Posts

Meditation Benefits

Morning Meditation Benefits

We have recently started a morning meditation practice and have noticed some great meditation benefits. One of the most effective things for us to do to maintain our happy healthy lifestyle is to meditate. I have noticed that one of the biggest results for me is that when I meditate it is like a reset for my mind. I get to put everything on hold for a few minutes and be calm.

What is Meditation?

According to Wikipedia: “Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or as an end in itself.”

A lot of people say “I can’t just sit I have to move I have to be doing something”. There are meditations for people like this.  Moving meditations like Tai Chi or  walking or cooking. Anything you do can be a meditation with the right mindset. One of the benefits of learning a martial art is the practice of centering the mind which is the goal of meditation.

There are some great Zen stories that illustrate the purpose of meditation and the application of meditation into daily life. This is one of my favorites about two Zen monks from the book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones.

Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

“Come on, girl,” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. “We monks don’t go near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”

“I left the girl there,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?”

This story illustrates the value of being present which for me is the point of meditation.

What are the Benefits of Meditation?

There are so many meditation benefits that it can be overwhelming so here is the Happy Healthy list of 20 meditation benefits.

  1. It lowers oxygen consumption.
  2. It increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.
  3. Leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation.
  4. Reduces high blood pressure.
  5. Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
  6. Enhances the immune system.
  7. Helps with weight loss
  8. Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing.
  9. Decreases the aging process.
  10. Cures headaches & migraines
  11. Normalizes to your ideal weight
  12. Builds self-confidence
  13. Increases serotonin level, influences mood and behavior
  14. Helps control thoughts
  15. Helps with focus and concentration
  16. Increases emotional stability
  17. Increases productivity
  18. Develops will power
  19. Helps you to react more quickly and more effectively to a stressful event
  20. Requires less time to fall asleep, helps cure insomnia

How to Start With a Meditation Practice

There are many different techniques for meditating and here are some that have worked for me.

Focus on the breath:

This is the most basic method. Just focus on the breath. Your breathing is more complex than you might think. Since breathing is an involuntary act you don’t really think about it unless you don’t have it. The focus here is what your body does with the air that you bring in. Feel the air traveling in through your nose, feel how your body feels when your lungs expand to take in the air. Be aware.

Count your breaths:

This works for me when I am very distracted. Just count. I don’t pay attention to the breath so much with this method but I have to keep counting. The counting keeps my mind working and focusing on the count. Counting down is an effective way to do this as well. Start with 100 and count down to zero. When you get to zero and want more time then start at 40 or 50.

 Use a mantra:

A mantra is a phrase that is repeated throughout your meditation. This technique gives you words to focus on and in turn helps to relax the mind. Some common mantras come from the ancient Sanskrit language, you may have heard some of these.

  • Om
  • Om Namah Shivaya
  • Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
  • Shanti Mantra
    Om Saha Naavavatu
    Saha Nau Bhunaktu
    Saha Veeryam Karavaavahai
    Tejasvi Aavadheetamastu Maa Vidvishaavahai Om

I will use these sometimes but I like the more modern mantras or ones that mean something to me. I will use the words Peace or Love. Sometimes I use a phrase like “Change my thoughts, change the world”.

Have an external object to focus on:

  • A candle can be useful as something to focus on.
  • A picture of someone or something that personifies the meditation goal that you have.
  • A religious icon of some sort like Shiva or Buddha.

These are just a few of the techniques used for meditation.

Who Meditates

One common practice that successful people have is to incorporate meditation into their daily lives. From musicians and actors like Paul McCartney and Russell Brand to business leaders like Rupert Murdock and Oprah Winfrey a meditation practice seems to be a key element in successful peoples lives. These successful people know about meditation benefits and how to get the most out out their meditation practice.

Take a few minutes and give it a try. I would love to hear your meditation experiences. Please leave your comments below.

 


Pagan meditation2” by Dedda71Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.