WHY MEDITATE? A PATHWAY TO PEACE
NOTES ON A MEDITATION PRACTICE AND ITS POTENTIAL BENEFITS
Perhaps the most transformative and impactful personal practice one can adopt, and without any major investment in equipment or materials, is consistent daily meditation. Meditation can change our person and our being, allowing us to be more present to the moment and more resilient in the midst of stress. Even a single, short meditation can have an impact on state of mind and emotions, but the more one meditates, the more far reaching and sustained cognitive and behavioral changes will be. Improved brain function and greater focus flow from consistent practice.
The immediate benefits of meditation include calming the mind and body. Whether we hold tension in our facial muscles, shoulders or neck, or if we can't seems to quiet the overactive mind, a short guided meditation can help release that. Merely focusing awareness on our breath for ten seconds can quiet and center us. After sustained and continued practice, our levels of cortisol can decrease, which is a great benefit, as over time the cortisol produced by stress can damage body tissue and weaken the immune system. So we see benefits not only in the mind, but also in the body’s other systems and in its ability to heal. There is also an impact on our spiritual and emotional health, as meditation cultivates our abilities to witness our world with gentle and quiet indifference, and to acknowledge our oneness with the eternal and infinite universe. One may also find an increase in self-love and forgiveness as well, as forms of compassion begin to surface.
There are many ways to meditate, ranging from complete silence and stillness to ecstatic dancing and chanting. Guided meditation with a teacher can help focus the intention, and using a mantra can condition the monkey mind towards quietness. We can meditate anytime and anywhere by focusing our attention on the breath or using a mantra. With any of these methods, one can move towards and achieve an altered state, which is desired and useful in our development, but may interfere with activities such as driving or operating machinery. Please be careful while multitasking.
Some tips for daily meditation
Breathe into the forehead. Soften and relax the muscles in the forehead.
Place the tip of your tongue gently behind the two front upper teeth on the ridge of your gum, and relax the jaw.
If using an audio guide, make use of headphones for a more immersive experience.
If lying down for meditation, try using an acupressure mat to relieve muscle tension.
Find a dedicated time and place for your meditations. Early mornings are best for setting the tone for the day.
Prior to the mediation, take Lake of Dreams Sleep and Rest Aid for grounding and calm.
Here are a few accessible teachers that we have used to guide and inspire:
Jack Kornfield, Deepak Chopra, Davidji, Lacy Phillips, Joe Dispenza, Rudolf Steiner
and for kids:
Eline Snel, Lorraine E. Murray