Firstly what is meditation? I have found it to be a conscious act to set aside time to sit, lie down or stand up to focus on ‘being still’ in one’s mind using any one of the many ways to do this – see different types below. We can use ‘concentration’ on such things as the breath, music, mantras, imagery or even a candle as a means to still the mind.
So what are the benefits of meditation on a physical level?
Recently it has being proven that a programme of meditating can heal the mind and the body.
In 2011, Sara Lazar and her team at Harvard found that mindfulness meditation can actually change the structure of the brain – please refer to ‘Mindfulness’ in Keys to Self Mastery to understand more about how this occurs.
Anyone who has anxiety and uses meditation as a tool to de-stress will find that it helps. It also assists to physically lower blood pressure and it aids the immune system. Meditating for 20 minutes a day for 6 weeks can improve our health. Charles L Raison, MD, clinical director of the Mind-Body Programme at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, reports that tests he has done also show that there is improvement for fibromyalgia and even psoriasis in patients who meditate. “It’s hard to think of an illness in which stress and mood don’t figure,” Raison says.
And what are the benefits of meditating spiritually? There are so many advantages I will only share the main ones which are:
* It allows us to become aware of the ‘stillness’ that is within us and
* We are mindful and more conscious of the couple of seconds ‘gap’ within that stillness wherein we know we have a choice as to whether we either ‘react’ or ‘respond’ in a particular situation.
* It helps us to increase our emotional balance which leads to ‘peace of mind’.
* Our creativity expands.
* Our link with our unconscious is clearer.
* It helps us understand ourselves more and we grow in wisdom.
* It helps us gain balance and harmony.
* Our sense of ‘knowing’ or gnost/gnosis grows. See the information re ‘Gnost/gnosis’ in Articles.
* Synchronicities are more noticeable .
* Our sense of purpose is clearer.
* Meditation aids in the connection with our Higher Self and
* It helps us to develop a closer relationship with the Creator and
* Through this we are aware of the connectedness of our H/Self with this Being.
(A wider range of benefits will be shared in ‘More on Meditation‘ in Articles – soon).
Years ago when I first started on this ‘spiritual journey’ I went to see someone and as he came to greet me he was laughing. I asked him why and he said he had been watching something on T.V. about meditation and they were teaching how to ‘meditate’. He continued ‘you (meaning everyone I guess) don’t ‘learn’ to meditate’. I asked him to explain and he went on to say that he had studied with a very well known Indian guru for years and ‘there was no particular way’ to meditate. Now that was over 30 years ago and it was pretty much that way then and with the homework I have done to write this article, it appears that things have changed hugely and I will attempt to list some of the many types that have evolved since I spoke to my friend, and since I began my ‘breath meditation’.
Some of the different types of meditation are:
The breath meditation – a very old one; ‘visualisation’ listening to voice and or music; ‘chakra’ meditation; ‘relaxation’ meditation; ‘merkaba’ meditation; ‘guided’ meditation for sleep. ‘Yoga’ is also a form of meditation as well as so many more and is classed as a static style meditation unlike the ones mentioned below. There is the Vipassana 10 day retreat and during this people are able to learn their particular way of meditating and this retreat is free.
Also there are ‘moving’ styles of meditation (unlike the above which are based on being still). Two are Chi Gong and Tai Chi. Having a knowledge and practice of meditation will assist with these techniques which are based on movement and this applies also with Yoga.
Lastly with the ‘breath’ meditation that I have used for over 30 years – I focus on slow breathing with the focus on my thoughts and allow any I have – to float through my mind with no judgment and then bring my focus back onto my breath and repeat the process if/when necessary. The main key is to learn to stay out of judgment.
Some of us are finding that when we have ‘meditation’ as a part of our day/lives it is possible to remain in a meditative state without having ‘to prepare’ or ‘do’ anything to attain this state.
So there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to meditate.
I am unable to tell anyone what type of meditation will suit them as everyone of us is unique and different so I suggest you explore what’s available and find what suits you.
And lastly for me the key whilst meditating is to ‘observe’ – not judge! Being able to ‘come from no judgment will ultimately allow us to move of ‘duality’. More on this down the track in Articles.
N.B. As explained above I will be adding more information on this subject in ‘More on Meditation’ in Articles so that those reading will have the ability to share what form of meditation they use.
N.N.B. I feel there is an element of ‘Mindfulness’ that overlaps into Meditation and I will cover this in ‘Mindfulness’ in Keys to Self Mastery.
‘Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.’