A Benefit of Meditation is Survival in the 21st Century

 

The Benefits of Meditation in a Fast Paced World

The Benefits of Meditation in a Fast Paced World

Of the many benefits of meditation, you would think that survival in today’s world might be at or near the top of the list. And how, you may ask, can meditation help me survive in the 21st century? Because meditation is an antidote to stress, the kind of stress that comes as the result of isolation, loneliness, alienation and creates related illnesses and depression.

Meditation provides a way of transforming stress and anxiety into balance and ease. During meditation the body shifts into a state of restful awareness, which is a counterbalance to all the negative effects on the body-mind cause by chronic stress.

But in order to enjoy the benefits of meditation you will first need to carve out a few minutes a day, and it’s right at this point that you may discover your first “resistance” to meditation, in the form of thoughts, all of which are giving you good reasons not to meditate or why you just don’t have time to do it.

The real difference in getting past the resistance come in how you approach meditation to begin with. If you approach meditation as an obligation, something you need or should do, the chances are, you will meet with a great deal of push back, if on the other hand, your approach is one of curiosity and joy, you will get to taste the richness of the meditative experience and enjoy the commiserate benefits,

In the post I’m sharing with you here, the author informs us about “the benefits of meditation in a fast paced world” from his perspective. So here it is…

“In today’s world, very few of us have the time to stop and properly rest and relax. Most of us spend our time going from one activity to the other as if we’re nothing more than a busy bee in a giant hive. The problem with this lifestyle is that we’re all slowly wearing ourselves down to nothing. Our bodies need the rest that we deny them so often in order to properly recharge and heal. There are, however, quick forms of rest that can help to rejuvenate us and give us some much needed energy. One form of this is meditation.

Many people view meditation as only a spiritual and religious activity. While it is used by many religious and spiritual people, anybody else can gain the benefits of meditating. Meditation itself is only the act of using controlled breathing techniques to relax the body and clear the mind. Anything that would make meditation spiritual or religious is the individual, not the practice. In order to properly meditate, you need to be breathing properly. If you chest rises when you breath in, then you are breathing shallowly and improperly. If your abdomen rises when you are breathing, then you are filling your lungs completely and breathing properly.

Take a deep breath, inhale slowly and fill your lungs to capacity. When you lungs are full, hold the breath for a second, then exhale slowly. During meditation, you are focused on your breathing. Keep breathing like this until you feel relaxed. In order to focus yourself more on your breathing; inhale, hold, and exhale to a count. For example: Inhale for a count of 5, hold for a count of 2, exhale for a count of 5, hold for another count of 2 and repeat. If a count of 5 is not long enough to fill your lungs, make the count longer (but don’t hold the breath for longer than a count of 4). Keeping a count during deep breathing helps to focus you more on just that activity while clearing everything else out of your mind.

While you can use the breathing exercise at just about anytime in any place, it’s better to have a quiet place to relax in order to reap the full benefits of meditation. Any place that offers you at least a few minutes of privacy is ideal. Whether it be at home, in your car, in the break room at work or even in the bathroom, a few private minutes during the aforementioned breathing exercise will help you to relax. Sit, stand or lay in a comfortable position and initiate the breathing exercise. Relax with every inhale and let tension leave your body with every exhale. Even if you only have the time to do this for a minute, you should feel more relaxed and ready to face the challenge(s) that lie ahead of you.

One of the major upsides to meditation is that you can take as little or as much time as you want with it. Obviously the longer you meditate, the better you’ll feel, but you can still relax yourself even if you only have a minute or two. Another upside is that meditation can help you take your mind off of stress, or even pain (like getting a shot, piercing, tattoo, etc.) or can just help you to bring your mind to focus on a task that you deem to be important (like homework, housework, or a business project).

If you want to meditate to focus, just bring the task to the front of your mind after you use the breathing exercise to clear everything else out. Keep breathing and think about the task at hand. Tell yourself that you want to get the task done in a specific time frame, that you will keep your focus on the task and block out distractions until it is done. Keep this up until you feel ready, then get started with your task. This may be hard at first, but the longer you do it, the shorter the time it takes to keep your focus until you don’t even have to meditate to focus on a task.

