Meditation For A Healthy Mind
“Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Meditation, as simplistic as the action is, can be difficult for some people to understand. Their heads are filled with questions and misconceptions, and this creates an aura of mystery that seems impenetrable. Yet, if you take the time to learn more about meditation and it’s benefits, the point of meditation will become clear.
What’s In It For Me?
Like with most other activities, there’s a “What’s in it for me?” mentality. Whether you’ve been meditating for 8 weeks or 80 years, there is a growing pool of evidence supporting the benefits of meditation. Recently, studies have been done that show meditation can decrease the risk of heart attacks, improve information processing in the brain, reduce anxiety levels and improve mood, and decrease depression, just to name a few.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is a tool to help calm, focus, and relax the mind. Our mind, if left to it’s own devices, will flitter from thought to thought, like a monkey jumping from tree to tree. This is what the Buddhist’s refer to as the Wild Monkey Mind. Our anxiety, stress, and suffering can be traced to our attachment to these thoughts as they race through our mind. We can never stop the thoughts, but we can break our attachment to them.
We accomplish this by focusing on something else, usually our breath, but we can also focus on a sound, candle, incense, or image. In the early stages, you will find yourself immersed in your thoughts. When that happens, just gently bring your attention back to your breath and continue your meditation. It is this single-pointed focus that is the essence of meditation. If we can accomplish this in our meditation, with all it’s benefits, imagine what it could do in our every day life.
There is no end-game to meditation. Like fitness or diet, it is something that needs to be done consistently to enjoy it’s many benefits. Meditation on it’s own is very effective, but when combined with Tai Chi, Qigong, and Yoga, you’ll find they complement each other and can create a deeper understanding of yourself.