Meditation Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is meditation?
A. Meditation is mindful attention that enables one to becoming more personally familiar with a chosen subject or more aware of the present. There are many reasons for meditating, and many styles and types of meditation. Since meditation is an activity of the mind, one gains insight into the nature of mind. With greater insight, one becomes more understanding, more at ease with the situations one is in, and more compassionate towards oneself and others.
Q. What are some of the reasons why people meditate?
A. Generally, many people are drawn to meditation because they want their lives to get a bit better. For some, this means reducing everyday stress and finding more serenity and contentment. For others, this means overcoming emotional disturbances that affect their relationships and finding more “space” within which to be patient and more skillfully relate to others. For some, this means exploring the nature of self in order to manifest inherent qualities of intelligence and compassion. For others, it is part of a spiritual journey to the Source of life itself.
Q. How does one begin to learn how to meditate?
A. There are numerous books and articles for beginners on “how to meditate.” Perhaps the best way to get started is by seeking out a qualified instructor for guidance or by joining a local meditation group. See the page on the OMC Free Lending Library.
Q. How often should one meditate?
A. It is best to commit oneself to meditate daily, once or twice, for at least 15-20 minutes. Think of meditation as a training of the mind analogous to diet and exercise as a training of the body. One or two days of good diet and exercise each month is not harmful at all, but to get real results, one needs to diet and exercise regularly. Real results come gradually. Similarly with meditation.
Q. Is meditation a religious practice?
A. Often no, sometimes yes — when one chooses to meditate on subjects of religious significance (e.g., scripture, icons, divinities) in accordance with teachings that reflect religious tradition.
Q. Why join a meditation group?
A. Group practice is meant to augment and strengthen one’s daily practice. Being with other meditators is a source of inspiration and serves as an opportunity to share with and learn from others. See info on our local group meditation times by clicking this link.