Meditation

“Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.”

— Eckhart Tolle, Contemporary Spiritual Teacher

 

Although meditation is a seemingly daunting idea to practice and master it is truly one of the most rewarding and life changing activities that anyone can explore and ultimately use to expand their life experience.

Below you will find the definition of meditation, a discussion of the many benefits of using meditation in your everyday life and then a description of a few different meditation techniques.

Meditation – Definition

What it isn’t…

It’s not a religion

It’s doesn’t require special skills or talents or equipment

It doesn’t require a lot of time each day

It doesn’t make your problems go away

You don’t have to quit wanting things or always think positive

It’s not self-centered to meditate; you’ll just get to know yourself better

What it is…

Meditation – Has been around for thousands of years

Meditation and medicine come from the same Sanskrit root word meaning: to take the measure of; and to care for

Definition

To ponder, to contemplate, being in the moment, focusing the mind and going beyond it

How does it work?

Recent scientific studies have proven that meditation can bring about significant physiological changes in the brain that translates into improved health, mood and behavior.

In 2010 a Harvard University and Massachusetts General study concluded that after an eight-week period meditators showed growth in the hippocampus, where memory and learning happen, and shrinkage in the amygdala, where stress levels are measured.

Quieting our minds allows us to transcend the reptilian brian and tap into the prefrontal cortex – where we experience joy, creativity, innovation, love and compassion for others.

Technically speaking, meditation decreases stress-induced cortisol secretion that allows for the elevation of BDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor that facilitates neurogenesis and ultimately increases brain gray matter density – which is responsible for high-level information processing.

Benefits of Meditation – Physical, Psychological & Spiritual

Prevention – Decreases risk factors for:

Heart disease

Stroke

High blood pressure

Obesity

Healing – Helps the body and mind to heal naturally by increasing serotonin levels and reducing blood lactate levels

Enhances the immune system

Slows the aging process

Decreases pain levels in the body

Lessens depression, headaches and insomnia

Improves breathing function with increased lung and heart efficiency

Reduces anxiety attacks

Clarity – Practiced regularly – achieve a higher state of consciousness

Scientifically proven positive psychological changes occur to the brain

Gain control over a hyperactive state of mind

Fewer moments of sluggishness, drowsiness and haziness

Increased levels of concentration

Energy – Increased levels of energy, strength and vitality

Dramatically builds self confidence and self esteem

Improves decision-making and problem solving

Helps resolve phobias and fears

Peace – Achieve a sense of inner peace, happiness and creativity

Helps to develop intuition

You become a more compassionate human being, especially toward yourself

Types of Practices

Concentration – Focus on an object, your breath, a mantra, prayers, visualization

Contemplation – Being aware of thoughts or images, being mindful

Expressive – Walking, Dance, Chanting, Yoga, Running, Showering

Who Practices

Began as Spiritual Practice – Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Taoist

1950’s introduced as a practice for stress reduction, relaxation and self- improvement

Over 20 million US adults meditate – per the most recent census statistics

How to get started

Make a commitment to yourself

Choose a place where you won’t be disturbed and you feel safe

What to wear – anything comfortable

Consistent time

Posture – legs, back, arms/hands, head, eyes, jaw – be comfortable

Always remember, you can start over, your next breath, your next session or even tomorrow

Practice mini moments of mindfulness throughout the day

Keep a journal

Guided Meditation

Listen to a CD or click here

Relax and go within

The more comfortable you are, the deeper you can go

Silent Meditation

Many, many different techniques

Focus on your breath

Release and repeat