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⯇ February 2023
March 三月 2023
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The Art of Studying
Chapter: 9 Lesson: 0 - The importance of meditation in your studying routine
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Lesson added on: March 5, 2020 04:17pm
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It may first seem silly to hear the word meditation since most westerners probably have never considered doing so. After all, when the word meditation is uttered one might think of a monk humming “ohm” or a Yogi seeking nirvana, which is the opposite lifestyle of what most of us have. Meditation is not restricted to religious practice although in most religions there is some form of meditation that is practiced. Meditation is quickly becoming normalized in part thanks to the increasing popularity of Yoga which is a movement-based meditation for your body and mind.

The practice of meditation has a few positive outcomes, one expected outcome is that we learn more about ourselves and the world around us. This awareness building is essential in being able to understand and accept the things that surround us and influence our decisions on a day-to-day basis. Awareness also improves our ability to reason and to absorb more information as we study.

While building awareness is all fine and good, how else does it benefit us and is it against your religion? The act of meditation alone is merely clearing one’s mind and self-reflection. There is no magic, no sorcery and nothing that would make it against your religion. In fact, as stated prior, religions tend to encourage some form of meditation. Also, don’t worry about the possibility of entering the Astral Realm like Chris Farley did in the 90s hit comedy movie Beverly Hills Ninja. Although if you do achieve this, please let us know, we’d love to a hear such tale of comedy.

The additional benefits of meditation are that it makes it easier to absorb new information, make logical sense of things, improves patience and focus, and overall improve the mental cognitive properties of one’s brain. It is a life hack, a brain hack. In simpler terms, with a regular meditation regimen it can turbocharge your brain because it is the restful exercise your brain craves.

Sleep is kind of like meditation

Believe it or not, we all meditate at some part of the day. When we sleep, we let your brain recover from the stresses of the day and it heals itself (and the body), organizes thoughts, and improves practically everything based on experience. Sleep is the absolute essential when it comes to living longer, healthier, stronger, and in many ways, it will keep you saner and more capable of handling life’s daily challenges.

Meditation is kind of like this, except you are still conscious and focusing strictly on certain aspects of improvement such as focus, patience, awareness etc. Meditation also doesn’t move from one phase to another like sleep does, it is a constant state.

[imgc=Image taken by Ian Sane][/imgc]

How to start your first meditation practice

Meditation is not entirely easy, it can take a lifetime to master and in some belief systems, mastering meditation can take many lifetimes and mastering this practice is the ultimate goal in life. While we may not all be here to reach Nirvana, we do have teen spirit and want to improve ourselves the best we can like running a mile or doing sit-ups.

The very first thing you should learn is how to breathe. Yes, it sounds silly, but any singer or athlete will tell you that the proper breathing technique is critical in achieving your goals. We can all breathe but there are different breathing techniques for different applications in life. Likewise, this basic breathing technique is one of many different forms of breathing that may be used in mediation.

Your first exercise:

Sit down comfortably without sound or music. You will want to have one goal, and this goal is to have rhythm without thought. Breath in slowly with your nose and hold it for two seconds before slowly exhaling through your mouth. Hold your breath after exhaling for 2 seconds and repeat the process. The length of which you inhale, and exhale depends on how long you need to. For example, if my lung capacity is higher than yours, I could say, breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 2 then exhale etc. But for you, you could be uncomfortable and running out of breath, so find that rhythm so that you may relax. Repeat this while only focusing on your breathing, no thoughts are allowed.

Do the breathing exercise for as long as you like. An absolute beginner may only be able to do this at a few second intervals before thoughts enter their mind. It could be about worries of the day, things to do, things someone said, maybe the thought of needing to check the phone. Don’t fall into the temptation, just wrap those thoughts into a ball and toss it in a dumpster. Try to extend this time by a little bit each time you attempt but also don’t worry if you do have thoughts, just let them be. These thoughts come and go, it is a natural process one which should be accepted as part of life.

[imgc=Just be comfortable like this, maybe not on a rock but a pillow. Picture taken by Mizuka][/imgc] You should do this every day for at least 15 minutes. It is best to be hydrated prior but not too much to require going to the bathroom mid-way. You also don’t want to be hungry or have any kind of distractions. Meditation when you are tired will probably not work very well as you may fall asleep. Your seating position should be comfortable but never slouch or lay down.

The Possible Side Effects of Meditation

While there are many positive side effects of meditation, there are some side-effects which you should be aware of, so you don’t run to the hospital thinking you’ve gone mad. You may start seeing hallucinations while meditating such as colors, objects, ghostly figures, shadow people, demonic and godly images. This is because you are essentially in an awake-sleep trance and your ability to filter those out will come in time if you do ever experience these. For instance, you might see the image of an angel, but the angel is your imagination. Imagine being consciously aware (lucid) in your dreams, you would know how weird your dreams are because of your awareness. This is no different and again, if these things appear in your mind, that’s all it is, and they will go away with practice

Meditation will not summon angels or demons; it is what it is – a place where you explore your mind. Please note that if you have epilepsy or other brain related conditions, please consult your doctor since it may reduce epilepsy, or it may increase it. The jury is still out on that one.

Going beyond basic meditation

The basics of clearing your mind and a proper breathing exercise is all you really need for your studies. However, if you find yourself on a more spiritual path, there are different schools in all religion that may serve you well. The purpose today was to show how to mainly improve focus as we all seem to lack it in this day in age thanks to the convenience of “always there” technology and immediate gratifications from social media. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back so that we may leap forward.
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