What is Meditation?

Meditation is a term given to a collection of techniques used to calm the mind and therefore calm the body. The aim of meditation is to relax the body whilst retaining a high degree of calm, focused mental alertness.   It is a tool to bring peace and calm to the mind.  Traditionally Meditation is not 'going to sleep', although you can sometimes fall asleep during meditation especially at first or if you are tired. For this reason it is often best to meditate whilst laying on a mat or sitting upright rather than nestling in a comfortable bed.  Having said that restful sleep can be very healing for abuse survivors and be exactly what the body needs. If you do fall asleep whilst meditating  then it is more useful to accept that your body needs the rest than berate yourself for not keeping your mind alert. Like any new skill meditation requires practise. 

As this website is written specifically for survivors of gender based violence the focus of the meditations are to calm the body and break stressful thoughts and corresponding patterns of behaviour caused by the abuse. Breaking these thought patterns can stop disruptive thoughts that go round and round without conclusion and bring a level of acceptance. This acceptance might be a new thought that say something like, 'I have thought about this issue a lot, there is no easy solution, I am not willing to give it any more of my time  and I am now willing to let it go'.

The simplest meditation in this book is the breath meditation. This is designed to calm all thoughts in the mind by focusing your mind on one thing, namely your own breath. By noticing your breathing you can consciously breath deeper and slower in an effort to calm yourself. This is useful to practise so you can apply the technique when you are in a state of agitation. This breath meditation can also give your mind a different focus if you are caught up in over-thinking or have negative thoughts running through your mind that won't resolve themselves. It is also useful if you are experiencing strong difficult emotion and you need to feel calmer.

Meditation is also used as a spiritual tool and is utilized by religions throughout the world. It is widely believed that meditation can bring experiences of oneness with the self, and divine or enlightenment. However, the use of meditation in world religions is beyond the scope of this site.


 Photograph by Jennifer Weston ©