What is Meditation, Really?

Meditation has an almost infinite number of benefits for us humans. But what is meditation, really? And how does practicing it achieve all of these supposedly amazing things?

If you’ve ever struggled with meditation, or never tried it at all, it’s probably pretty easy to discount it (it was for me). But this might make you take another look at it, so you can finally attain some of those advantages for yourself.

In general, what we call ‘meditation’ can be broken down into three basic categories.

  1. The technique, or ‘human technology’ of your practice.
  2. The meditative state itself.
  3. The opened conscious awareness as a result of cultivating the meditative state over time.

Technique

There are many, many meditative techniques to choose from. Most of them have been developed and perfected over many thousands of years by yogis, masters, and other spiritual seekers. These techniques are the tools that allow us to meditate, they are not meditation in and of themselves.

All the technologies involve body relaxation and mental discipline. Because if you’re not in charge of your mind, your mind will have complete control of you ~ a common state of being for non~meditators.

You might like to meditate by reciting a silent mantra. You could focus on a candle flame, or Buddha statue. You could focus on the spacial relationship of your body and the universe, or simply observe the thoughts and breathe them along. There are many techniques, but each technique is just a method by which we can reach the meditative state itself.

The Meditative State

Depending on many individual factors, it might take a beginner meditator anywhere from a year, to 20 years to perfect their meditation technique. Perfecting that technique will allow them to enter into this second phase, the actual meditative state. (Don’t be discouraged if you think you are in the “20-year camp.” There are some things you can do to accelerate the process).

The meditative state is scientifically defined by the brainwaves that the meditator is generating.

The human brain is generating brainwaves every moment of every day of our lives. Brainwaves are the electrical impulses that are picked up and measured by sensors placed on the scalp and are divided up into ranges that define physiological human states of mind and body. Here is a brief breakdown:

  1. Beta ~ 12-30 Hz (cycles per second). Regular waking consciousness takes place for the most part in the beta range. When the brain is generating these brainwave frequencies, it is externally focused and alert, utilizing critical thinking. When we get fearful or stressed, we generate even higher frequency beta waves and the body goes into fight-or-flight mode, and releases large amounts of stress hormones.

It wasn’t always like this. Human beings didn’t conduct their daily lives amped up on the brain chemicals of high-beta, of fight or flight response at all times like we do today. Rather, we could slip into that mode when it was appropriate, to flee a bear or to attack that evenings dinner… But to exist in that state all the time has some highly adverse effects on the human nervous system, not to mention emotional and mental state.

Unfortunately, today humanity is in a constant and habituated high~beta state. Stressed out and highly strung. Every panic at work results in the same rush of stress chemicals we’d experience if we were being chased by a tiger. Difference being, we don’t get to run off and utilize those chemicals any more. We sit at the office stewing while the chemicals build up, accumulating and doing damage to our bodies.

Next is low beta. Same states of thinking, but slightly less stress chemicals. What’s the alternative? You’ve probably already guessed that meditation relaxes you and gets you out of high beta. So what happens in meditation?

  1. Alpha ~ This brainwave range is between 8-12 Hz. The first stages of actual meditation. When this is dominant, you will experience a comfortable state of relaxation, a lessening of critical thought, and an increase of creative imagination. To go fully into it, you will lose awareness of the passage of time and space to a degree, and experience your own rich inner world. You activate the healing process, access higher states of spiritual connectedness, and feel more compassion for your fellow humans.
  1. Theta ~ 4-7 Hz. The only chance most modern people get to experience this state is in passing; on their way to sleep, or in REM sleep. It’s the twilight state between consciousness and sleep. But when you experience this state consciously, magic happens. It is the creative ‘holy grail,’ a state so fertile and creative that you can channel the wisdom of the universe through it. It is the state in which all humanity’s inventors, artists and genius’s get all their original ideas, and all saints commune with god. Pretty powerful stuff.
  1. Delta ~ 0.1-4 Hz. Ordinarily experienced as deep, dreamless sleep. We release healing and restorative hormones and other chemicals during this state. Only very advanced masters can go into this state and remain conscious. Delta is the seat of the autonomic system, and in the deepest of meditation, the universal mind.

