Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years in all major cultures and religions. Originally designed to deepen one’s understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life, meditation was commonly practiced to produce a deep state of relaxation and tranquility. Today it is also considered a type of mind-body complimentary medicine that is highly relevant in managing stress, as well as promoting self-awareness and well-being.
Meditation is a simple natural process that begins with withdrawing attention from the outside world and directing it inwards to a chosen point of focus. To meditate is to become still and to enter into a peaceful state by focusing the mind on “some-thing”. We can choose to focus on peace, love, light, divine flow or different states of consciousness. Once we bring the mind under control in a continuous flow, we can become one with that which we are meditating upon while maintaining awareness of the present moment.
Practicing meditation is a process of becoming more familiar with the mind that helps us to develop insight into how we think and feel. Therefore, being completely open to experience when we meditate is important. We already have a personal world view of how things exist and why people interact the way they do, however meditation can open our minds to a new levels of understanding and clarity by shifting our perspective.
Meditation can help us to find stability and calmness within ourselves. It gradually frees us from our restless desires, habitual patterns, disturbing thoughts and the roller coaster of emotional reactions. It’s a proven fact that breath and mind are directly related to each other. When we meditate our breathing slows down, resulting in the greater ability to control our mental and emotional faculties in a calm and relaxed manner.
A true meditative state is achieved when we experience a profound deep peace that occurs when the mind is calm and silent yet completely alert and aware. The purpose of meditation practice is to elicit a clear state of consciousness and facilitate spiritual growth.
The positive psychological influences of meditation are widely recognized around the world. Research shows that when meditative practice is included into one’s routine, positive changes in self-esteem occur naturally and the desire for wholesome values such as healthy life style and personal growth are more fully nurtured and enhanced. Other benefits of meditating regularly include:
- enhanced physical and mental/emotional well-being
- improved concentration and cognitive function
- increased self-awareness
- focus on the present moment
- better ability to manage stress
- more positive outlook on life
- improved interpersonal relationships
- interconnectedness with nature and the world around us
Designed to quiet the mind in the midst of the stress and distractions of everyday life, meditation has the unique ability to connect us with our inner source of being and bring different aspects of ourselves into focus and balance.