What, Why, & Who of Meditation
What is Meditation?
Meditation is that special form of concentration in which the attention has been liberated from restlessness and is focused in on the Self beyond mind, emotions and distractions. Meditation, therefore, is concentration used to know Self.
Is meditation a religion?
No, meditation is not a religion. The practice of meditation gives you perspective: By observing your mind, you realize you don’t have to be slave to it. You realize it can act like a toddler by throwing tantrums and the emotional reactions that co-inside with various thoughts and experiences. But the mind and emotions don’t have to control you. Meditation is quite simply mental hygiene; we are taught about body & environmental hygiene but never about mental hygiene. Mediation is like clearing, dusting, organizing the mind while discovering and loving our talents, gifts, voices etc. As a consequence, you’ll feel clearer and see thing with greater perspective. “The quality of our life depends on the quality of our mind,” writes Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Its simple, we are just tuning our awareness to the simple stillness of the mind rather than the 50,000 thoughts that flow through our mind. It gives peace.
Who do I know that meditates in the western world?
Here is a list I found of some famous people who meditate. This is to help break down stigmatisms around meditation.
Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman, Richard Branson, Paul McCartney, Angelina Jolie, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Misty-May Trainor and Derek Jeter are just a few successful athletes who rely on meditation to get them in the zone. Rupert Murdoch, Russell Simons, Arianna Huffington, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Katy Pery, Madonna Hugh Jackman, Kristen Bell, Clint Eastwood, Nicole Kidman, Russell Brand, Jerry Seinfield, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lady Gaga, Heather Graham, Howard Stern, Naomi Watts, Kat Dennings, Ellen DeGeneres, Liv Tyler, Rose McGowan, Goldie Hawn, Steve Jobs, Paula Abdul, George Lucas, Sting, Lenny Kravitz, Russell Simmons, Ben Harper, Eddie Vedder, Eva Mendez and the list goes on and on…….
Meditation reduces stress, anxiety, & depression. The practice improves focus, memory function, decision making & helps you find your flow! There have so many studies and research on meditation and the effects that it has on our bodies-mind-emotions. Millions of people are picking up the practice all over the world and yet it is has taken root in the educational system in the western world. It helps with relationships and moods while increasing grey matter in the brain. Increased grey matter improves brain functions, concentration, etc. The fact that it helps to reduce addiction and improve sense of well being and self confidence should be a clear sign that our entire human race should be taught meditation techniques early on. Not only does meditation reduce and prevent all of these things, but also the practice greatly increases creativity, intuition, and will power. The effects go on and on and we haven’t even touched upon the physical benefits, such as reducing pain, PMS, increase exercise tolerance, increases the function of the immune system etc.
A 2005 study on American men and women who meditated a mere 40 minutes a day showed that they had thicker cortical walls than non-meditators. What this meant is that their brains were aging at a slower rate. Cortical thickness is also associated with decision-making, attention and memory.
It Can Be Better Than Sleeping
In a 2006 study, college students were asked to either sleep, meditate or watch TV. They were then tested on their alertness by being asked to hit a button every time a light flashed on a screen. The meditators did better than the nappers and TV watchers — by a whole 10 percent.
Is Meditation hard?
Meditation practices are very simple. People tend to get caught up on expectations and their ideas of what should ‘happen;’ this can lead to thinking that it is hard. Meditation breaks habits of wrong thinking and just like breaking any habit; it has its challenges, especially at first. The sooner you let go of these expectations, frustrations and let your mind still, the sooner you realize its all just been the manner in which you think, process etc.
In conclusion, meditation is crucial to balancing our daily lives and when integrated into our routine, the practice of meditation brings peace and balance while reducing tension, stress, anxiety, depression, etc. and replaces these negative experiences with clarity, creativity, happiness, joy and and a greater depth of focus.