We heard this a lot: “Meditate! It will bring joy into your life!” And most people only get confused, because they wonder, how can sitting still and doing literally nothing change their life?
“In the same way that rain breaks into a house with a bad roof, desire breaks into the mind that has not been practicing meditation.” Buddha
There are all kinds of miracles connected to the act of meditation, from expanding some peoples’ life span, to spiritual awakenings.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a breathing technique, in a way.
It’s a process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. I don’t need to explain why this is crucial to a happy life.
We don’t really know when did people start meditating, but it has all probably started in the East, thousands of years ago, probably with the early shamans. The English word “meditation” stems from meditatum, a Latin term that means “to ponder.”
There are all kinds of meditation now, but the one people are usually practicing is Buddhist meditation. There are also Chinese, Hindu, and even Christian meditation techniques. There are so many of them.
They say you should meditate based on how old you are: your years will be the number of minutes that you should spend meditating.
Benefits of meditation
“The thing about meditation is: You become more and more you.” David Lynch
Before we start, we should note that meditation is good for 3 major things: overall well-being, for body and health condition, and for increasing mind abilities.
- It reduces stress. All kinds of scientific researches prove this. Not only that it reduces stress, but it also helps with coping with other mental illnesses, such as panic disorders, anxiety. Not only does meditation reduces stress, but also does it increase resilience to it.
- It may decrease the need for sleep. The research about this is conducted by the University of Kentucky.
- It helps with coping with substance abuse.
- It improves focus and makes you more productive.
- Meditation relieves physical pain, and reduces cortisol production! Cortisol is a hormone which the body produces in stressful situations. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre did the study about this.
We found a big effect – about a 40 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 57 pe reduction in pain unpleasantness. Meditation produced a greater reduction in pain than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25 percent.” – Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., leader of the study.
- It boosts memory and brain activity. It even grows your brain (both in volume and thickness), and increases blood flow to your brain!.
- It increases self-awareness, mindfulness and being present at any time. People usually think about the past, or the future, instead of living a life. The past is gone, we cannot change it, and the future is always unknown.
- meditation helps you “meet you”. By this, I mean that people usually don’t pay attention to what they truly are, thinking like “I am me, I must know myself,” which is totally false.
- It reduces the risk of all kinds of diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases. It reduces blood pressure as well.
- It can make you more social, loving and it may help you understand people better. This is logical. Deep breathing calms the body, and when the body is calm, the mind gets calm as well.
- It increases positive emotions. This is simply due to stress reduction. Everything is linked; one benefit rings even more benefits.
- Meditation slows the aging process because it helps the body produce melatonin, and, as mentioned above, reduces levels of cortisol.
Sounds almost impossible to be true, right? All these benefits, yet the only thing we have to do is to sit still with no thoughts? Well, If you try to meditate, you will realize that it’s far more from easy. In the beginning, you won’t be able to stop the flowing of thoughts at all. Maybe not even for a second.
In order to be efficient, it must be practiced regularly, on a daily basis. The more you meditate, the more noticeable the results will be. Gather some information about meditation techniques and find the one that suits you the most. There are even meditation classes you can attend and meet people with the same goals as you: to be better.