Meditation - Q & A with Brad Austen
by Brad Austen
An Interview About Meditation and Success — Questions by Kristina Gailiute and Answered by Brad Austen
*I have read that despite its popularity, today very few people truly know what meditation is. Is it true and, in your opinion, why?
There are many forms and types of meditation, which can lead to some confusion. We are all unique and diverse beings, so we may resonate with one form of meditation over another. The best advice I can give is to try some different forms of meditation and see which one resonates with you. There is a wealth of information on the Internet about meditation and the different types. Some of these include mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation, kundalini meditation, guided visualization and many others.
*What is meditation (in simple words please)? Maybe you know who and when started using this method?
The word meditation is derived from the Latin meditatio, from a verb meditari, meaning "to think, contemplate, devise or ponder".
Meditation can be described as deep peace that occurs when the mind is calm and silent, yet completely alert. It is not an act of doing, but a state of 'being' and awareness. Meditation can help to connect you with God or divinity, depending on your beliefs, and in this context can be a form of prayer. Meditation has been developed in eastern cultures over a long period of time and has a documented history of several thousand years. It also has roots in some religions, where some forms of meditation have been adapted to suit a religious practice.
*What is the aim of it?
The aim of meditation has many applications, such as to focus one's mind or attention on something, to reach a certain goal such as relaxation, healing, or insight (enlightenment).
*It is said that meditation is a daily habit of successful people. Is it true? Maybe you even know some examples (I mean famous people who are meditating every day)?
Meditation can certainly help you in many areas of your life. Many successful people do meditate regularly, as it can really help with obtaining a healthy work-life balance. Some celebrities that practice meditation are Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman, Paul McCartney and Angelina Jolie to name a few.
*How can this habit help to achieve success? I mean, how does it work, after all? Meditation, as I understand, is intangible. So how can this immaterial, spiritual thing lead to a result that is material?
This is a good thought-provoking question. Everything in our world is made up of energy. Some people may call it a good or bad energy; such and such a person is happy all the time, and such and such a person is grumpy all the time, as an example. Everything begins with our thoughts, which become our words and actions. Meditation focuses on our thoughts and heart space and can also help to purify our emotions. In some healing meditations it is not uncommon for the meditation practice to surface emotions that perhaps we have suppressed or ignored. By practicing meditation regularly it can give you the peace of mind and clarity to live the life you wish and desire.
*This means that meditation helps to achieve success through stillness. But how about those people who are like a flame, I mean very energetic, choleric persons. How can they destroy their way to success?
Stilling one's mind can really help one obtain clarity. We all have an intuitive nature and meditation can help to strengthen one's intuition. If our mind is always busy and overactive it can be a lot harder to hear that inner voice. Having said that, everyone can learn to have a still and calm disposition, it just takes some practice. I often recommend guided meditation to people that have a busy or overactive mind. This is because guided meditation keeps you thinking, as the instructor guides you along the meditative journey.
*As I understand you are a meditation teacher. Maybe you could share some tips or even a short lesson on how to meditate?
I am a meditation teacher and I specialize in guided meditation or guided imagery, as it's sometimes called. I have always had a vivid imagination and have enjoyed creating guided meditation audio recordings to share with an audience. The following are some general tips to get the most out of your meditation practice: It is recommend to sit in a comfortable chair while meditating or to lie down. However, sometimes if you are fatigued and lying down you can easily drift off to asleep. You don't have to sit in a lotus position while meditating, just be in a position that will be comfortable. It is recommended to wear loose fitting clothes and cover yourself with a blanket, if necessary; during meditation our body temperature drops due to everything slowing down, so having a blanket nearby can be a good idea.
*How much time should we dedicate to meditation each day (if you haven't answered it in previous questions)? I have read that is good to meditate twice a day.
It can be a good idea to practice meditation twice a day; when you first rise and before bed is usually recommended. However, sometimes meditation can stimulate one's mind, so if this happens it is best not to meditate at night. When first starting to practice meditation you may like to meditate just once a day for a duration of 10-15 minutes. You can then build up the time you spend in meditation gradually. Meditation should be about fun and flexibility as well, rather than solely a regimented practice.
*Is music necessary for meditation or should we meditate in silence?
Music is sometimes utilized in meditation to assist with the relaxation process, such as in a guided meditation audio recording. The music creates a bed to drift off and follow the meditation instructor's voice. However with more traditional forms of meditation music isn't utilized, as the goal is to obtain silence and awareness of that silence. If you prefer to listen to music or not during your meditation practice there are no hard and fast rules, the choice is yours.
*I have read that meditation could make you healthier. Is it true and why? Well, success isn't possible without good health after all… What are the health benefits of meditation?
Science is proving more and more the health benefits of meditation. In a nutshell, practicing meditation regularly helps you to relax and unwind. When you are in a relaxed state it has many restorative benefits for our bodies. Some of these benefits include: increased immunity, emotional balance, increased fertility, lowered blood pressure, better memory and a more youthful appearance. The human body is designed to regenerate over time and meditation provides the right conditions to accelerate this process.
Most of us live in a busy world, with many external pressures and challenges. By practicing meditation you can learn to unwind before the pressure becomes overwhelming.
*Some people are skeptical about meditation and its benefits. What would you say to such skeptics?
There are always skeptics in life — the key is to have an open mind. I would say to them to set aside some time each day to simply 'be' and focus on the breath. If your mind is very active, you may like to try a guided meditation that guides you on a journey with guided imagery. The benefits of meditation are cumulative, building up over time with regular practice. The most challenging part can be finding the time to include it in your daily routine, but the benefits are worthwhile.
Brad Austen is an insightful and creative meditation teacher and a valued member of The Guided Meditation Site. Please follow this link to explore Brad Austen's guided meditations.