Meditation is the key to Inner Peace
Meditation is a practise where an individual uses one of the many techniques to control mind, awareness and attention. This leads to emotionally calm and stable state. It is a practise which was born in India thousands of years ago.
Meditation to many would sound like a religious practise followed by monks and nuns, but think again. Not only can anyone meditate, but there are limitless benefits from a simple daily meditation routine.
In 1970s medical researchers at Harvard University began studying meditation practices from India. They found that, during meditation the body has what they call, the relaxation response. Which gives the body deep rest, deeper than the rest from sleep. They also found that through regular meditation deep rest builds up in the body over time. And it is this deep reservoir of rest that reduces stress and results in the many benefits of meditation.
Harvard researchers and others continued to study meditation and found that it can lower blood pressure, cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and stroke. For mental well being, it can help relieve stress, depression and insomnia.
Meditation is a good exercise for brain, which starts from self-reflection and control. This practise brings peace and tranquillity into your life, that grows with every passing minute, hour and day. Your senses become calmer, actions controlled and there is a feeling of joy within and outside.
In Bhagvad Gita Krishna says, on the one hand, as the greatest benefactor of the soul, the mind has the potential of giving us the most benefit; on the other hand, as our greatest adversary, it also has the potential for causing the maximum harm. A controlled mind can accomplish many beneficial endeavours, whereas an uncontrolled mind can degrade the consciousness with most ignoble thoughts.
How to start meditation:
- Place – To begin meditating, find a place where you can sit comfortably, quietly and tall. Then close your eyes and do nothing. Thoughts may come during this time, and that is okay. It’s very helpful if you can find a place to practice where you won’t be disturbed for few minutes.
- Posture – Choose a meditation posture that works for you. Relax your shoulders and release any tension you notice in your body. It is important during this time to keep your back straight, as it aids in awareness and discourages drowsiness.
- Short and steady – beginners find it difficult to concentrate and sit still for long durations. But here consistency is the key and not the duration.
- Your breath is the key – observing your breath is the easiest and oldest technique in meditation. Sit still, and just bring your awareness to the process of breathing. Through this process you should learn to observe the thoughts, sensations and emotions that appear in the mind stream.
- Frequency – meditate every morning and evening for 15-30 minutes. Also it’ll be helpful if you don’t eat anything before meditation.
Types of meditation practice:
- Mindful meditation – it originates from Buddhist teachings, where you pay attention to your thoughts, as they pass through your mind. You don’t judge or get involved with them. You just observe and take mental note of any patterns.
- Spiritual meditation – chanting or reciting a prayer mentally or loudly and reflecting on the silence around you and seek a deeper connection with God & Universe.
- Focused meditation – this involves concentrating on anything using your 5 senses. Here you can focus on your breathe, or count beads of a mala or stare at a candle flame.
- Movement meditation – yoga is the first thing that comes to our mind when we think of movement meditation. However it can be done through many other ways like – walking, running, gardening, Tai chi, etc
- Mantra meditation – it is prominent in Hindu & Buddhist traditions. Here you meditate using a repetitive sound like ‘Om’ to clear the mind. It can be a word, phrase or a sentence.
- Progressive relaxation – this type of meditation helps in reducing tension in the body by slowly tightening and relaxing one muscle group at a time throughout the body.
- Visualisation meditation – it is a type of meditation where one focuses on enhancing feelings of relaxation, peace and calmness by visualising positive scenes or images.
Begin to meditate by learning one simple technique and practicing it every day. There is no right or wrong way to do it; whatever resonates for you is the method you’ll want to return to. Like lifting weights is an exercise for a healthy body, meditation is an exercise for a healthy mind. Regular practise will bring you relaxation and happiness, into your life and surroundings.