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Meditation Questions and Answers (Q&A)

I would not call any method the best, as each person finds different method suitable for them. Let me share what I practice and what works for me.

I follow the meditation technique taught by Paramahansa Yogananda. It's very simple and scientific. There is a connection between the breath and the state of mind. For example when you are agitated or angry, observe the way you breathe. It's short and quick, running at the same speed of your mind. Observe the breath when you are falling asleep. It's slowing down into soft and long breaths. We can use the same principle to our advantage - to use the breath to control our state of mind as well.

Here is the technique

Posture: Sit with your spine straight in a comfortable position. You can either sit in a chair or on the floor which ever is comfortable. Two things, however, are essential: your spine must be straight, and you must be able to relax completely without slouching.

Your eyes should be closed and held steady, looking slightly upwards, as if looking at a point about an arm’s length away and level with the top of your head. It is essential to keep your gaze gently raised to that point throughout your practice. This will magnetize your spiritual eye, and draw the energy to the highest spinal center, the seat of spiritual awakening in the body.

Even Count breathing: While you inhale, inhale deeply and count till 6 or 8 or 10, which ever is comfortable for you. Now hold your breath for the same count. Finally exhale your slowly for the same count. Keep repeating this for as long as you want. This is called even count breathing. This helps to slow down the breathing and regulate the length of the breath.

Hong-Sau Technique of Concentration: Now wait for the next breath to come in of its own accord. When it does, mentally say Hong(rhymes with song). This time, don’t hold the breath, but exhale naturally. As you do, mentally say Sau (rhymes with saw).

Hong-Sau is an ancient Sanskrit mantra. It means “I am He” or “I am Spirit.” Try to feel that your breath itself is silently making the sounds of Hong and Sau. Make no attempt to control your breath. Simply observe it as it flows in and out naturally.

In the beginning you may be mostly aware of the physical manifestation of the breathing process as your diaphragm and chest expand and contract.

As your breath grows calmer, however, try to become aware of its flow in the nostrils, then gradually transfer your awareness higher and higher in the nasal passages.

Keep your gaze steady at the point between the eyebrows throughout your practice. Don’t allow your eyes to follow the movement of the breath. If you find that your mind has wandered, gently bring it back to an awareness of the breath and the mantra.

Sit in the Stillness: Finish your practice of Hong-Sau by inhaling once through the nose, then exhaling three times through the mouth, and then forget the breath.

Concentrate deeply at the point between the eyebrows. Keep your mind focused and your energy internalized. Absorb yourself in the peace generated by your practice. Continue for at least five minutes.

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People always hear about how exercise helps the body, but it also helps the mind. People who suffer from mental illness also can have a form of depression with their illness. Exercise is known for releasing endorphins which makes people happy. This would also be the same for those who suffer from mental illness with depression. Meditation and exercise do help the symptoms and feelings with mental illness.

However, it probably does not reduce the amount of mental illness that the person has. First, mental illness is not measured in amounts. The person is either mentally ill or not. There is no spectrum with mental illness. Therefore, nothing can help reduce or eliminate the mental illness, only certain things can help how those people feel.

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People often compare meditation to a gym exercise. You do it in a particular way. Yes, it's true that the lotus position during meditation has the most benefits, but it's not the only way to meditate.

The answer depends on why you meditate. If it's for general well being and freshening up the body every morning that you wake up, then the lotus position is perfect. Some people meditate to increase focus and concentration and that aspect of meditation is more important to them than its effect on the body. There are people who meditate reclining, standing, or even walking. Art itself is a form of meditation. Painting is considered as the best alternative to lotus meditation and is even used as a solution for depression in adults who prefer not to meditate the traditional way.

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The best time of day to meditate is really any time of day that you want to clear your mind. For some people, this is first thing in the morning, as soon as they wake up. This prepares them for their day and leaves them feeling energized.

Others like to meditate in the middle of the day, even while they are at work at their desk. This gives them a break during the day and re-energizes them. Others like to meditate at the end of the day as a way to cleanse all their thoughts and activities of the day.

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Observing your thoughts while meditating refers to the idea of trying to remove yourself from your thoughts and see them from an external perspective. In this way, you may be able to let some of your thoughts go, especially if they are small details that will not have a large impact on your life in the long run.

If you are worried about what the grocery store clerk thought about your messy hair for example, by observing your thoughts you may be able to realize that this type of worry is not something that will impact your life in a meaningful way.

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I would not equate the use of DMT, or any other drug, to meditation. Meditation is an internal process to explore self awareness and to create a sense of peace in life. DMT and other drugs might elevate your senses for a short time but they do nothing to create a lasting self awareness of sense of peace in your life.

In fact, the use of drugs can cause more chaos in your life if you become dependent on them. Successful meditation takes practice to see the real benefits, but the benefits will be much more impactful and long lasting compared to the effects of forcing self awareness through an external force.

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If you need to sneeze or scratch an itch during meditation, you should go ahead and take care of it. It may be more of a distraction if you are actively trying to ignore it. You may find that, over time, you are more able to ignore something like a sneeze or an itch without even trying.

Similarly, if you try to ignore an urge to use the bathroom you may find it really difficult to meditate. In this case you should stop meditating, take care of your business, and try to pick up where you left off, or start over if necessary.

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If you start developing sexual feelings during meditation, try your best to ignore them but not fight them. If it becomes too distracting you may need to stop and try again later. Like any other distraction, the challenge of meditation is trying to let the feelings pass over you.

Instead of dwelling on your sexual feelings during meditation, try to acknowledge them, and then go right back into the process of meditation. It is ok if you need to stop and try again later. You may find that the more you practice meditation the easier it will be to ignore these feelings.

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Mindfulness is the concept of being present in daily interactions. It is important to be mindful if you want to live in the moment rather than focus on the future or dwell on the past. Mindfulness can be helpful to people who suffer from anxiety or depression because it allows them to have more control over their thoughts and feelings.

Mindfulness can also improve interactions between yourself and other people, either at work or at home. Some people are naturally more "mindful" than others, while some people need to practice and actively try to focus on being mindful throughout the day.

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The term guru is confined for the well-respected teachers who teach yoga. The title of a guru cannot be acquired by everyone and requires many years (often decades) of devotion and mastery of a skill. One of the most legendary gurus that are still alive today, is Sri Sri Ravi Shanker who was born in 1956 and is still present in his service towards the mankind.

There are various DVDs and online courses led by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar that you can buy off the internet. These courses tend to be very comprehensive and are targeted towards all levels of yogis.

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