Meditation is a spiritual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. Think of it as a “Mental Hygiene” – cleansing the self from within. While the aim of meditation is different for each person, the majority of the outcomes are same such as positive mood and outlook, self-discipline, and healthy sleep patterns.
MEDITATION IN ISLAM
Meditation in Islam can be described as the transcendence of body, heart, and mind in worship and religious contemplation. It is vital for spiritual development and acceptance and benefit from prayers. Without meditation, the struggle against the self’s temptations from wrongs (also known as Jihad Akbar) cannot truly take place.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) was well-known for his meditation practice. People often related that he would go to the cave in Mount Hira for meditation, contemplation, and prayer.
During prayer, one is supposed to concentrate and meditate on God through recitation, Dhikr (remembering God), and supplication. This meditation during these acts opens and strengthens a connection between God and the human being which helps that person to be guided to Truth and maintain internal peace despite all of life’s distractions and challenges. The prayers provide a beginning to the remembrance of God and wakeful meditation and worship throughout the whole day, even while the person is engaged in necessary tasks. Even the sleep of a person who is sincere and well-practiced in Islamic meditation becomes an extension of that meditation.
BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
- Lower blood pressure (1)
- Decrease Pain (2)
- Control anxiety (3, 4)
- Lower blood cortisol levels
- Improve Sleep (5)
- Less stress (6)
- Deeper relaxation
- Improve concentration (7)
- Encourages healthy lifestyle
- Increase self-awareness (8)
- Slows aging (9)
SIMPLE MEDITATION FOR BEGINNERS
This meditation exercise is an excellent introduction to meditation techniques.
- Sit or lie comfortably. You may even want to invest in a meditation chair or cushion.
- You can keep your hands on your knees or facing palms up while arms are on your thighs or in prayer form.
- Close your eyes.
- Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
- Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.
If you like guided meditations, check out Calm for Android or Apple phones. There is also a Walking Meditation which is my favorite.