Conscious Awareness

After you have mastered a technique, that allows you to enter a meditative state, then you will begin to expand your conscious awareness.

You will also start to bring with you some of those qualities from Alpha (from your meditation) into your waking life. You’ll experience the world with less stress and more health and vitality. Imagine being in charge of your own mind and emotional states, being able to create the exact life you want, and live it with passion!

That’s what I want for my subscribers and my clients.

All of the ancient traditions have a variation on the following basic premise: We all live in a world of illusion. This illusion, (Sanskrit: maya) is created by our own minds. When we start to expand our conscious awareness through the meditative state, we ‘clean the dust off the mirror of our perception’ and get closer to experiencing reality directly. We have built our own maya unconsciously. Only through conscious expansion can we destroy it. And that is the aim: destruction of the false. 

When there are no unconscious fears holding us back, when there are no limiting beliefs, when there are no barriers to block us from life, we are free. Free in the moment to respond consciously, rather than to react negatively, unconsciously and automatically.

We gain choice! We are free to decide, and to act truly spontaneously.

Now, I do not claim to be at that stage of my development! That is called enlightenment. And no matter how much we try, no matter how much we desire, we cannot attain enlightenment. We can only prepare for it. And prepare we must, because it elevates our lives from conditioning, from control and from bondage. Preparation through meditation or yoga strengthens your mind, your body, and your soul. And maybe one day we will be blessed by grace.

But in the meantime, I for one am enjoying the process and the journey. Of experiencing my life improve, and the lives of those around me improve, because of my practice, my increasing awareness. And day by day, the freer I am to express my Self, to experience my connection with the universe, and to create the reality I desire for myself. What would you do with this power?

What is Meditation? Recap

So, we’ve learned that meditation is really the brain state that you experience after you have perfected a technique. And all of those wonderful benefits of conscious awareness are only gained after we spend time in that state. But what if you are one of the many people who can’t devote 20 years to perfecting a technique?

A lot of people have a genetic predisposition to fast thinking, beta brainwave production. Others are so habituated into the state, that it’s literally impossible to get into the meditative state by using a traditional meditation technique.

I was certainly one of those people. Here’s how I skipped over technique, and got straight into the state.

How to Shave 20 Years from Your Journey (or How to Jump into the Meditative State Now)

After around 6 or 8 months of learning to meditate (learning a traditional technique), I had my first experience of bliss. You might have read on my blog that that experience only lasted less than a second, but it was proof that it was working, and that eventually I could cure my depression. But at that rate, it really would have taken me 20 years of suffering.

I began to delve into neuroscience research, and spiritual teachings. And what I found really got me excited. It turns out that it is possible to stimulate the brain through a non-invasive technology to encourage it to produce any desired brainwave state.

Set the stimulation for 10 cycles per second, and you get an alpha meditation. Slowly drop it down to 8, 6, 3, and you can go even deeper than even an experienced meditator. All without a technique. You replace the ‘human technology’ with an audio technology. This was perfect for me. The technology was meditating me.

The technology works very much like a tribal dance. Drumming, chanting, and dancing all at a particular frequency encourages the brain to ‘beat’ in that same rhythm. Those trance-like states occur around 10 beats per second, resulting in an alpha brain state in the participant.

So, I experimented with some of the commercially available products, and spent quite a few thousand dollars trying each one and evaluating the results. One stood out as the best, but it still had its limitations and downsides.

But I couldn’t help thinking that I could overcome some of the limitations of the other products. So I began to develop my own. During this time I quickly recovered from my depression, and my life started to make sense again. I began to create my life as I wanted it to be. I installed my own EEG monitoring equipment and set it up to test every aspect of my own meditation product. Crazy? Yes! But, effective 🙂

Fast forward four years, and many thousands of dollars of development, and my own unique meditation product is ready for release. I’ve enhanced all the positive elements, and ironed out the limitations. I’m living proof of its effectiveness, and I’d love you to gain all the benefits that I have.

To find out more, and even try it for free, click here.

