Why we NEED meditation:
A 2012 study showed that people who meditate exhibit higher levels of gyrification — which in turn may allow the brain to process information faster. Scientists believe that gyrification is responsible for making the brain better at processing information, making decisions, forming memories, and improving attention.
New research is also showing that meditation restores the brain. A landmark study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital found that as little as eight weeks of meditation not only helped people feel calmer but also produced changes in various areas of the brain, including growth in the areas associated with memory, empathy, sense of self, and stress regulation.
- Relief from stress and anxiety (meditation mitigates the effects of the “fight-or-flight” response, decreasing the production of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline)
- Decreased blood pressure and hypertension
- Better focus & memory
- Lower cholesterol levels
- More efficient oxygen use by the body
- Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA
- Grows compassion, calmer mind & restful sleep
Is Meditation Religious? No. The great thing about meditation is that our philosophy/religious belief is not important. Meditation is about consciousness. The beliefs of the mind become trivial. We dive deep into the heart of the matter to gain access to our soul – our inner reality. Therefore, mediation can (and is ) practiced by people of different religions or no religion.
How To Meditate – Few simple ways :
Like anything worthwhile, meditation requires practice. To get the most from meditation you need to do it every day. To to start off with, this requires a place and time where you will not be disturbed.
- Sit with a straight back. Don’t try to meditate lying down because you are likely to fall asleep. Meditation brings relaxation and peace but at the same time this is a dynamic peace. Meditation is quite different than the relaxation of sleep. When we really meditate, we are fully alert and conscious. Our sense of awareness is heightened. Afterwards you’ll have a positive feeling for the world and a renewed sense of dynamism.
- Don’t eat before meditating. After a heavy meal your body will be lethargic with digestion.
- It is not necessary to mediate in the lotus posture. It is fine to meditate in a chair, as long as the back is straight. (meditation is like an onion, you peel off one layer at a time, sometimes the first layer is physical)
- It is good to meditate early in the morning. It is said the best time is 3am, although, I feel it is more important to be awake and not sleepy, if you can dedicate few minutes in the morning to meditation, you’ll see the benefits in your day.
One Pointed Concentration: However you learn to meditate, it’s best to learn to concentrate on one thing ata time. Usually, the mind tries to hold several different thoughts and ideas at once. When you sit down to meditate for the first time, you realize how cluttered the mind is. Mediation teachers have described the mind as a “monkey mind”. However, the mind can be tamed and forced to concentrate on a single thought.
One helpful technique is concentrating on a candle flame. Narrow your gaze to the small tip and keep letting go of all other thoughts. When you get distracted, use the candle flame to go back to focus on. You can also use other objects like a small dot or a flower. The important thing is that you concentrate only on one thing at a time.
Mantra : Another way to learn concentration is through the use of mantra. A mantra is the repetition of a sacred word. For example, you might repeat the mantra AUM (or any positive energy you want to bring into your life) a certain number of times. Repeating a mantra forces the mind to focus on a single thought.
Silent Mind : After you’ve practiced concentration and learned to focus on one thing at a time, you can proceed to the next stage: no thought at all. Achieving a silent mind is difficult, but when to attain it the experience is powerful. A technique can be viewing your thoughts as separate from your self. When a thought appears, make a conscious decision to let it go out of your mind. Over time you realize that you are capable of allowing or rejecting thoughts. Your real “I” is not a collection of thoughts, but something far deeper. This is the most significant realization of meditation – that you do not have to be a slave to your thoughts.
Through meditation, you attain the power to direct your thoughts in the direction you want instead of your thoughts directing you, and on occasions to stop them completely. Don’t be discouraged or get frustrated if you can’t attain a silent mind straightaway. It’s a practice. There is nothing really else to it; meditation is a simple and spontaneous action. Unfortunately, our mind is used to complication and it takes time to unlearn certain habits. Happy practicing! Happy meditating!