Meditation is the journey inwards, away from the hustle and bustle of the world out there.
It is a journey of self-discovery or, better put, re-discovery, of getting to know ourselves in a deeper way.
Meditation is time taken for quiet reflection and silence. It enables us, as a tree battered and blown in a gale, to come back to feeling upright, to a centred place of being.
With our lives, in this modern world, running at ever faster paces, we are losing touch with our true selves, our inner peace and source of personal power.
When we no longer feel rooted or grounded, we experience ourselves pushed and pulled in all directions. Then we experience stress and a feeling of being powerless or trapped, caught up in existing rather than living.
Over time, the high levels of cortisol produced by the stress, physiologically leads to inner inflammation and fire, to illness and dis-ease, as our mental, emotional and physical health is thrown out of balance.
Meditation helps bring us back into balance, to peace and calm.
What is meditation?
The word meditation, is from two Latin words : meditari(to think, to dwell upon, to exercise the mind) and mederi (to heal). Its Sanskrit derivation 'medha' means wisdom. Wise, thinking, healer! I like!
Meditation means awareness. Whatever you do with awareness is meditation. "Watching your breath" is meditation; the Japanese as they engage their tea ceremonmy are performing an act of meditation, listening to the birds is meditation, watching the waves roll in is meditation. My dear old dad did it whilst fishing and gardening, mum whilst knitting and baking.
As long as an activity frees you from any other distraction to the mind, it is effective meditation.
Meditation is not a pink, fluffy technique for some. It is for all!
It is NOT hard concentration, trying hard to still the mind, loss of control, great mental effort, exercises (there are different methods) or wild “woo woo.”
It is a way of life and transcends religions, cultures, and lifestyles and comes in many forms for many purposes.
It can help you too.
Meditation can literally change your brain. Read more ...
Regular meditation cultivates many benefits:-
Immune system. Inside your body there is an amazing protection mechanism called the immune system, an army of cells if you like, designed to defend you against armies of millions of environmental bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins and parasites that attempt to invade your body. Meditation increases activity of 'natural-killer cells', which kill bacteria and cancer cells, and is known to keep your immune system strong and so is good for recovering cancer patients, for offering resistance to tumours and viruses, and for warding off many other medical conditions.
Anti-inflammatory People who suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, skin conditions such as psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, and asthma -- in which psychological stress plays a major role -- may benefit from the regular practice of meditation. It helps prevent and treat such symptoms by switching off the body’s stress response.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Research shows that patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and who meditate twice a day (10 – 20 minutes each time), their symptoms of tummy swelling, bloating, diarrhea and constipation improve significantly. Additionally, the more we meditate the more we make wiser more conscious decisions so we are likely to begin to eat foods that are right for our body.
Blood Pressure Meditation helps maintain healthy blood pressure. It lowers high blood pressure by, in a similar way to blood pressure-lowering medication. As people learn to relax with regular meditation, and in addition to any other necessary lifestyle changes needed, the body become less responsive to stress hormones, and so reduces high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Since high blood pressure / hypertension contributes to the major causes of disease and death, including heart disease, heart attack, stroke and kidney failure, anything that can help maintain a healthy blood pressure is to be welcomed and because the body is in such a relaxed state during meditation, it requires up to 20% less oxygen, thus helping the person be calm and relaxed, thus allowing the body to heal.
Female Fertility Australian studies have also shown that women who meditate regularly, thus becoming more calm and at peace, are more likely to conceive during periods when they are relaxed rather than stressed. Whilst over in Turkey, research shows that stress reduces the male sperm count suggesting that relaxation, achieved by regular meditation, may also boost male fertility.
Emotions When our emotions are in balance and harmony, we free ourselves of all the crazy, neurotic behaviours that torture and traumatise us. It is impossible to train out emotions through logical thinking so meditation helps to cure such neurosis and unhealthy emotional states. As one’s consciousness is cleansed of emotionally soaked memories and negative conditioning, not only does great freedom abound, but also greater balance.
Calmness and Peace The simple difference between those who meditate and those who don't, is that for a meditating mind thoughts are simply noticed and given no attachment. With a meditating person, an upsetting thought can occur, but it is just another thought, seen as such and allowed to be there and dissolve, while in the non-meditating mind the thought stokes a fire which rages, often for days. As we heal through meditation we create peace, as we create peace, we heal some more.
A candle meditation with music
Switch off the above meditation before listening to the instructional video below.
Simple "how to" meditate on a candle
The producer of the above candle flame meditation, Gregory Reese, has an excellent series of videos as follows:-
Part 1 - The Sitting Posture
Part 2 - Deep Breathing
Part 3 - Alternate Nostril Breathing
Part 4 - Mantra Meditation
Part 5 - Candle Flame Meditation
Part 6 - Empathy Meditation
With practice - the truer your meditation becomes
If you light a candle and remove all the objects surrounding it, the candle will still go on "candling", giving light. Similarly, if you dissolve all objects from your consciousness, all thoughts, all imaginings, all ruminations, what will happen? – only consciousness will remain.
