Benefits of Meditation

Many cultures and belief systems across the globe have practised meditation.  Various types of meditation are evident, for example visualisation, meditation with the breath, chant/mantra etc. etc.  Different traditions have laid emphasis upon different aspects of meditation, be it calming the breath, mental focus or in some belief systems as a form of prayer.

We can also focus upon the very individual aspects of meditation through personal connection.  Within the Western world there is seemingly much stress, chaos and disease within our lives or the world around us.  Meditation has gained interest as it brings in a quality of stillness and calm within an often chaotic world.  It could be described as reflecting, contemplating or pondering upon at a higher level

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So why meditate?

  • The body and mind are linked through thoughts and feelings. When we meditate we relax the body, therefore the nervous system can become at rest. This allows the systems of the body to function at an optimum, such as the digestive system, respiratory and circulatory system. Often in life, stress is placed upon the body and mind due to the pressures of everyday life. Meditating allows for physical rest and recuperation, this helps support the immune system to buffer our physical health
  • As the body and mind are linked, whilst the body is in a state of relaxation, the mind also calms and vice versa. Meditation allows for the gentle letting go of busy thoughts, so that the person can feel a sense of harmony and balance. Thus, when we engage with our every day activities, we have a sense of clarity and clearer perspective. Too often in life we juggle responsibilities and decisions; by stepping back we can look upon the situation with a fresh perspective. Meditation helps us to do this and regain a healthy focus.
  • Meditation supports to balance the emotions as well as the body and mind. Often people question if they can meditate when they are feeling stressed, angry or upset. However, it can be valuable at these times of crisis to sit quietly and go within. It is not to say that you are avoiding the powerful emotions that are apparent. By acknowledging the feeling, but then understanding that this is how you feel within this moment can shift your understanding of the emotion.
  • By becoming quiet in meditation at this time can assist in either calming the emotion or releasing it. It is not that we are trying to solve or avoid our problems whilst meditating, but by bringing in a higher perspective we can support a shift in understanding, which can have a bearing on our emotional wellbeing. The higher perspective through meditation is achieved as this practise allows for the two hemispheres of the brain to effectively ‘talk to each other.’ One side of the brain relates to logic and the other side relates to intuition. Often in life we are required to use our logic to complete tasks and solve problems both at work and at home. However, intuition is also an ability that we have but don’t always use. Intuition can be seen through creativity, such as in art or music. It is the ability to gain insight and connect upon a deeper level without using mental reasoning or processing.
  • Connecting to the higher self (or soul) through meditation can bring insight and inspiration into life. For example, it may be the idea of a project or a solution to a problem, that you were not aware of mentally that can manifest through meditation in unexpected ways. Creativity can be enhanced, due to this connection to the intuition, so that your true talents or skills can be encouraged and progressed.
  • By connecting to the higher self, you can be guided to follow your true purpose in life. At the centre point of stillness and silence within meditation, the aspect of the self that is free from physical constraints becomes apparent. Sometimes we forget that our true nature is one of peace and harmony in the journey of life. By connecting to this innate stillness and silence we begin to recognise our true values. We begin to realise that by connecting in this way we are not distancing ourselves from others, but are connecting to an aspect of ourselves that is shared by all. Thus, we can radiate this both within and without.
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Through regular mediation (10 or 15 minutes each day is fine), we continue to deepen this connection to the higher self, and life can then become more meaningful and purposeful. Too often we may attach to material possessions, negative media and people, which can affect our happiness and sense of security. Meditation allows the space to be truly at one with ourselves, our contacts and the world in which we live.

Meditating in the morning is generally suggested; when we have just awoken, as our minds tend to be quieter before we begin the activities of the day. Also, by meditating in the morning, it is easier not to make excuses by saying I will meditate later, where distractions over the day can hinder this good intention! Of course, if it is easier for you to meditate at an alternative time of day or evening, that is fine, if you can do this as a regular practise. By meditating at the same time each day, the body and mind gets into a rhythm or habit, much like brushing our teeth or having our breakfast. However, if you miss a day, no need to worry, you can simply reconnect the next day. We nurture the physical aspects of ourselves routinely, so why not nurture the spiritual aspects of ourselves.

Meditation takes practise and commitment; a very busy mind can be difficult to quieten. With continued practise, however, this becomes easier. It may help you to focus on the breath for a few moments to calm the mind and body, or to listen to some gentle music in the beginning. There are some simple meditations on this site which you can try.

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In summary, meditation can relax the body, calm the mind, balance the emotions and bring in higher insight and creativity to the individual. 

Meditation can progress, so that connecting in this way becomes natural and integrated, as a positive way of life.

When practiced regularly this can support the individual to grow and bring in a higher awareness within their environment so that they begin to know themselves and others more deeply

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