Remember that you can meditate just about anywhere at any time and you can use the breathing exercises to simply relax yourself when you need to.”

Meditation is surrounded by paradox and developing a practice is one of them. Because, first of all, the ‘act’ of meditating is not an ‘act,’ it’s a state of being, and secondly, we tend to think of freedom as escape from routine and discipline, and yet, in meditation, it’s the creation of a regular practice that liberates us by creating space within as we discover our true nature.

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The Benefit of Meditation in Groups

I have always believed the benefits of meditation are enhanced when you join with others and that’s been true for me whether I’m meditating with one other person or hundreds in a Satsang. ᅠThere is a certain ineffable quality found in meditating with others.

The Benefits of Meditation in Groups

The Benefits of Meditation in Groups

Meditating together, even for a short period, you will begin to attune at a deeper level of being. Research seems to be showing that the connections created between meditators that practice regularly together have continued coherence, which reaches beyond normal space-time (non-locally), acting in much the same way as quantum entanglement. ᅠᅠᅠ

That debate aside, Mallika Chopra, eloquently paints the picture of the benefits of meditation in groups in her post, so without further ado, here’s Mallika…

“I learned to meditate when I was nine years old, and it has proved to be an invaluable technique for dealing with stress and being at peace with who I am.

One of my favorite memories growing up is meditating with my parents. When I would come home from school, my brother and I would settle in for the afternoon, do our homework, watch some television and usually before dinner spend 15 minutes meditating with my mom. And on other occasions, when my dad (Deepak Chopra) was leading a seminar or speaking to a big group of people, we would meditate with dozens, if not, hundreds of other people.

While meditation is fundamentally about self-exploration, the coherence from meditating with others makes it personally and socially more powerful. While some are skeptical, there have been numerous studies that have shown that a large group of people meditating together has a measurable effect on the greater population.

For me personally, meditating with others helps me feel more connected. The experience of knowing that silence I experience in my meditation is the same silence that the person sitting next to me is tapping into is quite moving.

Meditating together also lets us come together in shared intentions for change. On a global scale, we have witnessed many times how a small handful of people strongly unified by a common intent can profoundly influence a larger group of people. Great global movements for peace, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Gandhi, have always begun with a coming together of people who want peace for the greater good.”

Mallika continues in the post and offers a section on “How to start a group Meditation,” along with a short guided imagery meditation.

While I have no objective ‘proof,’ I believe that the benefits of meditation in groups are the healing of individuals and humanity by exponentially increasing the energy of peace and love in the world. ᅠClick here to visit the original source of this post

The Benefits of Meditation in Keeping Your Heart Fit

The benefits of meditation and yoga have long been known in the wellness movement as a good preventive measure for heart disease. It seems, now, that these practices may stop or even reverse heart disease and other serious illness.

Recent research as gone to the genetic level and it’s been shown that hundreds of genes may change their expression in as short a time as a few months after the person make a lifestyle change in a positive direction.

Genes associated with heart disease and inflammation where “turned off” or down-regulated and genes that were found to be protective where up-regulated.

In this post the author speaks to the benefits of meditation and yoga on the heart, especially the blood vessels.ᅠ

“It has been seen that practicing yoga and meditation about three times a week helps in decreasing pulse,ᅠblood pressure and potential risk of heart problems. Yoga proves to be effective in healthy individuals as well as people diagnosed with heart disease.

Research indicates that around six week practice of yoga and meditation can improve the functioning of blood vessels, known as endothelial function, by 17% in healthy individuals and people with heart diseases by 70%. Blood vessel function indicates atherosclerosis as the vessels constrict and expand less as they become less supple. The program included 20 minutes of deep relaxation, 40 minutes of postural yoga, 15 minutes of breathing yoga exercises and 15 minutes of meditation.

Yoga and meditations are very effective in stress and anxiety, which are the main causes of coronary artery diseases (CAD). Experts believe that CAD development can be reduced with regular yoga combined with a vegetarian diet.

Many yoga poses are effective in augmenting the fitness of your heart, proper blood circulation and strengthening the heart muscle. Some of the best poses for cardiovascular fitness are the warrior pose and the triangle pose. These also enhance the stamina, replenish the body and promotes better sleep.

