Meditation in its broadest and most universal definition, is a discipline that involves turning the mind and attention inward and focusing on a single thought, image, object or feeling. Meditation is sometimes called attention regulation (or attention training). Various meditation practices can be further defined according to the object of meditation, whether the mind is focused on the breath, the mantra, the body, a deity, or an attribute like stillness, peace, love, etc.
Meditation as a spiritual and religious practice has been dated back as far as 5,000 to 3,500 BCE in the Indus Valley Civilization & is a practice that has many forms and spans various Asian cultures. As it arrived in new spots it would take on different forms to fit the cultures and religions.
“Meditation is not passive sitting in silence. It is sitting in awareness, and realising the clear understanding that arises from concentration.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Over the past 10 years, neuroimaging has shown altered brain structures from meditation including...
· Prefrontal Cortex: Greater awareness in processing complex, abstract information and introspection
· Sensory Cortices: Tactile information like touch, pain, and body awareness
· Hippocampus: Memory and facilitating emotional responses
· Anterior and Mid-Cingulate Cortex: selfcontrol, regulations of emotions and attention
· Corpus Callosum: communication between hemispheres of the brain
Studies have shown the benefits of meditation against an array of conditions both physical and mental, including irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.
- Buddha -
Meditation allows us an opportunity to observe our feelings, hold space for them, replace negativity with positive energy, and release it into the world. It is about becoming aware of our inner selves, like sitting with your best friend, your soul, and listening. Some say you can hear God speak to you – whatever you believe, a higher being, spirits, your own intuition, the way to find it is to sit in silence & meditate. You will hear your innermost thoughts, and your thoughts stimulate feelings. Those feelings initiate a chemical response in the body – positive thoughts therefore create positive emotions in the body.
“Feel the feeling but don’t become the emotion. Witness it. Allow it. Release it“. – Crystal Andrus One of the best things about meditation, besides all the effects it has on both body and mind? It’s FREE! You can practice it anytime & anywhere. So, whether you’re an early morning riser, or like to take a moment later in the day for yourself, you can practice meditation.
For me personally, I usually enjoy meditating early in the morning, or in the evening when I’m starting my bed time routine. HOWEVER, there have definitely been days where I just need to breathe & reset tough emotions, in which case I will go and sit in nature, with the sunshine beaming down & feeling the warmth on my body. I love to connect & ground myself in nature at the same time I’m connecting to my inner self. I know this all sounds hard – I truly had a hard time for many years, finding benefit or change… it wasn’t until I let myself to feel, to slow down, and to make this a DAILY PRACTICE that I saw & felt the true benefits…. So all I ask, is give it a chance! “Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak” - Buddha
Is meditation associated with altered brain structure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of morphometric neuroimaging in meditation practitioners https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24705269/
A Brief History of Meditation https://meditationaustralia.org.au/a-history-of-meditation/
7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change The Brain https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/09/7-ways-meditation-can-actually-change-the-brain/?sh=7b0c7b571465
Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858