Is meditation a spiritual practice or experience?
Not necessarily, but it can be – the choice is really up to the practitioner and how they define “spiritual.” Many people who have no belief or interest in a spiritual life practice mindfulness meditation, and with great benefit. At the same time, meditation can be essential to the enhancement of one’s spiritual life, especially some of the more mystical approaches. At Healing House in Scottsdale, we will always respect one’s wishes and beliefs regarding spirituality and religion, and our policy is to not breach the subject of spirituality or religion unless requested.
Will meditation interfere with my religious beliefs?
We cannot speak to an individual’s beliefs or to any particular institution’s teachings, but it is certainly not our belief that meditation will interfere with one’s religious beliefs or practice. As was stated previously, we will always respect one’s wishes and beliefs regarding spirituality and religion, and our policy is to not breach the subject of spirituality or religion unless requested.
What does "mindfulness" mean?
“Mindfulness” refers to a state of mind in which one remains in a place of awareness, observing one’s own thoughts, feelings, breath, and presence in the world. By remaining in a place of mindfulness, we can activate.
How often do I need to meditate and for how long?
Meditation is a bit like physical exercise, in that there are many ways to benefit from even a little bit of practice, and there is also such a thing as too much. When determining what will work best, we always try to strike a balance based on one’s own needs and capacity. But generally speaking, one can benefit from even a moment of meditative reflection, and one should expect a good result with 15 to 20 minutes every day. If you can do twice a day, that would be better. If you can eventually work your way up to 30 minutes to an hour, even if only occasionally, you will greatly deepen your experience. And for some, eventually there is almost no sense of having left a state of mindfulness – it is as if they are always in a state of meditation.
When will I start seeing benefits to meditation?
It depends on your goals and expectations, and it varies from person to person – but often we start to see positive results almost immediately.
Does it matter what kind of meditation I do to get results?
Yes. In the same way that it matters what kind of exercises you do in the gym and how you do them, there are beneficial ways to do meditation, and there are ways that are not so helpful.
How do I know what kind of meditation would work best for me?
You can do your own research, or follow your own gut, or you can come talk to our meditation coach. Understanding how to proceed can be tricky, and a good coach can help a lot.
How often do I need to make an appointment?
It depends on the individual and their goals. To start with, some people do well with once a week, some people do well with every other week. Eventually, once a month can be fine, or none at all – you may eventually find you can meditate on your own quite comfortably.
Do I have to be able to sit cross-legged like a yogi to do meditation?
Not at all!
Where does meditation come from?
There are meditation traditions from many parts of the world, and it’s impossible to say where it originated. One might say meditation began with the first human being who took a breath and noticed the feeling of awareness of its own feelings or thoughts.
Should I use music, candles, or incense?
Sure, if you want to! But they aren’t necessary.
How hard is it to meditate?
Meditation is very easy to do, provided you know how to begin. Unfortunately, many people think that meditation is hard to do because they have a hard time sitting still or turning off their minds. This concern is a lot like someone going to the gym for the first time and, after looking around and seeing lots of people who are super fit and muscle-toned, they decide to turn around and leave. They think they could never look like that. But actually if they just worked out regularly and got the help of a good coach, they most likely could get those big muscles. Meditation just is like that – with a little practice, you too can have a peaceful mind.
How can I meditate if I can’t get my mind to turn off?
Actually, this is a misconception about meditation. The truth is, you don’t have to turn off your mind to meditate. Now, you may eventually achieve states in which your thoughts become very quiet, but your mind is not likely to ever stop. And why would you try to stop your mind? You need to think; you need to be able to solve problems. The point is not to stop your mind, but rather to slow it down a little, and to relax into a state of mind in which your mind no longer bothers you.
Are there any proven benefits to meditation?
There have been hundreds of research studies on meditation, and most of them have demonstrated very positive benefits.