For strengthening the heart, reducing muscle cramps and enhancing flexibility, you can try the tree pose, the mountain pose and the lotus pose.

So, if you are also suffering from heart problems, then try yoga. However, remember that yoga is not a cure for these afflictions, it will just help your system to cope with these diseases.”ᅠ

You can help your heart and receive the benefits of meditation by practicing, “Meditations on the Heart.”

Sit quietly, observing your breath and with your eyes closed bring your attention to your heart. Breathe naturally and keep your attention on your heart, feel it beating in your chest or hear it pulsing in your ears, feel it in whatever way you find comfortable. Allow any feelings or sensations to arise and let them go, simply let them pass. And when your attention wanders, gently bring it back to your heart center. Continue for ten to fifteen minutes.ᅠClick here to visit the original source of this post

Benefits of Meditation in healing the Invisible scars of quake trauma

The subject of the benefits of meditation in helping to heal the trauma caused by earthquakes, especially the one that happened in New Zealand this past February is very close to my heart because of close personal connections.

Benefits of Meditation in Healing

Benefits of Meditation in Healing

ᅠShortly after the quake happened I reprinted an article by Deepak Chopra, “breaking the Cycle of Anxiety,” now Lois Cairns as written an article about Dr. James Gordon, founder of the Center for mind-Body Medicine, and his seven step program to help treat those suffering from trauma and depression using non-invasive therapies.

Here is an excerpt from that article in hopes that those who need it will find it and the relief they are seeking.

“The dust may have settled since February’s devastating earthquake but months of living on edge and uncertainty about the future is taking a heavy psychological toll on Christchurch’s residents.

Healing the city’s mental scars is not going to be easy.

Dr. James Gordon, an American psychologist and former adviser to US President Bill Clinton, has made it his life mission to work in disaster zones and knows all too well the psychological issues confronting Christchurch.

Gordon founded the Centre for Mind-Body Medicine, which promotes the healing powers of non-invasive therapies such as meditation, guided imagery and yoga. He has taken his seven-step programme to treat depression without medication to child soldiers in Mozambique, to war-torn Bosnia and Serbia, to earthquake-ravaged Haiti and to hurricane-hit New Orleans.

At the heart of his group-based programme is the belief that people have the capacity – given support, some practical tools, and some hope – to help themselves and to help one another.

“The tools we use, instead of being tools that require a therapist or a doctor to do something to you or for you, are tools anyone of any age or educational level can learn for herself or himself,” Gordon says from his home in Washington. “We’re creating a community of healing rather than setting up a clinic to treat individual people.

“When an earthquake comes, your body goes into a flight or fight response,” the 69-year-old explains. “Flight or fight response is meant to be a short-term response, but after an earthquake people stay in that state of tension, so they feel anxious, they’re hyper-vigilant, they get irritable, they have trouble concentrating, difficulty sleeping.

“In Haiti where we’ve just been doing some workshops, they told us it was only after we began to teach them these relaxation techniques that they were able to get a decent night’s sleep – a year and three months after the earthquake.”

After disasters of the magnitude experienced by Christchurch it was not uncommon for people to be haunted by memories of the event and to become very withdrawn, Gordon says.

A Christchurch woman who was working in the Forsyth Barr building when the quake struck on February 22 says she is still having flashbacks and struggles to sleep.

“I’ve really tried to put it all behind me, but every time there’s another aftershock the memories come flooding back. I’ve always been someone who’s coped really well with life’s ups and downs, but I’m just not coping well at all.

“I keep finding myself in tears and I can’t remember when I last had a decent night’s sleep,” says the 31-year-old.

“I’m just on edge all the time. The things that I used to find enjoyment in just don’t seem to interest me at the moment – I used to love going to the gym, but I just can’t get motivated.”

The woman, who does not want to be identified, says she sought help from her GP, who prescribed her antidepressants and suggested counselling.

“I never thought I would be one of those people who needed pills to help them get through life … I always thought I was stronger than that. There are people who saw a lot worse than me; who have lost homes and loved ones, and they seem to be coping. I don’t understand why it’s affected me so badly.”

