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This is a guest post by Mark Corner
The very first time I encountered meditation was quite some years ago now. I had heard about it in latter years, but never really took any notice of it. I honestly thought that sitting cross-legged for half an hour to 20 minutes wouldn’t benefit me that much, so I didn’t do anything with it, or even try to do it, then some years ago I was reading somebody’s personal development blog, and they said they practiced it regularly listening to new age music.
So I decided to see what all the fuss was about to and try it myself. I had some music, which I thought was appropriate. Put it on to my CD player and sat down and listened to it to see what it was like. I did find it rather odd sitting there with my eyes closed. Listening to this rather weird angelic music in my ears and sitting still. At first, I wasn’t able to keep my mind quiet and thoughts kept racing through my mind. I found it rather hard and to be at peace with myself.
However, as I was to learn later this is quite normal. When you are first learning how to meditate properly. One thing I did realise from the very beginning was that you have to be patient. In order to get the best benefit from it and practice it regularly for 20 minutes each day. If you are able to, or whatever time you can manage even 10 minutes can be sufficient.
Once you start to do it regularly. The experiences you get become deeper and without realising it, you become a more balanced and grateful human being, one of the things that meditation does is raise your levels of consciousness and awareness. These are supposed to be beneficial to helping develop your psychic abilities. If that is something that you are pursuing.
Other things that you might become aware of are getting into states of flow very easily if you’re not aware of flow. This is a state of being that time seems to be standing still, even though it is passing by. When you are doing some particular task that you really enjoy, which may involve some kind of creative pursuit or any other type of activity that you enjoy doing.
Other things you may notice are being more aware of what is around you, such as bird’s singing and trees moving backwards and forwards in the wind as if they are waving at you, your levels of gratitude change you become more grateful for the things that you have rather you think that you think you need.
If you suffer from depression or anxiety-related disorders, you may find over a period of time that you start to relax and feel less stressed and unhappy. This is due to the calming effect of your mind, which tends to be more rested because there is not as much internal chatter. Your focus moves to what you should be doing, rather than ruminating repeatedly about what is wrong and right in your life.
Scientists now are beginning to take this practice very seriously, mainly because the health benefits to the individual yourself are huge. Some of the things that you can expect to happen to it are.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Lower cholesterol levels.
- More focus.
- Improved breathing If you’re asthmatic.
- You may have a shift in personality.
- Your stress levels will be lower.
- Improved immune system function
- Better sleeping patterns
So as you can see, this is one of the reasons why meditation is medication. The only difference is you do not need to put any foreign substances in your body in order to be able to have the following health benefits for nothing more than sitting still for 20 minutes or more each day. It’s a very small price to pay for such a huge return.
Find somewhere quiet where, you will not be disturbed, and can relax. Turn off all distractions such as mobile phones, etc and let people know that you are going to meditate and do not want to be disturbed. Once you have found an ideal spot to meditate, and it is quiet. Find a position that’s suited to you, some people like to adopt the lotus position with your legs crossed and sitting upright. If this isn’t possible for you, then you can always sit in a chair with your legs apart and get as comfortable as you possibly can. Alternatively, just choose a place and position of your own choosing as long as you can relax and get relaxed is all that matters.
Once you are happy with your position, then it’s time to start your meditation. Some people prefer to use music where others don’t. This is a personal preference. I personally use something called Gamma Meditation but that’s my own preference. Any relaxing music will do or use none at all which ever suits your needs.
If it’s particularly bright where you are meditating it might be a good idea to close your curtains or blinds, if it still seems too bright for you, then it may be necessary to wear a blindfold, just a cheap one like you are given on long haul flights will do, or you can spend a bit more money and get one that puts you in complete darkness.
Once you are comfortable and relaxed. Close your eyes and put your blindfold on. One of the best ways to relax during your session is to inhale through your nose and exhale out your mouth while you are relaxing just focus on your breathing and nothing else. While you are meditating, you need to let your mind just be in the moment and try not to think any thoughts. This might be difficult at first, but as time goes on, it becomes easier rather than harder.
This is the only thing you need to do during your session. You can incorporate visualisation. If you wish, but it is not a requirement. If you want to visualise something, try visualising something peaceful. Like a candle flickering in the wind, or in a garden with lots of colourful flowers or on the beach listening to the waves crashing ashore as they come in and out, another good one is listening to the water in a babbling brook.
Once you have finished meditating. Don’t expect a whole lot from the first session because it is your very first one, as you come out of it, you should start to feel refreshed and almost as if you have been to sleep. However, not quite the same as being asleep take note of any differences in how you feel as you go about your day.
Over time, as your meditation will become deeper and longer. You should find differences in how you feel about certain things. Examples are not constantly thinking about things like you used to be being more aware of life around you and feeling more content and happy, and you may have done before.
Scientists have now found that meditation actually changes the way that your brain is wired, in particular, the parts that deal with anxiety and depression. These tend to become less active, so you are able to deal with stressful situations more calmly with clarity and focus.
When researchers have looked at Buddhist monks, brains compared to that of normal person’s brain. They have found big differences in brain activity between the two. If you compare a normal person’s brain with that of somebody who meditates regularly.
Their brains have far less activity in the areas that deal with anxiety and depression. This is probably due to the fact that doing this practice regularly calms what they call the monkey mind if you are unsure what this means. It’s quite self-explanatory. Think about monkeys swinging from branch to branch.
This is what happens in your mind and causes a lot of our problems jumping from one thought to another. So, in drawing on this conclusion, it does seem that meditation can be classed as a form of medication except it is not taken orally or applied to your body. It could be the best 20 minutes per day that you spend without taking any kind of medication.