Life has its own way of reinventing a person’s mind, body and spirit. Several years ago, I was at the top of my game. I was in my early 20s when every aspect of my life moved at a fast pace: getting engaged to the love of my life and being promoted to manager which was a high-paying job for a young professional like me. Surely, there were physical and emotional signs of imbalance, but I ignored them and went on with my exciting yet erratic schedules.
However, as fast as my personal life and career seemed to work out for the best, it all spiraled out of control. I got sick and was forced to leave my job. Likewise, due to the loss of steady income, marriage plans moved to the back burner. Depression consumed me for years and I did not know where to go or how to stand up again. Until one day while I was randomly channel-surfing, I came across a television program which showed an actor’s strong belief in the powers of meditation.
Because I was searching for my old, motivated self and had the free time to do so, I did my research on meditation and tried some simple techniques myself. Now, I’m in my 2nd year of meditating and my life has never been better. My mind has become clearer and my health has greatly improved. I have finally regained my true self.
The Basic Science of Meditation
If you think that external factors such as stress, illness or other people’s noise are posing threats to your overall well-being, then let the science of meditation help you relax and re-focus. As we meditate and focus on our posture and breathing, our minds momentarily ignore life’s stressors and we fall into a relaxed state of self-awareness. Meditation helps people achieve a better understanding of oneself and the world by listening and accepting the thoughts and sounds around them that become more present while the individual is in a state of silence and tranquility.
The Origin of Meditation
People’s belief in the power of meditative techniques dates back to 1500 BC when Hindu philosophy promoted spiritual exercises in order to achieve freedom through self-consciousness. After that, between the 4th to 6th centuries BC, Buddhists in India and Chinese Taoists developed their own meditation techniques in accordance to their respective beliefs. In addition, Buddhism spread throughout the world and early interest in meditation reached Korea, Japan and other Asian countries.
Even Christianity and Judaism in the early times acquired their own techniques of meditating. These two religions are similar in so far as meditation is practiced through continuous repetition of a religious phrase or prayer. The development of various forms and techniques of meditation was carried on until the modern times, with people meditating within the privacy of their homes, outdoors or with the help of yoga instructors who guide them in their spiritual journey.
The most common technique of meditation is called mindfulness meditation, wherein you sit or lie down, close your eyes and breathe. As you pay attention to the rhythm of your breathing, thoughts that enter your mind are freely allowed to pass without you controlling it. On the other hand, a meditative technique which enables you to control your thoughts is visualization.
In visualization, you achieve self-awareness by choosing to think of a soothing image that brings you back to pleasant memories, such as your childhood playground or a family dinner at home years back. There are other forms of meditation found in books, websites and videos. You can do your research and figure out which one is the best for you.
Benefits of Meditation
Since we have varied beliefs and have individual purposes in life, the reasons for meditation differ from one person to another. Some people may meditate to get in touch with their spirituality and feel closer to a higher being, while others view meditation as a way to reduce stress levels and increase their creativity. In my case, there are days when I meditate just to clear my head and re-focus. On other days, I meditate through prayer to ask for spiritual enlightenment. Whatever your reason may be, meditation sets you on the right track for the day.
Other than self-awareness and heightened spirituality, meditation can do wonders to a person’s physical and psychological health. Studies have shown that regular meditative exercises have helped individuals manage their bouts with stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression. The relaxed state of the brain helps lower blood pressure, thus preventing cardiovascular problems.
In addition, meditation is recommended by doctors for patients experiencing chronic pain on a regular basis, specifically those with back pains, arthritis, and cancer-related symptoms. Regular meditation combined with prescription drugs help patients manage their illness and function as normally as possible.
Now that you have information on how meditation has changed people’s lives, I hope you can give it a try. Meditation can help you achieve optimum health as well as freedom through self-awareness. It has definitely worked wonders for me, and I hope it can help you lead a better life, too.