Gordon believes his programme could help and is keen to bring it to Christchurch, but says he needs funding. “We don’t have any independent money – we raise money for each project as we go. We also need a local partner – someone who is interested in our approach and willing to work with us.”

Since the quakes, Christchurch GPs report a 20% increase in people suffering distress. At the city’s charitable hospital, elective day surgery has been on hold because of the more immediate need for counselling.

More than 40 counselling professionals are working for free, seeing about 25 patients a day, seven days a week. The hospital has bought a neighbouring property so it can resume surgery and continue counselling.

“There is no doubt in our minds that the demand for counselling will continue over the coming months and possibly even years, as a result of the earthquake,” says hospital chair Dr Phil Bagshaw.

The demand for counselling is so pressing, the Canterbury District Health Board has now set up a specialist quake response team to liaise with GPs on mental health issues. It will set up therapy groups for those affected by the quake and conduct specialist assessments of traumatised adults and children.

Psychiatrist Dr Caroline Bell co-ordinates the Canterbury District Health Board’s psycho-social response to the quakes. She says a wave of shocked and traumatised people sought help immediately after the February quake, but then demand petered off.

Now, health providers are starting to see a fresh wave of people needing help. For many, the reality of their situation is only now sinking in. “Everybody has had so much to sort out – the logistics of everything, getting back to school, getting back to work, dealing with insurance – but now it’s starting to hit home a bit and people are starting to seek help,” says Bell.

Problems ranged from persistent anxiety and hyper-vigilance to not being able to sleep and feeling very depressed. There were also some people showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“There’s somewhat of a delay in people needing specialist help,” Bell explains. Most people responded to low-level interventions, such as counselling, but there were people with “persisting difficulties” who would need more high-level intervention.

But Christchurch clinical psychologist Dr Fran Vertue is worried there is a gap in services.

She says she was not overly concerned about those people at the higher end of the need spectrum, many with pre-existing mental health issues, as they were likely to get the care they needed.

She was more worried about a large group in the middle, whose problems were not yet severe enough to warrant the attention of the mental health services.

“What worries me is the group in the middle, who were doing fine, who have had the shock of a lifetime, and are struggling to put their lives back together again.

“If they don’t get attention, they are going to end up with serious problems.

“We could have a huge bulge of people with really serious mental health problems,” Vertue says.

“The mental health system is set up to cope with people who are severely unwell, but I worry about our lack of early intervention.”

On the plus side, Vertue says the quake would be a catalyst for some people to make positive changes in their lives.

Research shows that after other disasters, like Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 earthquake in Chile, quite significant proportions of the population found new directions.

“When your world gets turned upside down, you get to look at it another way,” says Vertue.

“For some people that’s exciting and they will grab onto it. Unfortunately there’s also a significant minority of people for whom the whole thing is catastrophic, who will probably never be the same again.”

I am reprinting this piece in hopes that it will connect with the ‘right’ people, both the folks who would like to help Dr. Gordon bring his program to those suffering in New Zealand and anyone in Christchurch how would be interested in becoming a local partner.

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The Benefits of Meditation and Dealing with Information Overload

What do the benefits of meditation have to do with business and the internet? With the byproduct of the rapid growth of technology being information overload, meditation, it turns out, may be the only way to keep from suffering “brain overload.”

Not only, it seems, can meditation help use deal with information overload, but as I wrote in the post “Benefits of Meditation in the Facebook Age,” that the paradox of meditation is the simultaneous disconnecting from the outer world while creating greater internal neural connectivity allowing for a, “…uptake in human intelligence.” ᅠᅠ

In the article, by Jacob Toews, the topic of ADHA like symptoms, caused by information overload is clearly addressed, though the benefits of meditation are only lightly touched upon.ᅠ

“The premise of a 2008 piece, which appeared in The Atlantic, was that the Internet may be “rewiring” users’ minds, making it difficult to focus for long periods of time, particularly when reading.

Mr. Carr’s hypothesis was quickly met with a wide range of responses: everything from hearty agreement to bitter dispute. But the idea that technology has affected the way society thinks has grown in acceptance over the last three years.

