness is meditation. It involves being fully present in the moment, without judgment or attachment. Though monks, gurus and neuroscientists alike all espouge the benefits of achieving “no-mind,” this is not obtained through magickally achieving an unconscious, thoughtless state. Noticing any thoughts, emotions, or sensations that arise during a meditation is completely acceptable and perfectly natural, the practice comes in when we simply let them pass without getting caught up in them.

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When we find ourselves becoming distracted, stimulated or triggered by thoughts, we have the opportunity to recommit to our intentions. In this way, meditation provides the space in which we can reset our minds, becoming more responsible rather than reactive. In certain disciplines, such as Kundalini Yoga, uncomfortable states of being are created within the body, mind and even emotions in order to then practice moving through those challenges gracefully. No matter the conditions, tuning our focus to the breath will always guide our awareness through to the present.

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If we’re new to meditation, guided meditations can be immensely helpful. There are many recordings and apps that provide step-by-step instructions, helping us stay focused and relaxed. They often include soothing music or gentle prompts to enhance our experience.

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Regular practice is the quickest route for us to experience the full benefits of meditation. We can begin right away, gently cultivating more mindfulness by connecting to our breath for a few moments, throughout our day. Our practice can continue to progress with dedicated sessions, only around 5-10 minutes at first, and then we can gradually increase the duration as we feel more comfortable.

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If we like, we can focus on just one practice style, or we may find our optimal program is a mix of several modalities. Aiming for progress rather than an ideal will help us overcome common pitfalls like procrastination, perfection paralysis or burnout. Long periods of Zen meditation are wonderful, but aren’t necessarily what’s right for us if we can only do them infrequently. By finding whatever helps us cultivate peace and clarity now, we can build upon that and refining it as we develop with our practice long term.

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Remember, meditation is a practice; it takes time to find what works for us, develop the habits and deepen our abilities. This is why it allows us to cultivate patience and learn how to reframe criticism. The journey is what builds strength, resilience and grace, not the ideal.

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We can embrace each intentional moment of awareness as an opportunity to connect with our inner clarity and cultivate a greater sense of peace, no matter how brief. If chaos abounds, we can choose to be the calm in the storm, even if for just a moment. When we are feeling stressed, we can give ourselves a break and re-attune to the miracle of existence instead for a while. Ultimately, meditation is a tool to serve us and increase our enjoyment, despite life’s natural unpredictability and commotion.

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By understanding and incorporating these seven fundamentals of meditation into our lives, we can unlock its transformative power without needing to adhere to a strict or generic ideal. Through practicing holding space for our peacefulness, witnessing progress in our intentions, continually focusing on the breath and cultivating mindfulness, we can experience the profound benefits of this ancient practice more and more each day. We’re in this together, so let’s continue finding ways to enjoy the journey!

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