Let’s define meditation. While guided imagery allows thoughts and feelings to occur while directing and focusing the mind in certain areas, meditation seeks to bring about a state of awareness without thinking. This is not be to confused with attempting the impossible task of clearing and emptying the mind completely, rather, it is about becoming conscious and aware of our thoughts, feelings, physical distractions, and the other senses. This awareness helps us cultivate acceptance, compassion and wisdom. This is the wisdom of self understanding so an appropriate response is revealed. The goal of meditation includes remembering and experiencing the connection between oneself and the divine.
While there are hundreds of meditation techniques, the basic elements include sitting in an upright manner with a straight, but not stiff, spine. Taking time to bring the breath into balance and focus, and using a concentration technique are often incorporated. Concentration calms and clears the mind of distraction making room for the meditative state.
Here are a few fundamental meditation methods. A mantra, which is a word, sound or phrase can be silently repeated over and again; focusing attention on the sensation of the breath can be used; being mindful of the present moment is another practice; and gazing upon an object, such as a candle flame, nature scenes, or holy picture is another approach.