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How does meditation work?

Andy Puddicombe
Alternative & Complementary Medicine

The act of meditating involves several levels of consciousness. Watch meditation specialist Andy Puddicombe describe how meditation can have a positive impact our health and well-being, and how it can strengthen relationships with those around us.

Yogi Cameron Alborzian
Alternative & Complementary Medicine

When you hear the word meditation, what is it you think of?  Probably somebody sitting in lotus posture with their eyes closed, right?  While people who attain a state of meditation do typically do so in a sitting posture like this, Yogic tradition actually teaches us that what most of us are doing is not meditation but concentration.

Concentration is the act of repeatedly returning to a single-pointed focus on an object, a word, the breath, or even a sound.  The mind will allow itself to go in any given direction all the time (how many times do we lose our train of thought mid-sentence?) and when the mind strays from our object of concentration we must say, that's a thought not about my object, let me return to it.  And we keep doing that over and over again until our mind remains focused on the object entirely.

This is where meditation comes in.  Once our thoughts are consistently focused on our object, the thoughts begin to flow like a river.  They are not about many different things, but about the one object--but without the considerable effort of training the mind to remain on that object.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.