The ABCs of Meditation

The ABCs of Meditation
Whether you are starting a new meditation practice or want to deepen an existing practice, getting back to the basics and putting attention to your intention is a wonderful way to remind yourself of why you meditate. The alphabet is where many of us begin our journey as students on this planet, so here’s a little alphabetical reminder of the benefits of meditation.

A is for Awaken

Meditation is a way to awaken purpose, awaken health, awaken abundance, awaken connection, and awaken creativity. You can allow your true self to reveal and awaken your pure potential through meditation, including guided meditation or silent or mantra meditation.

B is for Being

To sit and be—without thinking, without effort, without judgment—is the gift of meditation. We are not our past, nor are we our future. Be present.

C is for Connection

Connection is twofold: connection to self and connection to those around us. At first these might seem separate but as you connect to your source through meditation, the recognition that we are all waves of the same ocean deepens.

D is for Detachment

Detachment reveals the great paradox of life: In order to acquire something, you have to relinquish your attachment to having it. When you recognize the only genuine source of security is living as your true self, then you can more easily detach. Meditation helps you to get present and detach.

E is for Ego

According to Eckhart Tolle, author of books on ego like A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, ego is any image you have of yourself that gives you a sense of identity. Ego likes to separate us from others rather than encourage oneness and connection. Meditation acts as a tool to silence the ego and allow the true connected self to be seen.

F is for Flexibility

People with flexible minds are adaptable, open, and resilient. Like bamboo in the wind, they are strong but pliable. Being flexible allows you to embrace your day rather than bracing for it. Meditation cultivates a flexible mind.

G is for Gratitude

Meditation reminds us how everything fits into a greater plan. It connects us with spirit, God, or the universe, and with this connection comes gratitude—gratitude for who we are and what we have. Gratitude has been proven to benefit our physical, physiological, and mental health.

H is for Happiness

Happiness increases when you meditate. Studies have shown that the centers for emotional processing are just one of the areas that change significantly with a meditation practice. People who meditate regularly report higher levels of well-being and are less bothered by aches and pains. This all translates to increased joy.

I is for Immunity

The immune system is highly influenced by your mind. Meditators get benefits to their immune system’s function, including increased antibodies and decreased inflammation.

J is for Joy

Meditation leads to joy. Once you believe that the universe is working for you and that everything is happening for your good, meditation can help by turning up your awareness and allowing you to witness the joy in every situation. You will begin to notice if and when you are struggling or resisting the natural flow.

K is for Karma

In its simplest form, karma might be described as an energetic loop where every action generates an equal force of energy that returns to us—what we sow is what we reap. In meditation, you tap into your ability to make spontaneously correct choices for yourself and for all those around you.

L is for Letting Go

Want to let go of a habit that doesn’t serve you? Meditation is a tool to allow you to step outside your pattern and change it. Meditation also helps you to let go of the past and forgive by training your mind to stay present.

M is for Manifest

Manifest can mean to reveal presence or make an appearance. When you meditate, you are more clearly able to manifest goals that align with your highest self.

N is for Namasté

This popular word, which you might have heard at the end of a yoga class, is both a spoken Indian expression and a symbolic gesture that means “the God within me greets the God within you.” Namasté is the recognition that we are all equal and share a common divinity.

O is for Om

The primordial vibration Om (or “aum”) is sometimes chanted at the end of meditation or as part of a longer mantra used throughout meditation. It is considered the most sacred sound in Hinduism and Buddhism.

P is for Peace

In the words of the Dalai Lama, “If every 8-year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”

Q is for Quiet

Meditation is practiced quietly in order to quiet the mind. Note that quiet and silence are not the same thing in this case. When the world around you is loud, busy, or filled with distractions, the quiet that meditation provides doesn’t occur by turning off these stimuli but by focusing elsewhere, which gives you the perception of quiet.

R is for Raja or Royal Path

Raja yoga is frequently referred to as the “royal path to yoga” because it focuses on practices that take your awareness inward and promotes the integration of the mind, body, and spirit. Meditation is one of these practices.

S is for Subtle Body

This is where the magic happens—outside any physical construct and in a non-local place. Your mind, your ego, and your intellect all work together to form the subtle body.

T is for Transformation

Through meditation the mind and the body are transformed right down to a cellular level. Telomerase is another “T” word. It controls the age function of cells and recent studies have shown that meditation can positively impact the aging of cells by lengthening the telomerase.

U is for Unique

Your meditation is unique to you; there is no correct way to meditate. Whether it be mantra or silent, with music or without, in a group or on your own, whatever style of meditation works to keep you showing up for your meditation practice is the perfect style for you.

V is for Vitality

Meditation leads to vitality—the ability to flourish with a balanced physical, mental, and spiritual body. When your mind is at peace and you have left behind the patterns of stress and anxiety that are so common in today’s society, vitality comes more easily.

W is for Wholeness

Wholeness is also known as unity consciousness or the state of enlightenment, in which there is complete freedom from all conditioning, including habit, past experience, and karma.

X is for Ex- …

Meditation is helpful in kicking unhealthy habits to the curb. If you want to be an ex-smoker, an ex-drinker, or an ex-anorexia sufferer, meditation can help.

Y is for Yoga

Yoga, the way many people think of it, is the asanas or physical postures; however, yoga actually has four limbs: karma, raja, gyan, and bhakti.

Z is for Zen

"Zen" is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese character "chan," which in turn is the Chinese translation from the Indian Sanskrit term dhyana, which means “the development of witnessing awareness.”

Now that you know your ABCs of meditation, there’s no reason to delay your next meditation.

Choose from hundreds of guided meditations and cultivate a daily meditation habit on the Chopra App, available now.