Meditation is a state of being focused on a certain thought and involves the quieting of the mind as you concentrate inwardly, resulting in a more relaxed and calm feeling. This relaxation technique can help a person develop his personality through mental discipline as well as encourage his spiritual well-being by communing with God.
Usually associated with some ancient eastern religions dating back several centuries, meditation has been assimilated in western culture via spiritual practices and medical therapies which focus on different kinds of healing with the help of the mind and inner energy.
According to Dr. Borysenko, author of ‘Minding the Body, Mending the Mind’, …through meditation, we learn to access the relaxation response (the physiological response elicited by meditation) and we become more aware of the mind and the way our attitude produces stress. He believes that through meditation, one can also get in touch with the inner physician and allow the body’s own inner wisdom to be heard.
Relaxing The Body And The Mind
In Taoism, the mind of emotions is controlled by the Fire energy of the heart. Unrestrained, this Fire energy flares upward and wastefully burns up the energy and smothers the mind. On the other hand, the mind of intent, or will power, is governed by the Water energy of the kidneys. Without direction, the Water energy is flushed down the sexual organs which drain its essence and spirit. However, when you are meditating, these flows of Water and Fire energies are reversed. The Water energy is drawn up to the head through the Central and Governing channels, while the Fire energy from the heart is drawn down into the Lower Elixir Field in the abdomen, where the energy is refined and transformed. This process allows the mind of intent, which is Water, to provide a soothing and relaxing effect over the mind of emotion, which is Fire. Hence, meditation relaxation occurs.
In today’s world, where there is so much chaos and negativism brought about by man’s pursuit of wealth and power, many have fallen victim to stress and anxiety, not to mention a variety of medical conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
Meditation relaxation involves the body and mind. It is beneficial in providing relief to those suffering from anxiety disorders as it allows the person to experience relaxation and release negative energies stored in the body, allowing it to acquire a different form of healing that is not afforded by medications. But this method is a skill which needs to be learned properly. Training in the art of meditation relaxation is necessary to avoid getting distractions.
In Yoga Meditation, the key principles in this process are attention and breathing. These two work together naturally in allowing the relaxation of the physical body, as well as the mind.
There are times when the mind is restless that it could not keep itself from getting distracted and have the tendency to open the eyes or make unnecessary movements during the process. What some practitioners do is to make use of an external device or stimulus like music or visual support to get to that state of relaxation. However, to train the mind means not relying on this external technique but directly working in the mind itself.
In order to train the restless mind, one must first acknowledge it as restless and that it will not easily come through. Give the mind something to do, something internal and real, not external or a fantasy. Focus on what is within the body and do not create something that isn’t there. That’s the beauty of Yoga meditation. So, whether the goal is to combat stress, cure illness or to gain higher spiritual experience, Yoga meditation, as well as other relaxation therapies, can help you find healing by training your mind to reach into your inner being.
The Extraordinary Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is not a new concept. In fact, many cultures around the world practice some form of meditation. There are many fundamental differences in how it is performed, but the basic concepts behind meditation are shared by the different religions and cultures. The principles that they follow are all founded on spiritual development. The methods vary but there is no denying the fact that universally, meditation is beneficial to human health and well-being. It is also beneficial for the mind and spirit. In this age of computers, social media, and numerous conflicts affecting millions of lives, meditation have become the refuge of people seeking the peace of mind and rest from the fast-paced life that they lead. It is also considered a source of strength.
A practice that dates thousands of years
It is important for modern practitioners of meditation to understand how extremely old the practice is. This will help in understanding the whole practice better. Meditation is not only been in existence for hundreds of years, but it spans millennia. There is evidence that even prehistoric cultures engaged in meditation, though they might have called it something else. Wall art from the Indus Valley dating as old as 5,000 BCE depict figures seated in postures suggesting meditation. The eyes of the figures are narrowed although not closed completely, which suggest a state of consciousness that modern practitioners seek to attain. The cave wall figures are seated on the ground with both legs crossed, and both hands resting on the knees, which is the usual posture of a person meditating.
The primary tenets of meditation were developed in the East and because it was deeply ingrained in their culture when it was still in infancy, Eastern philosophies are characterized strongly by a spiritual perspective. From Eastern cultures, the practice trickled into the West. It was not difficult for Western societies to realize that meditation can help them achieve personal goals in life, and so they embraced it.
Mental and physical benefits from meditative practice
There are many positive effects of meditation, including increased alertness, focus, and concentration. These qualities contribute to better memory and reasoning. Meditation can also contribute to deep concentration. Learning ability is also increased, as well as intelligence. Moreover, many people who practice meditation regularly find their creativity welling up. People who meditate have a broader understanding of the world and have the ability to make better decisions. With these changes in a person’s mindset, he or she can be active participants in relationships that are more nurturing—both romantic and platonic. Some universities today offer meditation classes to help their students in their studies.
It is also common for people who meditate to experience immediate physical benefits such as lowering of muscle tension and pain. According to research, there are a lot of symptoms that are reduced because of meditation. When a person experiences less discomfort, irritability and moodiness are reduced as well. A person thinks more clearly, is a better co-worker, friend, and lover, and becomes an even more productive member of society. There are some communities around the world that advocates meditation to their members.
Spiritual benefits from meditative practice
People who lead stressful and hectic lives need to learn how to be still. This state of detachment and non-attachment eventually leads to spiritual awakening. As a consequence, a person attains detachment from thinking and has increased reliance on the faculty of knowing without exercising judgment. Because of the widening of perspective, it is easier to feel compassion for others.
There is no doubt meditation has benefits that can improve people not just mentally but physically as well.