We all deal with challenges, misadventures, and backfires in our walk through life. Sometimes the stress and strain of it all can veer us off course, so that we say and do things that would be better not said and done. In order to think beyond the details of life, some suggest meditation as a way to quiet the mind. Once considered as only a practice for yogis and religious leaders, meditation has become a popular way to engage in reflection and contemplation. Let’s take a closer look at the use of concentrated focus to achieve mental clarity and emotional balance.
Seldom do we sit and just BE. We are called human BEINGS, but with the rat-race and frenzy of today’s world, perhaps we should be called human DOINGS. While it is true that our body and mind rest and recuperate when we sleep, it’s just as important to recharge one’s mind when we are awake. During meditation, focus is shifted from external to internal so that one may only be somewhat aware of what is around him or her and more in tune with what is going on inside.
Meditation is certainly an ancient technique. Some report that the practice began in India – with wall art dating back to 5000 BCE depicting people in lotus-like positions with their eyes half-closed. Written records go back as far as 1500 BCE. Back in 500 BCE, Buddha’s teachings described meditation as we know it today.
The surroundings need to be quiet and peaceful so that an individual can focus on transforming the mind, overturning negative thoughts, removing anxiety and stress, and becoming mentally and emotionally clear. It’s not normally recommended that one sit on top of the roof of a high rise as the preferred location, but distractions and interruptions ought to be at a minimum.
For those who are inspired by sound, they may listen to gentle instrumental music or ambient background sounds. For those who are more visual, finding a video to view during the session for a guided meditation with inspirational photographs can be relaxing.
Deep meditation affects the brain in nine key brain areas. So what are the results? Some people who practice it indicate that they have less stress in their lives and more success and happiness. Others claim to sleep better, and when they are awake, they think more deeply and remember more. Some even claim that meditation increases IQ points. Those who meditate tend to look younger and live longer. Even weight loss has been attributed to the practice of meditation.
This practice can be tailored to each person so that one looks forward to a daily pause to reflect and refresh. By taking the time to chill in such a way, we can get to know our own mind. This ancient practice is used to train the mind, similar to how exercise is used to train the body. That doesn’t mean that meditation will change us to become a different person or a new person or even a better person. Instead, it’s a way for us to become more calm and mindful and to focus on the links between our brain with our mind and body and behavior.
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