Chanting is the rhythmic vocalization of words or sounds, often in one or two tones. A common practice among spiritual traditions, it is found in every human culture. Although the specific practice varies, chant is found throughout Eastern and Western faiths including Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism.  Universally recognized as a way of altering consciousness and raising psychic power or energy, chanting is also used by Native Americans in preparation for ceremonies and other momentous occasions.

To reap the most benefits from chanting, one's mind must be clear and focused. Keeping the mind in the present, chanting helps one develop mindfulness. Chanting is not like singing a tune. When chanting, a mantra is often used.  A mantra is a repeated word or phrase used to aide in concentration in meditation and believed to expand one's awareness and increase their connection with the spiritual or divine.

As you chant a mantra during meditation, the focus of your meditation is to merge with the vibration of the sound you are chanting and become one with that energy. In this way, you connect with everyone in the world who is chanting that same mantra as well as everyone who has ever chanted that same mantra. In this way you merge and connect with them on a spiritual level.

For me, one of the greatest benefits gained through my meditation practice is awareness of the interconnectedness between our mental, emotional and physical levels it brings. As this awareness grows, it leads to an understanding of the more subtle areas of existence.

So try out some chants, keeping in mind that it is virtually impossible to chant incorrectly. The sound is simply a sound, just vibrations in the air. It is the feeling and intention of love behind it that results in the chant bringing peace and joy.

May your meditation and chanting bring you peace and inner joy.

Theta Meditation

The second slowest frequency of brain waves - theta waves typically cycle at a rate of 4-7 times per second (4 Hz – 7 Hz) - Theta brain waves are known to be the state of high relaxation, drowsiness, and dreaming. Studies show that in states of meditation greater quantities of these are produced. EEG studies of persons in this state show an increased ability to handle stress, heightened intuition, and an enhanced sense of emotional balance. Theta meditation has also been used to help balance serotonin and melatonin levels in cases of insomnia and depression. Who wouldn't want to benefit from these healing effects on the body! For a quick, no-nonsense overview of what brainwaves are read this.

Theta meditation is a very deep meditation technique. It is for those who have been meditating for some time, are accustomed to the effects of alpha meditation and are ready to proceed in the meditation practice. Those who are new to meditation should begin meditating through alpha meditation with binaural beats.

Every day, we receive subconscious programming from our environment which cycles into our brain and influences our behavior. Tapping into our Theta Waves to connect with our subconsicous enables us to reprogram our brain with ideas and beliefs that we truly want to believe. This helps you avoid falling victim to environmentally induced thought patterns. Theta waves can be a source of creativity, intuition, strong emotional connections, and lower levels of stress and anxiety.  Worthy goals to attain!

Disclaimer: The text presented on these pages is purely informational.  Check with your doctor before trying any of these techniques to be sure they are appropriate for you and will not interfere with your treatment.

Beginning Meditation - Part II

Meditation is work, and you will inevitably come to a point where it seems to be more effort than it's worth; this is when you need your practice the most. Your ability to focus on meditation will strengthen your ability to focus in every other aspect of your life. It's well worth the effort.

That being said, below are some guidelines to help you receive the most benefit from your meditation practice.

1. Set a time and stick to it. Meditating when you can get to it is a surefire way for it to end up by the wayside. Making a habit of your meditation practice will aide you in sticking with it for the long-term.

2. Stretch.

3. Experiment.

4. RELAX. Your mind will wander, especially at first. When the mental chatter creeps in, focus in on your breath and let the feelings go.

5. Read a book or watch some videos on meditation. There are guided meditations that can help you begin and improve your practice.

6. Express gratitude. Gratitude is a powerful state. It's the absence of fear and doubt. Sit quietly for 1 or 2 minutes after your meditation and experience the warmth that gratitude brings into your heart. Ending your practice with appreciation reminds you of what you have and what you are working toward.

As you continue your daily practice, you will be able to reach deeper levels of awareness and spiritual connection which in turn can only enrich your life.

Disclaimer: The text presented on these pages is purely informational.  Check with your doctor before trying any of these techniques to be sure they are appropriate for you and will not interfere with your treatment.

Image: dan /

Beginning Meditation - Part 1

Meditation is focused contemplation on a particular object or subject. Throughout the centuries meditation has been used to develop concentration, bring clarity and achieve serenity. In modern times meditation is often used to improve one's focus as well as provide relaxation and stress relief.

Learning how to meditate

There are many meditation techniques, in this article I will be focusing on a quick and easy method that works well for beginners.

Breath Counting

One of the most simple and easy forms of meditation, breath counting, is a great way to reduce stress and tension. The object of this meditation is to focus on the rhythm of our breathing. To do this, we count each breath in and each breath out. This is where many feel they are "doing it wrong" or that they are "not good at it". Remember, this is the beginning and no one is a pro when they start. When your mind wanders, and it will, simply return to your breathing and start counting again. This is a great meditation to do anywhere when you have even just one minute to yourself. With time your focus will improve and you can replace counting your breaths with the words, "in", "out" and eventually you can begin repeating affirmations such as "relax" or "peace".

As you become ready to "return" from your meditation, slowly bring your thoughts back to your body and the sounds around you. If you had your eyes closed, move your muscles a little, rub your hands together and cup them over your eyes for a few seconds, then open your eyes.

Well done! You've completed your first meditation. With regular practice you will be able to achieve deeper states of relaxation.

In my next post we'll delve into meditation geared toward strengthening mental focus.

Disclaimer: The text presented on these pages is purely informational.  Check with your doctor before trying any of these techniques to be sure they are appropriate for you and will not interfere with your treatment.