Our modern world can seem jammed to overflowing with stress and chaos. It seems that phones chirp and ring at all hours of the day or night. The lines between work, home, and school blur and fade. Voices raise and health suffers.
Meditation is the answer.
Meditation has been treasured by nearly every culture throughout history. Each religion has its own style of meditation. The benefits of meditation raise the body, mind, and spirit.
So just what is meditation all about, and how does it help?
Simply put, meditation is the act of being still. It is about taking in a long, deep breath and observing the world without judging. We often get wrapped up in all the pains of the past or all the worries of the future. But the past is gone and beyond our reach to change. The future is unknowable. The only one moment we have a presence in is the now. We are here. We can impact this one moment before us.
With meditation, we learn to examine our thoughts and the world with compassion and understanding. We learn to explore the notion that we are not our thoughts. We have thoughts, and they come and go, but they do not control us. They do not define us.
If something happens and we feel anger, that is all right. It is an emotion we feel. But why do we feel the anger? Rather than judge, we gently accept that the emotion has come. We strive to better understand the situation.
It is this practice and flexing with thoughts and observations that strengthens the brain. It builds our resilience. It lowers our stress. It helps us see that the world is always changing. It is always altering and flowing and cycling. Throughout that all, we are simply one part of the greater whole.
Styles of Meditation
Just as there are a myriad of cultures around the world, so too are there a variety of meditation styles to choose from. Each of us is different. Some of us enjoy the peace and serenity of a forest clearing’s babbling brook while others would much prefer a walk along an ocean beach. Some would prefer a woman’s voice guiding us on a virtual trip while others would do best with pure silence.
The wonder of meditation is that you can try each one out to see which personally connects best with you. Even better, it could be that on weekends the ideal meditation for you is a walking meditation at a local nature preserve, while during the week you do best with a musical meditation in a room drifting with incense. Each type of meditation reaches you in a different way.
Benefits of Meditation
Whichever style you choose for a given session, all forms of meditation bring a wealth of health benefits for you. This includes:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Improving memory
- Releasing stress
- Clarifying thoughts
- Better sleep
- Enhanced immune system
- And much, much more
Best of all, these benefits are all wholly free with no harmful side effects. Even just a few minutes a day can bring measureable results. The more you’re able to practice each day, the more full and rich are the carry-over energies and foundational calm.
Meditation isn’t a new-fangled guinea-pig-test technique. It’s been tried and true for thousands of years. It’s been highly recommended by traditional religions and serious scientists alike. Whether you’re nine or ninety-nine, there are wonderful benefits to be gained by practicing meditation even just for five minutes a day. Start with the five minutes. See where it brings you. You’ll find that it is just the first step toward a new, better you.