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Although meditation initially sprang up from Eastern religious or spiritual traditions, meditation techniques are described throughout history and have been used in many different cultures throughout the world for thousands of years. Today many people use meditation and its off shoot, guided imagery, for health and wellness purposes. Guided imagery is a directive form of meditation; whereas, classical meditation is done with focus on a specific breath technique, tone, concept, or mantra without any other guidance or suggestion from others.
During meditation, a person learns to focus their attention and suspend the stream of thoughts that normally occupy and distract the mind (also known as brain chatter). This practice, which may also be combined with breathing techniques, is believed to result in a state of greater physical relaxation, decreased muscle tension, mental calmness, and psychological balance. Practicing meditation can change how a person relates and responds to the flow of emotions and thoughts in the mind.
Most types of meditation involve four components: 1) a quiet location with as few distractions as possible (with practice you may not require your surroundings to be quiet at all; however, this is helpful for beginners); 2) a comfortable posture (whether sitting, lying down, standing or walking); 3) a specific focus of attention; and 4) an open mind (letting distractions come and go without judgment or analysis and gently returning the attention to the meditation).
Marion Ross, PhD (& Tracy Latz, MD) – The Shift Doctors