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Why you should get your Meditation On

The word meditation usually puts the fear of God into people (kind of like what the word exercise does to me).

You know the reaction, “It’s so boring,” or “I don’t know if I’m doing it right,” “I can’t stop the mental chatter,” or the one we’ve all done, “{insert loud snoring noise}.”

But I’m here to encourage you to get back on that horse and learn what it truly is to meditate, because not only can it open your intuitive flow and connect you to a deeper aspect of your being than you ever knew possible, it has some very tangible health benefits.

Physiologically, meditation impacts heart rate, energy flow, mental activity and self-perception. It most certainly takes us out of our everyday ‘stuff’ and into both our non-physical reality and the realm of the present.

In essence, there really is nothing to do in meditation, except to be: to be with the self, with the moment, with an open heart, with your breath, with your observations of the state of flow, flux and change, and observing it all pass through, in and over you. There is really nothing to strive for or achieve, except that of letting go and letting the experience unfold.

Sogyal Rinpoche distils the practice of meditation into a 3 part process of:
1. Bringing the mind home;
2. Releasing; and
3. Relaxing

In essence, turning the mind inward, releasing the desire to grasp at the continual barrage of fears, pain and stresses that arise in our minds and relax into a spaciousness where all fears, thoughts, wants melt into the peaceful natural state of the mind.

On a physical level, stress has a major impact on our bodymind and immune system. It is not uncommon for the body to cope with a huge amount of stress for an extended period, only to collapse into illness and fatigue just as we go on holidays or after having to go back to a situation/job/relationship that is deeply unsatisfying and unaligned with our purpose.

Studies have shown most heart attacks and suicides, two of the most profound physical resultants of prolonged stress and depression, occur on a Monday, just at the point of facing another work week.

 Meditation day of week fatality

In relation to heart disease, studies have found meditation using a repetitive mantra reduces hardening of the arteries and has the potential to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke in hypertensive patients independently of any other diet/lifestyle changes.

Dr. Candace B. Pert, Ph.D. describes the stress process: “When stress prevents the molecules of emotion from flowing freely where needed, the largely autonomic processes that are regulated by peptide flow, such as breathing, blood flow, immunity, digestion and elimination, collapse down to a few simple feedback loops and upset the normal healing response. Meditation, by allowing long-buried thoughts and feelings to surface, is a way of getting the peptides flowing again, returning the body, and emotions, to health.”

Dr. Philip Groves attributes the relaxed state of the mind focusing on a mantra in transcendental meditation to reducing blood pressure, regulating the heartbeat and breath and aiding digestion.

So we can see the physical impacts of meditation. But what is even more profound is the effect meditation has upon our subtle energy centres, or chakras. These energy centres emit and receive energy into and out of our physical being, and either balance or disrupt our physical state.

Some individuals may suffer migraines or headaches which may be attributed to a third eye blockage; recurrent sore throats or thyroid problems may result from a blocked throat chakra; stomach upsets or digestion problems from a solar plexus disruption or gynaecological problems from imbalance in the sacral chakra.

It is here that the practice of meditation becomes an essential tool in creating Whole Body Health, by acting as a means to access and change our subtle anatomy. Through the practice of meditation, we not only physically control the relaxation process in our body, but we can also access higher realms and greater aspects of ourselves.

We start to gain a deeper understanding of why and how our blocks manifested and what it is we need to release in order to return to a state of homeostasis and flow. In The Philosophy of Natural Healing, Phillip Groves states, “The meditational process assists in the learning of such important life lessons over time … as he or she learns to listen to the inner wisdom of their own Higher Self.”

The use of mantra is one method of practice. A mantra can just be a simple word or phrase repeated over and over in the mind as a focal point. It can be as simple as I am love.

Groves continues, “Certain mantras, when repeated over time, may cause subtle changes within the nervous system. These meditation-associated changes in the brain can result in the evolution of the structures of consciousness to process higher levels of vibrational input.”

Of course, there are many other methods and it’s worth trying them all to find what works best for you. These may include an mp3s or CDs of guided meditations involving a journey, a special place, the interaction with colours that correspond to the chakras, communicating with a guide or higher aspect of the self, or you may prefer a focusing meditation where you sit open-eyed and gently place your attention on a crystal or a candle flame. You can explore shamanic practices of journey-work, or you may just sit with eyes closed, focussing on your heart space, conscious breathing and sending out good intentions to an individual or the universe.

Or if that’s too oogy boogy for you, you might prefer to use your exercise routine (ugh, I knew that word would stick it’s head back in here again…) as your dedicated practice. Walking in nature, running, or even doing housework can all provide opportunities for reflection, focus and awareness, allowing us to practice a state of mindfulness and become more attuned to ourselves and those around us.

By freeing the mind, we can also free our bodies and the positive aspects cannot help but flow down a more positive mental and physical state of wellbeing.

And while the practice of meditation can sometimes pose a challenge when we feel like we’re just not “getting it,” it’s important to remember the greatest aspect of meditation: It’s not about achieving or gaining enlightenment or any other daunting goal sometimes associated with it.

It is simply to be with what is.

It is in the connection to our unique selves that the power of meditation and all its benefits are able to flow and manifest in our lives.

© Kate Powe 2007, updated 2014

 

References

de Looper M 2002, ‘Australian Institute of Health & Welfare: Seasonality of Death,’ Bulletin No. 3;9–10, http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/aus/bulletin03/bulletin03.pdf

Eden D 1998, Energy medicine: balance your body’s energies for optimum health, joy and vitality, New York: Tarcher/Putnam

Groves P 1997, The philosophy of natural healing, Sydney, The Triam Press

Judith A 1987, Wheels of life, St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications

Pert C 1997, Molecules of emotion: the science behind mind-body medicine, New York: Scribner:242–243

Rinpoche S 1992, The tibetan book of living and dying, London, Rider:60

Stein D 1987, The women’s book of healing, St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications

Stone J 1994, The complete ascension manual: how to achieve ascension in this lifetime, Flagstaff: Light Technology Publishing

The Lancet 2000; 355:812, http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140673605724314/fulltext


Kate is a qualified naturopath who is passionate about helping women heal from hormonal havoc and inspiring women to know their own power, worth and wisdom.

Kate offers one-on-one Skype consults for irregular cycles, PMS and period pain, endometriosis, PCOS, peri-menopause, mood swings, fatigue and mental and emotional stress.

Simply drop me an email to see how I can help you!

 

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