What is Meditation and why should we make it a part of our lifestyle?
In literal terms, to meditate means to
- Think deeply about something, to contemplate or reflect upon something.
- From a religious point of view, meditation is the contemplation of spiritual matters.
Meditation is practiced in many Religions in various forms, probably most famously by the Buddhists as a road to enlightenment.
In scientific terms meditation is the art of mindful contemplation, the art of observing what goes on in your mind and learning to master it. This in turn leads to the slowing down of brain waves from Beta state to Alpha and Theta state. In our daily lives our brain operates in Beta state, when we are in deep sleep our brain operates in Delta state, when we meditate effectively we operate in Alpha to Theta state and have a strong connection to our sub conscious mind. Having this connection to our sub conscious mind can allow us to problem solve, deal with deep seated emotional turmoil, understand why we may have some bad habits and heal.
Many neuroscientists have revealed the health benefits of meditation and have in fact mapped the brain waves during meditative states, proving that the brain, once thought to have been an unchangeable machine, can in fact re-wire itself….that, in this state the body can heal itself….from just about anything!
Meditation has been shown to have dramatic health benefits including;
- decreasing blood pressure
- reduction in stroke incidence
- reduction in cardiovascular disease
- decreases pain
- decreases depression, stress and anxiety
- increases levels of positive emotions
- reduction in inflammatory illness – at the cellular level
- increases volume of grey matter
- improves memory, focus and attention
With these amazing and proven health benefits, what’s not to like?
Meditation does not have to be sitting in lotus pose chanting!
You do not have to empty your mind or have no thoughts, but rather, sit comfortably…don’t lie down….you will likely go to sleep! And observe your mind, just sit back and breath.
You can meditate on your breath, your body or an issue.
You can meditate eyes open or closed.
You can use an object or a candle to hold your attention.
You do not have to meditate for hours on end, small practices often will serve you well.
There are many places that offer meditation retreats and instruction, maybe try one of these. There are a bunch of online instructions too.
I say for a start, keep it simple, keep it doable, schedule 10 minutes a day and settle in…your mind, body and soul will thank you!