Learning to meditate, quiet my mind and touch into the deep place of peace within me is the greatest skill I have ever learned to improve my life.

"Meditation is the art of learning how to tend the sacred ground of your life. It connects you with your inner world. By meditating you learn how to care for the garden of your mind.
First, you learn to identify what is growing there. Then you learn how to nurture and plant what you want
and weed out what you do not want."

Meditation is the art of self-mastery, of learning to experience each moment with calm awareness and compassion with regard to oneself and others. It is learning how not to identify with all of our many thoughts and feelings, but choosing instead to identify with the profound peace that dwells within us and that is what is left behind when we stop compulsively thinking.

This place of peace, this state of meditation, is available to all of us. It is not something only a "select" few can attain. It is a natural ability we have--freely given to us all. Unfortunately no one has ever provided us with an "owner's manual" for our minds, so we are not aware of this potential within us. Meditating is the process of developing our own "owner's manual" for our mind.

Meditation is an opportunity to sit quietly and spend "quality time" with our most “significant other,” ourselves. It is an opportunity to come to "know thyself;" and in coming to "know thyself," one is better able to appreciate, heal and love oneself.

Meditation is an opportunity to connect at the deepest of levels–with our soul, our higher self, and to tap into our highest natural potential. When we meditate we touch in with that part of us that has great wisdom and creativity and is connected to infinite love, peace and potential.

I can assure you that when you connect with that pure place of peace that dwells within, even for a second, you will be hooked on this "sweet ambrosia of the gods." And you will want to go back as often as possible to access that refreshing, revitalizing essence of peace that is at the core of your being.

So, meditation is the art of learning how to identify or interact with that peaceful center within. It is accomplished by not getting caught up in our fears, worries, anxieties, responsibilities, etc. It is done by quieting our minds and opening our hearts. This allows that peace at the center of our being to flow into our awareness unimpeded by our negative thoughts and feelings.

When we are not all "clogged up" with negative thoughts and feelings, when we empty ourselves of them, we allow stillness and peace to flow in and fill us up. We then enter a state of joy, peace and love that is so liberating.

Meditation teaches us how to be our true selves--how to be in this state of enduring peace. It is an antidote for the over emphasis we find so prevalent today on always “doing” and “thinking.” As Deepak Chopra said, we are meant to be human "beings" and not human "doings" or human “thinkings.”

We are meant to spend quality time with ourselves on an ongoing basis so that we can get to know who we truly are. We can't do this, if we are always on the go, always doing and thinking, never having any quiet time for ourselves. As you get more and more into meditation, the benefits of what I am describing will become clearer to you.

So, the goal is inner simplicity–maintaining a quiet mind in the midst of a busy life. Why, you might ask is it worth maintaining a quiet, balanced mind. The answer is: A tense mind creates a tense body and a stressed out life; a relaxed mind creates a relaxed body and a healthy happy, life. There are numerous scientific studies that show the direct link between stress, illness and longevity. Meditation helps to put us into a new relationship with our thoughts and feelings, a healthy one.

But meditation is not something you can just read about and gain any benefit from, you must sit and practice it in order to enjoy its numerous benefits.

There are many meditation techniques that can help to quiet the mind and help us to experience a true, lasting peace. Observing the breath is one of the oldest and most accessible and powerful methods. It is used by beginners and masters. It is often the first technique that is taught. So, I would like to offer you a simple meditation exercise you can do for about five minutes anytime in the day.

Start by setting a clear intention that you want to spend quiet, quality time with yourself. Then sit with your spine comfortably upright, without being rigid or tense. Relax your jaw. Let it be slightly open. Close your eyes. Let your arms be relaxed and place your hands on your knees or in your lap. Let your feet be firmly on the floor. Or, if you have the flexibility, by all means, sit in the traditional yoga posture on the floor. You can achieve a very profound state either way.

Now, while breathing in and out of your nostrils, focus your attention on your abdomen. Let your belly comfortably expand on the inhalation and contract on the exhalation. Don’t strain. Be as relaxed as possible. As you do this, count your breaths. See if you can count ten full breaths without getting lost in your thoughts. If you lose track, don't worry, just gently go back to counting your breaths again. Count each inhalation and exhalation as one full breath. Do this for at least ten full breaths. By doing this a couple of times a day, you will begin to notice a major difference in how you feel.

Please note that you can also do this exercise with your eyes open, for example, while you are standing in a line, waiting for a bus or an appointment, in a meeting where you don’t have to be fully focused, and you can even do this while driving your car. Yes, just keep your eyes open and focus on your breath and the rise and fall of your abdomen and then just count your breaths. After just a few minutes of doing this you will be pleasantly surprised at how balanced, relaxed and grounded you feel.

So, constantly use your breath as an ongoing frame of reference or "ground" for your being. Whenever you get lost in compulsive thinking or in "doing" too much, come back to an awareness of your breath. Your breath is always in the present and if you focus your attention on it, it will calm and slow you down. You can stop yourself from "past- tripping” and “future-tripping." Just come back to your breath, calm down and get grounded.

We waste an enormous amount of our precious energy worrying about the future and reliving the past. Use your breath to come back to the present and revive your energies. And then use these energies to create joy and success in the present and to plant seeds for even greater joy in the future. This is the way to peace of mind. There is nothing more grounding and centering than your breath. Peace of Mind is a Breath Away.

So, remember, meditation takes practice, but everyone can do it. It is not easy, at first, for us to learn how to calm our minds, focus our thoughts, and concentrate on our inner worlds. But with patience and practice one can experience an incredible leap forward in the quality of one’s life.

The hardest part of beginning a meditation practice is just beginning. Forget all the reasons not to. Just start today, be patient, and enjoy! You’ll never regret it!

As Rousseau said: "Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet."

Author's Bio: 

I have been teaching Meditation, Intuitive Development, Healing and metaphysical subjects for the past twenty years. As well, I have been doing intuitive counseling for the past fifteen years.

The primary focus of all my work is to help people experience the “still, small voice within” or as I call it: “the Embrace.” For it is here where I believe that all true healing originates.

About twenty years ago I was blessed with an experience of profound "Embrace" while in meditation which radically changed my life; since then it was crystal clear to me that I not only wanted to deepen that experience for myself, but also wanted, even more, to help others find it for themselves. This is why I offer counseling sessions and it is why have taught and developed numerous programs in Intuitive Development, Meditation, and Self-Mastery.

I have published a book and an audio package entitled: "Magical Keys to Self-Mastery: Creating Miracles in Your Life."

I am the co-author with Susan Apollon of a just published book, audio and online course entitled: "Intuition is Easy and Fun: The Art and Practice of Developing Your Natural Born Gift of Intuition."

You can find out more about my work at the following web sites:

Primary Web Site: InsideOutJourneys.com

Blog and Podcasting Site: LifeMasteryblog.com

Book Sites:

Information about my meditation CDs can be found at:

Email: yanni.maniates@verizon.net