The practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state is called:
We all have heard that “meditation is good for you”. But good in what terms? Is that just reports from people doing it for 10 years, or are there good scientific studies showing specific benefits that I care about?
You may have heard that meditation is good for you, and it is!
Study after study has been conducted on the health benefits of meditation. In this article, we are going to discuss:
- The history of Meditation
- The benefits of Meditation
- The 2 Major Styles of Meditation
- How often to Meditate
- Music and Meditation – Binaural beats
- How to Meditate
The history of Meditation
Meditation has been practiced for over 5,00 years (that we know of – maybe even longer)
- The Vedas of India were the first to document meditation, about 1,500 BCE.
- Other forms of meditation were also developed in China (around the same time period), and only slightly later, in Japan.
- Meditation was a Buddhist spiritual practice between 500-600 BCE, with the first meditation hall opening in Japan in 653 BCE.
- The Bhagavad Gita, an epic poem that describes the philosophy of yoga, meditation and spirituality, was written around 400 BCE.
- By 20 BCE, spiritual exercises involving mindfulness was adopted in the west and was documented in early Greek texts, but the practice was not favored by early Christianity (although prayer and meditation are alike).
Meditation has been considered a spiritual practice that was the realm of monks, priests, other religious, and was largely unknown among the general population. We may have “known” about it – but only Monks that had nothing to do all day but sit around practiced it.
We now know that meditation is not just for monks. Everyday people have been practicing meditation for many years now. Science supports the benefits of meditating and this has fueled everyday people to embrace its practice.
Today, meditation is used as a performance enhancer among athletes and top executives.
Meditation is also used as a stress-reduction technique, and as a medical intervention that accelerates and promotes healing.
Consider the following:
- People who meditate every day are happier than those who don’t – studies say so!
- People that meditate are mentally and physically healthier and live longer.
- Some insurance companies offer lower premiums to people who meditate because they are less likely to get sick!
- People that meditate have “sharper minds” and their problem-solving abilities are better
- People that meditate have better mental health than the average person; they have less anxiety, anger, depression and fear.
- Meditation releases pleasurable brain chemicals, which make us feel good!
Here are some of the known benefits of mediation:
- Reduces Stress
- Controls Anxiety
- Promotes Emotional Health
- Enhances Self-Awareness
- Lengthens Attention Span
- May Reduce Age-Related Memory Loss
- Can Generate Kindness
- May Help Fight Addictions
- Improves Sleep
- Helps Control Pain
- Can Decrease Blood Pressure
The Benefits of Binaural Beats Meditation
The same benefits as hours of deep meditation can be obtained using binaural beats in a relatively short period of time.
- Heal emotional trauma.
- Increase prosperity and success.
- Increased confidence and motivation.
- Unshakable inner peace
- Increased mental clarity, focus and concentration.
- Eliminate stress & anxiety.
- Greater spiritual connection.
- Cure depression & eliminate anger
Using binaural beats to meditate, you can have all the benefits of meditation in days, not years.
Binaural beats music can target different brain states and provide a platform for increased learning capability, energy, and creativity.
You can actually tweak your mental and physical performance using binaural beats – you should try it!
- Improvement in your learning ability
Some of the benefits of binaural beats include
- Improvement in your memory
- Improvement in your intuition
- Improvement in your creativity
- Improvement in your ability to focus
- Improvement in your ability to concentrate and think more clearly.
- Lower stress levels, which will lower the amount of harmful brain chemicals (like cortisol) your body produces through stress.
- Improvements in your mental and emotional health
- Improvements in your self awareness
- Improvements in your confidence,
- Improvements in your motivation and willingness to innovate and change.
- Increase your production of brain chemicals (such as DHEA and melatonin) related to longevity, well-being and happiness.
- Lower blood pressure
There are two major styles of meditation
- Focused-attention meditation: Concentrates attention on a single object, thought, sound or visualization. It emphasizes ridding your mind of attention and distraction. Meditation may focus on breathing, a mantra or a calming sound.
- Open-monitoring meditation: Encourages broadened awareness of all aspects of your environment, train of thought and sense of self. It may include becoming aware of thoughts, feelings or impulses that you might normally try to suppress.
Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point. This could entail following the breath, repeating a single word or mantra, staring at a candle flame, listening to a repetitive gong, or counting beads. Since focusing the mind is challenging, a beginner might meditate for only a few minutes and then work up to longer duration.
In this form of meditation, you simply refocus your awareness on the chosen object of attention each time you notice your mind wandering. Rather than pursuing random thoughts, you simply let them go. Through this process, your ability to concentrate improves.
Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each mental note as it arises.
Through mindfulness meditation, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns. Over time, you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge an experience as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. With practice, an inner balance develops.
In some schools of meditation, students practice a combination of concentration and mindfulness. Many disciplines call for stillness — to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the teacher.
OTHER MEDITATION TECHNIQUES
There are various other meditation techniques. For example, a daily meditation practice among Buddhist monks focuses directly on the cultivation of compassion. This involves envisioning negative events and recasting them in a positive light by transforming them through compassion. There are also moving meditation techniques, such as tai chi, and walking meditation.
HOW TO MEDITATE: SIMPLE MEDITATION FOR BEGINNERS
This meditation exercise is an excellent introduction to meditation techniques.
- Sit or lie comfortably. You may even want to invest in a meditation chair or cushion.
- Close your eyes. We recommend using one of our Cooling Eye Masks or Restorative Eye Pillows if lying down.
- Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
- Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wonders, return your focus back to your breath
It might be helpful to wear headphones while you meditate so you don’t get distracted by anything – try it!
Here are some YouTube videos concerning meditation that we recommend!
Author: Philip Isaac
Philip Isaac is the founder of Electrified Mind. He is determined to reach the highest level of personal development as humanly possible by interacting with other world leaders through the Electrified Mind Podcast and absorbing all the knowledge they have to offer (you should join him). His overwhelming desire to make other people feel how he feels about life, drives him.