If you’re really serious about your growth, and want to accelerate your personal development, then this is for you. It’s the whole foundation of what I’m trying to do with this website: accelerated development, the very thing that’s allowed me to grow much faster from a very, very low starting point. From incessant and compulsive monkey mind~chatter, to a deep sense of peace and calm. From anxiety and fear, to passion and love.

If you’ve had trouble meditating, or just want to accelerate and deepen your current practice, you can start enjoying the emotional, physical and spiritual benefits of the deep meditative state instantly the very first time you use my Accelerated Meditation.

So, try it free now. And let me know what you think.

Update: For a detailed new video, see this about The Three Phases of Meditation.

Advanced Meditation Technology for Beginners

Try the Accelerated Meditation Here & Now

Jim Hudson

Meditator and image-maker. Silencer of monkey-minds. From illness and depression, Jim has clambered his way through to health and fulfillment using diet & meditation. Read about his experiences, and watch his videos right here on the site.

Show 11 Comments
  • Rebecca Bellini July 16, 2012, 4:18 am

    Meditation is often an effective solution to control stress and depression. Actually, stress is a normal reaction of the body and mind to some things that are not correspond with our desires.

    • Jim July 23, 2012, 4:18 pm

      That’s a great point Rebecca. When someone focuses on what they don’t want (something that’s incongruent with their preferences), the brain sends out hormones to make that person feel bad, one of which can be cortisol (which in excess = stress).

      Meditate to focus the attention on to what you want, and be rewarded with life-enhancing brain chemicals.

  • Shilpan May 24, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Awesome article Jim. Your knowledge and depth of understanding of meditation, yoga and Sanskrit are far superior than mine. And I was born in India. I’ve learned meditation, yoga and Sanskrit at the early age.

    As you’ve mentioned, it’s extremely difficult to reach enlightenment state, but we can — by practice — learn to control our minds and thoughts to live a happy life.

    • Jim May 24, 2012, 3:24 pm

      Thank you so much Shilpan. Yes, I’m afraid I must be a terrible bore to my Indian friends, always quizzing them on this and that.

      My opinion is that your spiritual education and how you see the world is a gift, and very different to how us Western educated people view it. The way many Eastern religions describe reality is only now being ‘discovered’ by quantum science. The ancients gained their knowledge from their subjective experience of seeing the universe as one system, and modern science is coming full-circle from the objective, breakdown of everything into component parts, to the same conclusion. Fascinating stuff!

      • Shilpan May 24, 2012, 3:32 pm

        Absolutely. Vedas contain amazing wealth of spiritual knowledge. Modern mathematics has its roots in the Sutras. Ancient yogis indeed gained their knowledge by observing, and by their innate ability to connect with the universe.

  • Rob May 24, 2012, 7:39 am

    Jim, I have read the article twice and watched the video twice yet I can’t find the purchase button. Maybe it doesn’t load on my iPhone. Can you email me a link?

    • Jim May 24, 2012, 8:07 am

      Hi Rob,

      Sorry about that. It’s supposed to come up automatically, but looks like that feature doesn’t work on the iPhone. Not to worry.

      Give me 10 minutes, and I’ll put up another link for you.

      UPDATE: If you scroll to the end of the page, it now has the button visible from the start. If it doesn’t show, refresh your browser and it should work a treat.

      Thanks!

  • Steve @ Online Marketing Unlocked May 24, 2012, 1:01 am

    Jim,

    That’s a fantastc idea; combining modern technology with age old methods, to do in a shrot amount of time what used to take many years.

    Many studies have been done of adverse stress effects on people. Something like this needs to be built in to our homes, electroncis entertianment devices, and cell phones. Not to induce a meditative state exactly, but to slow our brainwaves down and reduce stress.

    I don’t even know if that would be possible, but it migh be worth the effort. The world would certainly be a better place. Not to mention that it would make you a fortune in licensing fees.

    • Jim May 24, 2012, 8:18 am

      Hey thanks Steve,

      Yes, there is so much stress in the world, and a little more peace would be well received. But I think it’s up to us as individuals to make a change in ourselves and spread that change through our actions in the world.

      My mission in life is to show as many people how to achieve that peace, bliss, joy, love, and success for themselves. It started for me with meditation, and continues at an ever increasing rate. And for that I’m grateful 🙂

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