What meditation does:
Meditation helps us overcome our manifold desires and distractions. It does so NOT by curbing desires - which will always be there - but by rendering them inconsequential in front of an unbroken and larger desire of existence. The more we can hold onto the memory of the meditation practice, the easier it is to pull yourself back from the endless desires.
Meditation teaches us to be a 'witness'. While we are meditating, we are detached and enjoying the moment. But the moment we finish, we lose it and return to our distracted state. So, we need to develop a meditative lifestyle. This lifestyle will help us observe and understand why we oscillate between the calm meditative state and our daily state of mind. We then understand what patterns of our lifestyle disturb our calm, blissful state.
Important prerequisite for meditation
for successful meditation, we must be 'grounded'. Normally, grounding can be anchoring to your breath or your body movement while in the meditative state. It can happen that as you proceed in meditation, you reach a stage of unknown where you have no confidence to proceed further. At such a time, grounding is of great help as it provides a memory of where you are and what you are doing. It provides a stability to rest upon as energies start to change while proceeding in meditation.
How to use meditation:
Be able to understand what is going on at our deeper levels. Only when we understand the issues can we tackle them and take them out as a distraction to our calm being.
In 'Antar Mouna' there is in meditation, we should develop the capacity to use our energy to manipulate our mind and how we feel. We should stages to do this.
In stage 1 we witness the sensory information.
In stage 2, we witness the spontaneous thoughts.
In stage 3, we create thoughts that need to be tackled.
Stage 4 deals with grappling with unconscious forces as they arise.
As you see, meditation is a time to work upon ourselves, to tackle issues that prevent us from being in a perpetual meditative state - one that is without fear, anxiety, insecurity and desire.
Once we develop a meditative state we can see the strongest of emotions for what they are and deal with them in a calm confident manner.
Benefits of meditation:
Mindfulness practices decreases depression
In a study conducted at five middle schools in Belgium, involving about 400 students (13 ~ 20 years old), Professor Filip Raes concludes that “students who follow an in-class mindfulness program report reduced indications of depression, anxiety and stress up to six months later. Moreover, these students were less likely to develop pronounced depression-like symptoms.”
Mindfulness meditation helps treat depression in mothers to be
High-risk pregnant women who participated in ten-week mindfulness yoga training saw significant reductions in depressive symptoms, according to a University of Michigan Health System pilot feasibility study. The mothers-to-be also showed more intense bonding to their babies in the womb. The findings were published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.
Meditation practices help regulate mood and anxiety disorders
This is also the conclusion of over 20 randomized controlled studies taken from PubMed, PsycInfo, and the Cochrane Databases, involving the techniques of Meditation, Meditative Prayer, Yoga, and Relaxation Response.
Meditation reduces stress and anxiety in general
Reduces the grey-matter density in areas of the brain related with anxiety and stress. Meditators were more able to “attend moment-to-moment to the stream of stimuli to which they are exposed and less likely to ‘get stuck’ on any one stimulus.
Meditation helps reduce symptoms of panic disorder3
In a research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 22 patients diagnosed with anxiety disorder or panic disorder was submitted to 3 months meditation and relaxation training. As a result, for 20 of those patients the effects of panic and anxiety had reduced substantially, and the changes were maintained at follow-up.
Meditation increases grey matter concentration in the brain
A group of Harvard neuroscientists ran an experiment where 16 people were submitted to an eight-week mindfulness course, using guided meditations and integration of mindfulness into everyday activities. The results were reported by Sara Lazar, PhD. At the end of it, MRI scans show that the grey matter concentration increases in areas of the brain involved in learning and memory, regulating emotions, sense of self, and having perspective.
Meditation acutely improves psychomotor vigilance, and may decrease sleep need
On a research conducted by the University of Kentucky, participants were tested on four different conditions: Control (C), Nap (N), Meditation (M) and Sleep Deprivation plus Meditation. Non-meditators, novice meditators and experienced meditators were part of the experiment. The results suggest that:
“Meditation provides at least a short-term performance improvement even in novice meditators. In long term mediators’, multiple hours spent in meditation are associated with a significant decrease in total sleep time when compared with age and sex matched controls who did not meditate. Whether meditation can actually replace a portion of sleep or pay-off sleep debt is under further investigation.”
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