What is meditation and how to meditate

Practitioners of the ancient forms of meditation believe that their disciplines can lead to higher states of consciousness and, eventually, to spiritual enlightenment.

In a more practical vein, recent medical studies have indicated that daily meditation can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and promote a feeling of well-being. The mind is released from the flood of outside stimuli, as well as from the continuous flow of its own thoughts, to achieve a condition unlike either sleep or ordinary wakefulness.

Although some practitioners insist that meditation requires rigorous training, others-including many medical experts-claim that the technique can be learned by anyone. Basic meditation technique Choose a quiet place free of distraction. Sit in a comfortable, upright position. Close your eyes and relax your entire body, from your feet to the top of your head. Envision a quiet scenea blue sky or a green meadow-or concentrate on a word or phrase of your own choosing, repeating it to yourself over and over.

If distracting thoughts, feelings, and sensations intrude, simply concentrate on your chosen word or image. This may be difficult at times of stress, but as you quietly reject distractions, the unwanted thoughts will begin to fade. After 15 or 20 minutes, open your eyes and sit quietly for a minute or so before returning to your daily tasks.