“Meditation is not about getting out of ourselves or achieving something better.
It is about getting in touch with what you already are.”
– PEMA CHODRON
You’ve likely seen meditation portrayed in movies and television as people sitting cross-legged with their heads down in silence. But what exactly are they really doing? Is this an accurate depiction? And what significance does this hold beyond religion and in terms of well-being? This article will focus on the origins, types, and importance of meditation.
Meditation BasicsAccording to ancient teachings, meditation is defined as a way to change how the mind works. Under these teachings, everyone is destined to make mistakes, some of it which is based on desire. And while people may say that they’re going to change something about their life, saying it is a lot different than doing it. That’s where meditation comes in: It’s designed to raise the mental awareness to change habits that are a part of your lifestyle. It helps you to truly think about things in your life that you need change and then mentally try to change it. Meditation is intended to be liberating – a chance to rid your mind of the day’s problems to concentrate on change. It’s also said to be relaxing, as typically you’re practicing in complete silence for minutes at a time. In fact, some teachers teach you to begin meditating for 15 minutes, then gradually extending the meditation periods by five minutes each week until you’re at a point where you’re meditating for 45 minutes at a time. This is because your mind and concentration take time to improve and get to the point where you can shut out most other thoughts. This ensures that you get times of true peace.
Why Meditate?Meditation is a quieting of the chatter inside our heads. From the moment we wake up, there is a mental dialogue going on – which is natural and healthy! However, when we don’t eat right, miss out on sleep and overextend ourselves, these voices become chaotic. That’s when it’s time to meditate. Instead of firing back at every demand your mind makes, you can let thoughts come and go naturally for greater peace of mind and greater cognitive potential.
Benefits of MeditationPerhaps spiritual teachers were on to something thousands of years ago when they began their meditation practice. Many professors and researchers have done studies on the benefits of meditation. And the benefits are plentiful, based on some of the research and findings – both psychological and physiological. Here is a rundown of some of the benefits:
Meditation and the Body
- Helps general balance and flexibility
- Calms our muscles, releasing physical tension and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Better immune system: findings have indicated that regular practice of meditation can not only help people fight colds and illness, but can also help slow or control the pain of serious diseases and illnesses.
Meditation and the Mind
- Meditation helps us process mental noise in a calm and peaceful manner.
- It also reinforces positive thoughts, leading to better memory and mood levels.
- A lower rate of stress and anxiety.
- An increase in intellect.
- Better emotional state: meditation can also help forge better relationships with your family and friends, reduce irritability, increase your self-esteem and have you feeling younger, fresher and rejuvenated.
Meditation and the Spirit
- Meditation helps us focus on becoming one with every part of ourselves.
- Mantras can help us cultivate feelings of wellness, happiness and belonging with our surroundings.