Whatever the definition, meditation allows you to shut down all things around you – all the chatter, all the noise, and only then are you able to get to your true self.You can turn your focus away from all the day to day distractions and find quiet time to look within.
You may be thinking that your life is way too busy to retreat to the Himalayas and live life as a monk.The good news is that you do not have to make such a drastic move to benefit from meditation.In fact, with over a million different methods of meditation you are sure to find one that fits your lifestyle and your personality, without changing your wardrobe or address.
The most famous type is known as “Transcendental Meditation” (TM).Introduced in 1958 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, it is usually practiced two times a day for twenty minutes.By sitting quietly with eyes closed, practitioners can reach a state of calm often using a mantra, or sound, that helps divert the mind away from daily distractions and keep their focus inward to reach that optimal level of calm.
Another type is “Breathing Meditation” and as the name suggests, involves concentrating on your own breath.This focus gives the mind an opportunity to turn away from counter-productive or damaging thoughts such as anger or anxiety.When a thought comes in, you can release it with each exhalation.
Some choose “Guided Meditation” wherein you listen to someone on a CD or mp3 player as they guide you through a meditative process. This is also achieved in group settings where a facilitator gently guides the practitioner through each step of self awareness.
Still another technique is “Brain Entrainment” which operates on the concept of binaural beat frequencies and their affects on the sub cortical auditory system of the brain.I have personally been using this technique from Centerpointe Research called “Holosync”. The nature of this method is auditory, so a CD is usually used with a result of “mental refreshment”.
How Does Meditation Help?
Thousands of scientific studies conducted by hundreds of independent and prestigious universities, including Harvard and Stanford Medical Schools, UC Berkley, Princeton as well as studies in over thirty two different countries have proven the benefits of meditation.Studies published in leading scientific journals have shown that practitioners can enjoy an increased ability to learn, decreased blood pressure and stress, relief from insomnia, anxiety and depression in addition to increased levels of happiness and self esteem, just to name a few. There is also compelling evidence that it can slow the aging process.All this by simply enjoying some quiet time!
In our modern society it is “normal” to be busy.We often put off taking care of ourselves because of much more important things.But really, what is more important than you and your health?All this rushing around can speed up the aging process as our bodies continually operate at a level of fatigue.We really don’t need to slow down, we need to calm down.Studies have shown that long term Transcendental meditation practitioners, those with over five years of practice, measure in at twelve years younger than their actual chronological age.They are shown to possess higher levels of DHEAS, which is a sign of youthfulness.
To get an idea of your mind / body correlation, think of the gears of a car.Without the benefits of meditation, you are driving a car with manual transmission.As you move through the day, going faster and faster, you physically push in the clutch to move up to the next gear. You’re swerving in and out of traffic, probably talking on the phone, shifting, accelerating, braking, and shifting again.It takes effort and thought and if you’ve ever driven a manual car in traffic, it is exhausting!
Now compare that to driving an automatic car, the meditation car.As you go down the road, the car shifts gears automatically, without you giving it a lot of thought or effort. When your car shifts into the higher gear, it is actually allowing the engine to slow down with fewer RPM’s (Revolutions per minute) and the engine doesn’t work so hard. The car is going faster, but the engine has slowed down and is performing at optimal levels.You arrive home at the end of the day feeling refreshed, not haggard.
In your brain, all this is accomplished by being in the perfect state of mind…literally!You see, most of the day we operate in a waking, or BETA state.During meditation, you enter a more relaxed, or ALPHA state which allows you to be highly relaxed and more focused.You may also reach the DELTA or THETA state, which can take as little as five to fifteen minutes, and allow your brain’s sodium and potassium ratios to rebalance which can aid “mental fatigue”.The effect of the GAMMA waves in the brain at various meditative states has been studied in Buddhist monks who have been meditating for years.
How Do I Start Meditating?
There are lots of aids available to help you find the best meditation method that suits your personality and lifestyle.Understand that the goal is total relaxation so that you allow your inner self to work its magic.You do not have to sit cross legged or light candles and incense, although some methods do include these suggestions.You can simply sit in a chair, close your eyes, and concentrate on your breath.
Don’t worry if you don’t “feel” anything since the experience is different for everyone.The goal is to become very relaxed, to just be still.You may feel numb; you may feel weightless or even like you are floating.What you will eventually feel is a sense of refreshment because you have given your brain time to calm down.
With this habit you allow your subconscious, your true self, to take over and become more focused.Things that angered you, or solutions that you could not find before, will become very clear.With this clarity of thought you can succeed at things that once seemed impossible.
So I challenge you now to simply breathe!Your brain, and body, will thank you for it!