Today, we live in a fast paced world. More often than not, we do not have the opportunity to react to things thrown at us. We have lost the ability to think things through and have to make decisions of the speed of light. But it should not be this way. Each of us needs to slow the pace down at times to function efficiently. Otherwise, we get stressed and lose the ability to deal with the people around us, not only at work but also at home.
The practice of meditation is a way for us to slow things down and focus our minds until they are quiet enough to cope with the stress of daily life. Some may think that meditation is a very religious practice. It is true that many religions, especially the east, take meditation as an integral part of their practice but this is not necessarily the case. People meditate for a variety of reasons.
Although we have already mentioned that it helps us to be calm in this busy world, people meditate for health reasons and to achieve a higher state of consciousness, among others. So if you think that life stresses you out, it’s probably time for you to do things at a slower pace. Meditation can calm your mind and help you to let go of stress and hassles. Meditation will improve concentration and focus.
On the Internet, there are a number of sites that have video-sharing, gaming sites and other sites for our entertainment. While there is nothing wrong with entertainment, there is a problem with our constant need for distraction. For this reason, it is difficult for us to focus on one thing. We do not have to take extreme measures to help us focus. Meditation can do the job for us.
There are several ways that meditation can do this for us. One is through breathing exercises. Even an exercise as simple as being aware of of the number of times we inhale and exhale can improve our ability to concentrate. Although it may seem easy, it is can be very difficult in practice, especially when we have to deal with distractions like the noise or feeling uncomfortable.
Another method is by reciting a mantra. A mantra is a phrase or a melody that is repeated over and over again. For example, saying to youself, om when you breath in and hum when you breath out. The repetition becomes a centre for the person’s attention and concentration. The mantra helps distract you from thoughts of desires, problems or worries.
By breathing deeply into the somach and swelling out the belly and repeating a mantra, a person’s heart rate slows down, resulting in a relaxed atmosphere. Breathing is also has an important role when a person strives to improve his / her concentration.
Meditation is a state of relaxed awareness where we remain detached from our thoughts and simply observe them like waves on the surface of a pond. By observing our thoughts and not getting caught up in them they eventually slow down and can stop altogether.
This gives us a rest from the constant flow of thoughts about a want, need, problems or solutions. Thoughts are perceived as ‘waves of perception’ which are separate from who we really are which is a conscious being, or knower or witness
Meditation can benefit you mentally, physically and spiritually. Mental benefits are that you are able to rest the mind and find peace and calm. This reduces thoughts which stress or depress us.
It can also help us get to sleep if we suffer from . Creativity, learning ability and memory are also improves through the practice of meditation. Overall, our level of happiness and emotional health improves. It is even said that we can gain insight into underlying problems which we may be unaware of during the normal waking state.
Physical benefits of meditation include improved breathing and health of the heart. Studies have shown that levels of blood pressure and cholesterol drop from long term meditation practice. Meditation can also help releive chronic pain by directing attention away from the pain. For example, by meditating on waves crashing on the beach the mind is distracted from constant sources of pain.
Spiritual benefits include coming to terms with our own mortality. Through the study of meditation we come to realize that we are not our mind or our body but a conscious life force. We are part of the life force of the planet with no birth and no death. Such realization is part of the attainment of nivana or enlightenment. Self-realization is the realization of the self which is separate from the mind and the body. The self is consciousness or awareness which is immortal and blissful.