Often thought of as an Eastern tradition or custom, meditation is gaining prominence as an enriching practice in the Western world. While meditation for many is a spiritual exercise with a specific form and structure, there is no specific manner in which it must be performed in order to achieve results.
Walking in nature, having some quiet time alone or being at worship can all bring about a meditative state resulting in insights as much as participating in more formal practices. In fact, anything you do that has the effect of centering yourself and tuning into the energies available is the act of meditation.
Basic meditation is the state of quieting the mind to bring about stillness. When this occurs, intuitive information may become available, energies are heightened, and calmness is achieved. This is not something that you can actively do, but is something that you allow to manifest.
The focus of meditation can be on the physical, emotional, mental or spiritual level. Focusing on the physical during meditation can help to improve circulation, lower blood pressure, enhance the immune system and give you more control over your body, especially in the areas of pain management and healing. It is an especially valuable tool for anyone who is dealing with a long term, chronic health challenge
Concentration on the emotions can bring about peacefulness, greater understanding of relationships, and help in building a stronger foundation for motivation. Focusing on the mental state helps to bring clarity, creativity and development of conceptual abilities to the mind. On a spiritual level, meditation helps connect us with the Divine Source, brings us in closer contact with our higher self, and opens up new avenues of development.
Meditation can be practiced alone or with others. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. When meditating alone, you have plenty of time and can go as deeply as you wish into a particular meditation. You are free to engage in the practice at a time that is convenient for you and can create your own private space or sanctuary. When engaging in solitary meditation you have no one but yourself to share experiences with and learn from.
Meditation within a group setting can result in stronger mediations and more clarity due to the energy level brought about by the group. It offers a format for sharing experiences so the members can gain insights from each other. The best arrangement would be to use both formats to continue to develop new possibilities and foster growth and development. So if you have not done so already, why not take a break to meditate?