Benefits Of Meditation:
Where Do I Start?

Before delving into the benefits of meditation, it would be useful to first address what meditation is not. So here are things meditation is not:

  • Asking the mind to find a solution about a particular problem. To meditate, you have to go beyond thought.
  • It is not hypnosis or autosuggestion. Although this may sound appealing, especially to beginners, meditation is about leaving behind your identification with the content of your mind. It is not a way to programme or manipulate the mind.
  • It does not belong to any particular religion although many religious followers use it.
  • It is not the magic that will bring instant peace into your life
  • You do not need to be professionally taught to do it

What Is Meditation?

The actual word meditation is derived from two Latin words that mean to 'exercise the mind' and 'heal'. So meditation heals both body and mind.

I liken the mind and its thoughts to a water sprinkler. Meditation is like turning the water down until the water is no longer spraying everywhere but rather coming out in controlled way. So any time you become so absorbed into something that you become unaware of time, then you are meditating.

The deciding factor is that the activity or non-activity is free from any distraction of the mind. It could be listening to music to the extent that you can feel every note, almost as if you have become part of the music.

What are Benefits Of Meditation

They are numerous; psychological, physiological and spiritual.

Psychological Benefits Of Meditation

  • Increased Productivity - when you do something and you are completely focused on it. The quality of whatever you produce improves.
  • Eagle-eye perspective - you realise your limited mind perspective is not the whole picture. So instances are trivial in view of the larger picture.
  • Decrease in restless thinking - you stop repetitive habitual thinking and start actually questioning your thoughts.
  • Helps make more accurate judgements - you focus on the facts and deal with them only without any emotional attachment or reaction.
  • Greater tolerance - you start realising that others are not 'out to get you' but rather are just acting out of habit.

Physiological Benefits Of Meditation

  • Decreased high blood pressure.
  • Increased blood flow and slow the heart rate.
  • Decreased muscle tension - when you are meditating you relax, your muscles which instantly make you feel calm.
  • Enhanced the immune system - Stress has long been recognised as contributing to ill health. Meditation helps you deal with stressed situation better.
  • Decreased aging process- Younger biological age compared with your chronological age

Spiritual Benefits Of Meditation

  • Realisation of your purpose in life - that you are a unique, magnificent human being: a child of the universe. You have a right to be here. You are here to realise your nature perfectly!!!!
  • Synchronises body, mind, spirit in harmony
  • Changes attitude toward life. When you start getting the benefits of meditation, you stop taking yourself too seriously.
  • Help you live in the now - You realise the power you have is only in the NOW. When your mind is clear, and feels calm, there is no limit to what you can achieve.
  • Helps you attain spiritual enlightenment - you realise that you are part of a connected universe and whose wisdom you can tap in.

Why Meditate?

It is a very important skill to master . The ones listed are only a few of the benefits of meditation. It is free, so it is available to everyone. You don't need to be in any special place to do it, just chose a type of meditation that fits into your life style.

It is a simple process to learn, although to get the maximum benefits you need to have regular practice. You can allow some much time for it as your schedule allows. Once you start and persist with it, you will be surprised to find yourself wanting to do it.

How Do You Meditate

There are different types of meditation. Some are more suited to beginners and others to those with years of practice. There are really 3 basic steps to meditating:

    Step 1

    Find a quite place where you will not be disturbed and make yourself comfortable.

    Step 2

    Breathe deeply. In through your nose and out through your mouth. Concentrate on your breathing and repeat the breathing until there is only the breathing which should happen in 5 - 10 minutes. If you find other thoughts coming in, don't try to control them just watch them. Then return to your breathing.

    Step 3

    Keep concentrating and at first you will feel quick waves of calmness. Their length will increase if your mind does not wander.

Difficulties During Meditation

    You Can't Focus

    When you first start practicing mediation, you may find it difficult to concentrate even for a minute. Don't worry about this. It is natural; with practice your capacity to focus the mind will increase.

    Can't Get Comfortable

    You may become uncomfortable after a little while. I found sitting cross legged quite uncomfortable so I started by just sitting comfortable in a chair if my schedule allowed.

    I found on busy days that waking up a few minutes early was a good time for meditation. It set me up for the day. Sometimes, I meditated lying in bed just before falling asleep.

    So dress comfortably and get in a position that is comfortable and you will be able to sustain for 15-20 minute or as time allows.

    Too Much Expectation

    Don't expect meditation to solve your problems and it is not canned peace. If you go into meditation with expectation, you will not be relaxed enough to enjoy the benefits of meditation.

    Just go with the attitude 'whatever will be will be’ because that is all it can be. Otherwise, meditation becomes a chore and the value is lost.

    Trial and Error

    The first meditation technique may not be right for you. But persist but it is not 'working' for then try another one. I always advocate trial and error until you find the one that works for you. Go on a meditation testing spree.

Life Style Change

Maximum benefits of meditation are attained by striving to make the rest of your life as conscious as possible. The more you lead a Jackal and Hyde existence, the more difficult it is to calm your thoughts, focus and to get maximum benefits from meditation.

To bring consciousness into your life you need to find answers to the following questions:

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