Updated: Jun 15, 2020
When I was 11 years old, my love affair with silence meditation began. My mother would take my siblings and I to the spiritual centre, Rosicrussian Lodge A.M.O.R.C. to learn how to sit quietly and discover visualization. We went religiously every Sunday morning.
During my last year of university, I started attending Metaphysics classes at the cultural centre known as Comando Ashthar. I learned the early principles of universal laws of Karma and the law of attraction, including yoga and group meditation. The last year was stressful and worrisome because of pressures to do well in classes; I remember that this was perhaps one of the most intellectually demanding years but, I completed my last year with less effort. It wasn't until many years later that I noticed that the time spent in meditation had something to do with completing my last year with ease. Hours can go by in a meditative state without noticing the time going by. This is when my love affair began...
For over 20 years, I have been a meditator and have gradually been drawn to develop a sense to spend more time in silence. Like many other obsessions, such as sugar, speeding, over-working, surfing the net, social media, codependent substances, mine it's silence.
What is Meditation Anyways?
Perhaps it’s easier to understand what meditation is not. Meditation is not to have a blank mind, like a blank canvas. Meditation is not an escape from reality or leaving problems behind. It is not praying or event sleeping.
Mindful meditation is to fall awake witnessing the passing thoughts, one by one, free of judgement and full of acceptance and being present in the moment as it unfolds in your mind.
Meditation is the action of sitting still, to feel your emotions, thoughts and sensorial perceptions with pure awareness and compassion for one’s self. It's observing your thoughts knowing that you aren’t your thoughts. It's feeling your body knowing that you are not defined by your body. Instead, you realize that you are the vessel that holds both.
Why To Meditate?
As we experience streams of thoughts without clutching on to them, something quite extraordinary happens. We begin to disconnect ourselves from these thoughts and see them as series of events, coming and going, like a television show.
With each meditation session, we start to accept who we are. With more self-awareness, we develop self-respect and self-love, including self-acceptance.
Meditation helps to gradually expands your awareness, embracing life in a non-judgemental way.
Scientifically speaking, it has been proven that meditation can rewire the area of the brain that regulates your higher thinking responsible for developing compassion and empathy. Also, it has been proven that with regular meditation practices, these individuals can sustain higher executive function abilities than those who do not meditate regularly.
How To Meditate?
Technically, if you can breathe, you can meditate. There is no specific requirement to meditate. With practice, you can eventually meditate standing up, sitting or laying down, in a subway, while walking, even engaging in any other activities. However, it is important to differentiate between formal and informal meditation.
Formal Meditation is a scheduled time that we set aside to focus strictly on the act of meditation. This could be a short session of 3 minutes or a longer one of 45 minutes. For instance, Zen Meditation is performed seated in a chair or in the lotus position, focused on your breath, counting 1 to 10 over and over for specific period.
Informal Meditation can be performed in daily activities, while driving, cooking, walking; even while brushing your teeth or doing yoga as long as your mind and body are working in sync. In Mindful Meditation, you use your five senses: visual, hearing, smell, taste and touch to connect to your feelings of the body without judgement.
When To Meditate?
You can meditate anytime of the day; however, there are opportune times of the day that are best to be in tune with the universe’s natural rhythms: 5:00 a.m., at noon and at sunset. Nevertheless, it's perfectly acceptable to meditate whenever it best suits your schedule. Better yet, form a routine to have consistency, whenever it's possible.
Which Form of Meditation Is Best?
There are many traditions that have meditation originating from Christianity, Buddhism, Muslim, Judaism or Tibetan. One popular form of meditation is Transcendental Meditation, performed with a mantra, which is defined as a repetitive sound to transcend the mind to work as a mind shield. Popular mantras are: So Hum, Ram, Om.
Mindfulness Meditation uses the body’s feeling and sensations to achieve a soothing mind and to obtain an overall sense of peace and fulfillment.
Zen Meditation focuses on the breath itself. The objective is to anchor the mind on the waves of the breath, letting thoughts come and go without adding extra energy or investing in them.
Christian Meditation uses a form of mantra, such as maranatha, which focuses on aligning your spirituality with god, i.e. keeping Jesus as a centre of your devotion.
Qi Gong Meditation, an ancient Chinese practice, done with slow body movements to help manage your body’s chi (energy) to bring self-healing.
Bottom line, there is a wide selection of meditation forms; there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Explore, read and educate yourself on the one that will best fit the way you settle your mind best. The practice you choose best will be the one that resonates with you and it will be the easiest to stick with coming back to it often.
What Can Meditation Do For You?
If you follow an eight-week practice session, you will notice a few of the following benefits. You may be lucky and experience them all!
Helps you move from your default "autopilot" mode into a "being” mode, allowing you to make more mindful, healthier choices life stressors are presented.“Insula", the area of the brain integral for sense of connectivity and empathy to society. The insula becomes energized during meditation which is vital to being in a good mood and being genuinely compassionate to be a good citizen. Studies have shown that autonomy can be achieved while practising mindfulness meditation since you become more engaged in doing what you genuinely want to do – not for appearances but to help others feel better about themselves. In recent clinical trials, for groups practicing Transcendental Meditation for long periods of time, it has shown that physical health is positively impacted, including mortality rate being reduced up to 30% due to improved cardiovascular strength and diminishing different types of cancer. The effect is equivalent to experiencing a wellness drug minus the adverse side effects.There are also studies that show depression is significantly reduced, including the reduction of relapses by up to 50%.Finally, the body will naturally go into a homeostasis state, or a natural equilibrium of the body where healing transpires at the cellular level.
Meditation can accomplish three events in your life:
Attraction, It attracts things into your life.
Elimination, It removes things from your life.
Awareness. It makes you aware of your resistance to allowing the first two to happen.
Whether you are an amateur meditator or an experienced one, there are many benefits to gain: emotional resiliency, mental clarity, boosting of immune system and stress relief. It’s a win-win for your emotional well-being. It's worthy to try!
Mindfulness an eight week plan for finding peace in a frantic world. By Dr.Williams and Danny Penman.
The best meditations on the planet by Dr. Martin Hart.
“Embodied effects of Mindfulness - based Cognitive Therapy” Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 68 p.p. 311-14.
For personalized Ayurvedic Consultation, Yoga Therapy and Mindfulnes, connect with Monica Daza-Stephan Ayurveda & Yoga Therapist | Phone: 416-275-9141 |firstname.lastname@example.org