That pure state of consciousness is true meditation. You cease to meditate on somebody or something.
Meditation is a state where only consciousness remains.
How else does meditation help?
It calms how you respond to stress.
It is cumulative in its benefits and helps even when you're not actively practising it.
It aids your creativity, concentration, and attention and can make your exam results better, work more effective.
It changes the brain in a protective way resulting in brain changes that can be protective against mental illness.
It helps the brain better process pain and emotions
It helps you be less judgmental, more self-aware, a better listener, more understanding and compassionate.
It could make going through serious illness just a little less stressful.
It can help alleviate feelings of loneliness
It can herald more purposefulness
It lowers depression risk among pregnant women and teenagers.
It supports weight-loss and other health goals.
It helps you sleep better.
It helps you get to know your true self.
It makes you an all-round good egg – well, a better person at least!
Raja Yoga Meditation
According to raja yoga meditation the soul has three main faculties; the mind or consciousness, the intellect, and the subconscious.
The aim of raja yoga meditation is to understand the self and the mind, which is not to be confused with intellectual understanding.
Thoughts flow from your sub-conscious mind to your conscious mind. Based on the thoughts, you form feelings. If you are thinking, “I hate this” then the primary feelings will be of dislike and maybe hate, frustration and perhaps anger …stemming from that one thought.
Your state of mind at any given moment is determined by your thoughts and the associated feelings. To change your feelings, get to know your thoughts and change them.
Since your sub consciousness contains all your previous thoughts and experiences, it is necessary to selectively control the flow of thoughts that emerges from the sub conscious mind.
You can do this as follows:-
Become aware of your state of mind and of the thoughts that flow into your mind.
Strengthen your intellect by allowing henceforth only positive and peaceful thoughts to flow into the mind.
Influence your sub-conscious by repeating positive words and phrases.
Do the following by taking time out say for ten minutes or so to meditate consciously, perhaps twice a day, or more often if you can.
Find a place as quiet as possible where you can sit erect or lie down comfortably.
Close your eyes.
Notice your breathing for a couple of minutes, allowing the in and out breaths to help you relax. Perhaps on each out breath, say softly, relax.
Imagine you now see from a point behind your third eye, that is, the eye that is just above the bridge of the nose, on the brow.
Repeat, sometimes silently, sometimes inside your head, various words or phrases and imagine these are beaming out from the third eye as positive energy.
Sometimes just repeat the word peace, peace, peace, until you feel peace infill and enfold you. The more you do this, the easier it becomes.
Or instead, just say repeatedly, “I am a person of peace, I am a peaceful person, peace infills and enfolds me,” again until you feel the peace.
You can also choose from powerful, positive, energy words such as calm, content, compassionate, strong, Loving, forgiving, understanding.
Advance by having times when you include those words into phrases which help you achieve the state you desire.
Sometimes, I may opt for longer phrases, often as I awake and begin my day:-
I am a peaceful soul
My intention today is to radiate peace to every person that I meet or think about.
My mind is filled with peace (or calm, or contentment, or Love, happiness – whatever seems right for you in the moment)
As these peaceful thoughts arise in my awareness, I feel stillness and silence infilling my mind
I am a peaceful soul
I am a peaceful loving soul
I am a person of positive, peaceful, spiritual energy
My mind feels light and free
My true nature is peace
Deep at the centre of my being, there is only peace
I am a star of peace
I am a being of light shining like a star, radiating peace and light to the world
Sometimes I do the above “on the move” – repetitions in the shower, on the train, whilst cooking, whilst walking, whilst swimming.
You can find more on the website of the Brahma Kumaris.
Search for an App which will provide simple meditations for you to do discretely
wherever you are. Click on the picture opposite to take you to Simple Habit (we are
not affiliated in any way with Simple Habit, we simply offer their site as an example.)
Mindfulness and Meditation
A really simple
Dan Harris &
Why meditating for 11 minutes
can bring benefits now
There's NO excuse not to meditate.
As you can see from this page, there are many ways. Seek and find one that works for you.
The deeper you commit to meditation, the more you meditate, then the more into a deep experience of awareness you go, into a level of consciousness that is unconditional joy, unconditional bliss, unconditional happiness.
All other benefits of meditation – clarity of thought, feeling calm, managing stress, treating pain, aiding sleep etc are desirable, but are the tip of the iceberg.
Meditation takes you deeper, beyond seeing, beyond the conscious
mind, beyond thinking, beyond emotion, beyond the physical,
beyond the mental.
It pulls you into joy beyond thinking.
Kip Mazuy, of Bliss Music, has been my “go to” source for inspiration
And he is the composer of some astounding meditation tracks.