First off, I think it is important to define the term due to the mass confusion surrounding the act of meditation. Meditation simply put is a deep and profound peace that occurs while the mind is silent, yet completely alert. Meditation is a state of thoughtless awareness. It is not an act of doing- It is merely a state of awareness. Truly, one person could be in a meditative state while completing daily work duties, while another could be very far from meditation while sitting quietly in a lotus position on top of a mountain for hours. Now that we have discussed the simple truth of what meditation is, let’s take a look at what meditation isn’t. Meditation is not an act of religious worship. While meditation is incorporated in some religious philosophies such as Baha’i and Buddhism, meditation- the art of awareness can be practiced by any
yone from religious cats and spiritual folk to the good ‘old atheists. A peaceful, silent and aware mind has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with stress reduction and self -awareness. While a person does not need to identify with any particular group to meditate, an open mind is definitely a desirable trait to get started with. Meditation is not a state of mind that can only be achieved by gurus or enlightened people. Personally, I underwent a full year of hour-long nightly meditation in 2008. I taught myself to meditate and incorporated bits of energy balancing visualizations that had been introduced briefly in my college courses. I basically winged it, and within a few months I was arriving in a mental, emotional and physical headspace that I knew without a doubt was the silent, peaceful awareness I was aiming for.
Now that we have demystified meditation to some degree, let’s take a look at some of the amazing health benefits that one can obtain through regular meditation. The following information is presented in a recent Harvard University study. State of mind affects the human body on a physical and genetic level, as
Far more “disease fighting genes” were active in practitioners of yoga and meditation, compared to those who practiced no form of relaxation. For example, in the meditating sample group, the “disease fighting genes” that were “turned on” protect against pain, infertility, high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis. Harvard then asked a separate control group to practice relaxation methods (meditation, yoga, mantras or repetitive prayer) every day for 15 minutes, and at the two-month mark, bodies changed. Genes that fight inflammation, kill diseased cells and protect against cancer began to “switch on”. Harvard lists the benefits experienced by the test group after two months of daily relaxation techniques, which are:
- Emotional Balance
- Increased Fertility
- Improved IBS
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Reduced or cured inflammation
In short, meditation does not discriminate. Anyone looking to gain the amazing physical, mental, spiritual and emotional benefits of meditation can, in roughly two months if practiced correctly. The following is a meditation exercise you can get started with today. What are you waiting for? health and wellness are just around the corner.
Body Scan Meditation
Lie on your back with your legs uncrossed, your arms at your sides, palms up, and your eyes open or closed, as you wish. Focus on your Breathing, how the air moves in and out of your body. After several deep breaths, as you begin to feel comfortable and relaxed, direct your attention to the toes of your left foot. Tune into any sensations in that part of your body while remaining aware of your Breathing. It often helps to imagine each breath flowing to the spot where you're directing your attention. Focus on your left toes for one to two minutes.
Then move your focus to the sole of your left foot and hold it there for a minute or two while continuing to pay attention to your breathing. Follow the same procedure as you move to your left ankle, calf, knees, thigh, hip and so on all around the body. Pay particular attention to any areas that cause pain or are the focus of any medical condition (for Asthma, the lungs; for Diabetes, the pancreas). Pay particular attention to the head: the jaw, chin, lips, tongue, roof of the mouth, nostrils, throat, cheeks, eyelids, eyes, eyebrows, forehead, temples and scalp.
Finally, focus on the very top of your hair, the uppermost part of your body. Then let go of the body altogether, and in your mind, hover above yourself as your breath reaches beyond you and touches the universe.
This exercise was contributed by: www.holistic-online.com.