Enlightenment and Meditation - what to expect

For many of us, looking for another world, a higher plain or something above the ordinary day to day is about searching the skies, looking beyond death and examining all kinds of myths and legends for any truth - but one of the oldest and most proven ways of connecting with a more spiritual realms starts right inside ourselves, and many people all over the world reach them through meditation.

The practice of meditation is often seen as a quirky method of relaxation and part of a hippie lifestyle but it's something anyone can do at any time, it's just a question of practice. It's about more than simply switching off and relaxing too, in fact, the main aim is not to escape from a bad day and think of nothing - it's about focusing on only the present moment so that the mind learns to become clear.

A common reason first-time meditators often find the experience a bit disappointing is that they're expecting enlightenment in the wrong way. Learning to hold our thoughts still and break those habits of mulling over the same things can be tricky in itself, and when we start to get it right and we don't see bright lights and hear triumphant chants fill our ears it can be a bit of a let down, but enlightenment is about a new awareness and an awakening to the unseen, and it's a gentle process.

The theory is that every one of us holds a little ball of spiritual energy (known as Kundalini) right in the bottom of our spine.

Far from being a new belief, Kundalini has been documented and thought about for thousands of years and it sits at the core of many yoga practices around the world. As we reach gradual enlightenment, the Kundalini awakens and starts to seep into our spiritual, physical and conscious energy, connecting us to the rest of the universe in a way we weren't before. If you believe in the spirit then Kundalini is the first step to connecting with our own individual spirits so that we can reach higher knowledge and a state of balance and bliss.

Those who have reached enlightenment continue to use meditation to grow spiritually and to explore their realisations further, so for many the awakening is the start of a soulful and reflective journey rather than the end of one seeking answers. Those who practice meditation frequently often describe the biggest benefit from it as a feeling of oneness with nature, and once mastered it can bring changes in our health and bodies, in the way we think and handle things and in our souls.

Even those who are sceptical about the idea of connecting with a more spiritual realm can learn to focus solely on the present moment and find a heightened awareness, and whether for one minute every day or for prolonged, regular periods of time, meditation can bring positive effects to all ages and people from all walks of life.

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