When the article first came out, then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt dismissed Mr. Carr’s idea, stating that people often voice similar worries after nearly every major technological development. Instead, he stated that “we’re smarter than ever.”

Almost a year later, Mr. Schmidt seemed to have changed his tone during a PBS talk show: “I worry that the level of interrupt, the sort of overwhelming rapidity of information—and especially of stressful information—is in fact affecting cognition. It is in fact affecting deeper thinking.” Similarly, he stated in an Agence France Presse article in 2010, “As the world looks to these instantaneous devices…you spend less time reading all forms of literature, books, magazines and so forth. That probably has an effect on cognition, probably has an effect on reading.”

But the effects do not end with thinking and reading. From the instant a person wakes up, he is catapulted into a “go-go-go” lifestyle, with little down time—there are schedules to keep, meetings to attend, emails to reply to, and cellphones to answer. A barrage of instant messages and text messages are also often thrown into the mix. Most of this occurs while constantly connected to the Internet, which allows access to many millions of websites, which themselves are continuously updated.

At work, the rat race can cause you to underperform. A number of studies throughout the United States have found that employees are interrupted about every three minutes. Yet it takes the brain about eight minutes to fully focus on one task to allow maximum creative input. Regardless, workers are expected to be high-alert multi-taskers at all times.

Edward M. Hallowell, an expert on the condition known as attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), notes that it is common for business executives to suspect they suffer from ADHD, when what they really suffer from is a type of “brain overload.” He explained in the Harvard Business Review that “studies have shown that as the human brain is asked to process dizzying amounts of data, its ability to solve problems flexibly and creatively declines and the number of mistakes increases.”

Welcome to life in the 21st century—with its “overwhelming rapidity of information” and “dizzying amounts of data.” For all of its positive benefits, the information age has left many feeling unproductive, “fuzzy” and scatter-brained.

All the while, many have a nagging feeling something is missing—a notion they are rushing headlong through life, with little say in how it progresses. Amid the busyness, days, weeks and months can breeze past without a person even so much as reflecting about how he is spending the 75-or-so years given to him.

So, what is the missing component in our lives? What is lacking in our hectic lifestyles?

Time to meditate.”


The REAL TRUTH

The short few remaining paragraphs, of Jacob’s piece, talk about the benefits of meditation and how the practice can be used as a tool to help deal with the problem of information overload. Click here to visit the original source of this post

Is there a benefit in a chocolate meditation?

How could chocolate play apart in meditation and, moreover, how could it benefit a meditation practice? In a word, mindfulness, and in a few more words, mindful eating.

Mark Williams, clinical psychologist at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre (OMC) suggested that a “chocolate meditation” may be one of the best ways to help someone understand mindfulness. This introduction to mindfulness seems lighthearted and fun, which it is, and yet, in these few moments of increased sensory awareness, we begin to notice that time slows down and we become more present.

This “chocolate meditation” has a deeper purpose. Because, Prof Williams, has been using mindfulness as a treatment for clinical depression, in combination with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a way of helping patients manage their anxieties.

We start the chocolate meditation. Standing together, we each unwrap a chocolate, shut our eyes, inhale its aroma, then look at it and, finally, eat it. Guided by Prof Williams’s gentle voice, the world slows down as I create a pocket of space in which  
Telegraph.co.uk

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Professor Williams has co-authored a book, ‘Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World’, introducing a combined approach of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and mindfulness, called Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), which he first developed in the 1990s.

According to Professor Williams, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy, “is the first genuinely preventative treatment for serious depression,” and “has been clinically proven to halve the risk of depression in those who have suffered the most debilitating forms of the illness.”

The Positive Meditation Benefits

I’ve included this article not because it contains any new or especially enlightening information, however, even if it isn’t terribly informative, at least you could read it if you wanted too.

I read through hundreds of articles and post a day, to bring you the best and the newest information about the benefits of meditation, and most of them are so poorly written as to be completely unintelligible. Of course this is why I started the “Meditation Benefits” site in the first place.ᅠ

All of us should try learning how to meditate in order to improve our day-to-day growth, as well as to cope with the ever busy world.

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As I said there is nothing new or very interesting in this particular piece, I simply included it as an excuse to express my feelings and to give you a little background as to why I started this project.