Meditation is seen by a number of researchers as potentially one of the most effective forms of stress reduction. While many stress reduction techniques have been cultivated and studied in the West for approximately 70 years, they are not consistently effective.
Meditation has been developed in Eastern cultures and has a documented history for more than several thousand years. Techniques have been developed and refined over thousands of generations with the specific intention of developing a method by which the layperson can regularly attain a state of mental peace and tranquility, i.e. relief from stress. It is a strategy that can easily be adapted to the needs of doctors and their patients in the West.
Meditation is the art of silencing the mind. When the mind is
silent, concentration is increased and we experience inner peace in the midst
of worldly turmoil. This elusive inner peace is what attracts so many people to
meditation and is a quality everyone can benefit from.
Many people like the idea of
meditation, but feel they don’t have enough time. When you really want to do
something you can find time. Get up earlier or watch 20 minutes less TV.
Meditation requires an investment of time, but clearing the mind makes the rest
of the day more productive. Nothing is better than the feeling of inner peace.
What is the point in being tremendously busy but unable to enjoy it? Meditation
is not about retreating from the world; it gives us inspiration. Whatever you
do, if you have peace of mind, your work will be more enjoyable and productive.
1) Reduces stress:
2) Reduces anxiety and depression:
In fact, it has been used as a means to treat these conditions without medication in cases which were not so severe.
3) Helps us feel less bothered by little things:
Do you sometimes allow yourself to get upset by little things? It is the nature of the mind to magnify small things into serious problems. Meditation helps us detach. We learn to live in the here and now, rather than worrying about the past or future. We do not worry about meaningless things but tell the mind to dismiss them.
More about the benefits of meditation can be found here
Like anything worthwhile, meditation requires practice. To get the
most from meditation you need to do it every day. This requires a place and
time where you will not be disturbed.
One Pointed Concentration
However you learn to meditate, you must learn to concentrate on one thing at a time. Usually, the mind tries to hold several different thoughts and ideas at once. When you sit down to meditate for the first time, you realize how cluttered the mind is. Meditation teachers have described the mind as a “mad monkey”. However, the mind can be tamed and forced to concentrate on a single thought.
One helpful technique is concentrating on a candle flame. Narrow your gaze to the small tip and block out all other thoughts. When you get distracted, go back to focusing on the candle flame. You can also use other objects like a small dot or flower. The important thing is that you concentrate only on one thing at a time.
Another way to learn concentration is through the use of mantra. A mantra is the repetition of a sacred word. For example, you might repeat the mantra AUM a certain number of times. Repeating a mantra forces the mind to focus on a single thought.
After you’ve practiced concentration and learned to focus on one thing at a time, you can proceed to the next stage: no thought at all. Achieving a silent mind is difficult, but when to attain it the experience is powerful. A technique I advise is viewing your thoughts as separate from your self. When a thought appears, make a conscious decision to throw it out of your mind. Over time you realize that you are capable of allowing or rejecting thoughts. Your real “I” is not a collection of thoughts, but something far deeper. This is the most significant realization of meditation – that you do not have to be a slave to your thoughts.
Through meditation, you attain the power to control your thoughts, and on occasion stop them completely. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t attain a silent mind straightaway. It takes time and practice. There is nothing really else to it; meditation is a simple and spontaneous action.