“During meditation your metabolism and your breath rate go down to a level of rest, twice that of deep sleep.” ~ Mike Love
Meditation. There. I said it. It seems like a dirty word– doesn’t it? I know when I first started meditating I was wondering how I would calm my mind. It use to take me about an hour and a half to fall asleep, no–about 11 seconds.
Realizing your mind is something you can control is a daunting yet powerful concept. Many of us are not up to the challenge. Many of us don’t have time, can’t do it, and don’t know how to do it. But! Meditation creates time!
Research has shown meditators, on average, regardless of age, visit the doctor half as often as the average American! Meditators also had 87.3% fewer admissions to the hospital for heart disease and 55.4 % fewer admissions for benign and malignant tumors of all types–the two leading causes of death in Americans! You can’t get results like these from prescription drugs!
Meditation specifically aids in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol–which helps avoid a heart attack and stroke. According to insurance companies, blood pressure levels prove to be a good indicator of life expectancy. An average American with normal blood pressure is expected to live 16 years longer than one with moderate blood pressure. Meditation has proven to help people drop from moderate blood pressure to normal blood pressure–giving the gift of a longer life! Incredible! (Perfect Health, Deepak Chopra, pg. 164-167).
That’s not all! Mediation aids in weight loss, brain function, immune function, and reversal of the aging process! Plus, it's been shown to help you find your life’s purpose!
Many wonder how long do you need to meditate a day? Well, Dr. Oz believes all it takes is 7 mins a day to receive the benefits of meditation. Making the commitment to meditate is the most important step in receiving the benefits. I can pretty much guarantee that once you dedicate the time, you will want to do it more. It just feels soooooo good. The inner peace is wonderful. After mediation, I feel calm, content, and happy–all pretty great feelings.
Many people don’t know how to meditate, and that’s ok. Meditation is about working with your brain waves. When doing an activity we are really familiar with we go into “auto-pilot.” Running, brushing our teeth, and driving a car long distances are all examples of this. Parts of the brain slip into Theta waves during these activities. Maintaining Theta waves is the goal in meditation.
A beginner meditator should find calming music, focus on breathing (the out breath is particularly relaxing) and be gentle with yourself. Meditation isn’t easy. Just as you would train your mind to play a sport, the piano, or learn a language, you need to develop the neural pathways for meditation too. The more you practice anything, the better you get at it because you are reinforcing the neural pathways (the connections that send information around the brain and through the body).
If you can’t stop the one million thoughts from bombarding your brain it’s ok. In time, you will learn to set these thoughts aside. This method is described as non-directive meditation because you are developing the ability to “tolerate the spontaneous wandering of the mind without getting too much involved”–meaning you don’t have to make the mind blank! You just need to learn how to let thoughts “pass effortlessly” (Brain Waves and Meditation, ScienceDaily Mar. 31, 2010).
While “meditation is painful in the beginning… it bestows immortal bliss and supreme joy in the end” and is worth the try (Swami Sivananda).