Meditation Benefits: Patience and the Practice of Meditation

Patience and the practice of meditation will equal consistency. And because every action has a reaction, it’s not possible to consistently practice and not receive benefits. However, those benefits may not be noticeable to you early on in your practice. This is where your patience comes in. You may not, in the beginning, notice the benefits, but gradually over time, because you are storing the samskaras (impressions) in your unconscious mind, the benefits will bloom to help you later. And because it takes time to notice the results be consistent, and most of all, gentle with yourself.

Meditation Benefits: Patience and the Practice of Meditation

Patience and the Practice of Meditation

Meditation is quietly looking inward, beyond the mind and discovering the different levels of your being, one after another. This process is personal and it is experiential, meaning that it can only grow out of practice and not by intellectual pursuits. This is important because you “need to do in order to be.”

In his article in the “times of India,” Sant Rajinder Singh notes that there are two ‘elements’ which make up the study and pursuit of spiritual (self-realization) teaching, Study and practice (he refers to study as theorizing). Singh warns against too much study and not enough practice.

As a way of illustrating the point he tells us a story of  Buddha and one of his disciples Malunkyaputta.

“While we must satisfy the mind and have our questions answered, we do not want to get trapped into mental wrangling, for that is like a spider web in which we may get stuck.

The Buddha spent 45 years teaching spiritual truths to enable people to break free of the karmic wheel of life that binds them to this world. Buddha was full of compassion and served humanity selflessly. The only time he did not tour was during the rainy season, when he stayed in one place. He gave all an equal chance to find the way to enlightenment.

So many questions

One day, a disciple, Malunkyaputta sought an interview with the Buddha. Malunkyaputta had a restless mind, that asked: “Is the world infinite or finite? Is the soul identical with the human body?” Since he was preoccupied with these questions, he could not meditate. He requested the Buddha to answer his questions failing which he would leave the order.

Buddha replied, “O Malunkyaputta, did I ever ask you to take up this path and did I promise you that I would answer these intellectual wranglings?” The disciple sheepishly replied, “No.” Buddha said, “Whoever worries about these meaningless speculations such as whether the world is infinite or finite, or whether the soul looks like the body, is taking away time from spiritual practice. It is just like someone who is shot by an arrow who instead of letting the doctor treat him to get out the poison starts saying, ‘I will not allow my wound to be treated until I know who is the man who shot me, what kind of person is he, is he tall or short, what type of bow and arrow did he use, or what colour is his skin.’ The key is to get treatment first. Similarly, if we say we will not do our spiritual practices until we get answers to these questions about whether the universe is eternal or not, and other such questions, then one may pass one’s whole life and never reach the spiritual goal.”

While in the Simsapa forest near Kosambi, Buddha was sitting with his disciples. He picked up a few leaves and asked his disciples, “What is your opinion? Which is more? Is it the few leaves in my hand, or the leaves in the forest around us?”

The disciples said, “You have very few leaves in your hand, while there are many more in the forest.” Buddha then told them, “It is the same with my teachings. Of everything I know, I have only told you a little. What I have not told you is much more, like the leaves in the forest. Why did I not tell you everything I know? The reason is that all that information is not useful. Information that will not lead to enlightenment, I have not told you. I have only told you that which you need to know to gain the spiritual experience and find salvation.”

Practise makes perfect

As we think about our own lives, many get involved in intellectual pursuits. But there comes a point when we find that the mind will never stop its wrangling. We have to discriminate which questions will help our spiritual progress and which ones are merely to satisfy the intellect’s curiosity. People who are steeped in the theoretical side of religion can spend years debating each point found in scriptural writings and never find any solution. It is far better to spend time in our spiritual practices so that we can rise above our limited intellect and come in contact with our soul. Then, we will not have to wonder about answers, for we will know them for certain and see them for ourselves. Our soul has all the answers; it is one with the Lord.” Read more…

In cultivating a meditation practice, how much and what technique you need to practice, will depend on your motivation. If you simply want a little less stress in your life, you don’t need to meditate three or four hours a day, on the other hand if you are seeking spiritual awakening, then ten minutes in the morning really isn’t going to cut it. This is where the “theorizing” come in, after determining your motivation you can begin to discover which meditation or combination of meditation practices fit your needs.    

No matter which technique(s) you decide upon, at first you will see progress in terms of feeling less stress, physically relaxed and emotionally calmer. As your practice progresses and depending, again on your intention, you may begin to notice subtle changes. At this stage some of the benefits of meditation will only make themselves known over time and are less dramatic.

With persistence, patience and the practice of meditation, you will discover a sense of freedom. Freedom from everyday worries and the freedom to experience the joy in this moment.

What is your motivation? What meditation techniques do you use, and do you need help determining what one fits your needs. You can share here.

And if you want the message of meditation to spread, please click the LIKE button below share this article on Facebook.

The Benefits of Short-Term Meditation



The benefits of Short-Term Meditation

The benefits of Short-Term Meditation

This a small yet, I believe, significant study in which the conclusion appears to be, that even with a short term, but regular, meditation practice, the benefits are measurable and quantifiable. This study, scheduled to be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that there are, after only five weeks, changes in brain activity.

Research has long proven, in hundreds of studies on the health benefits of meditation, those who meditate regularly consistently to better when their markers for health are measured. The question that had yet to be answered was, just how fast could we expect to see measurable results?

This study is a nice step in that direction. Here I believe that I will let Divya Menon, of Psychological Science take over…

In the late 1990s, Jane Anderson was working as a landscape architect. That meant she didn’t work much in the winter, and she struggled with seasonal affective disorder in the dreary Minnesota winter months. She decided to try meditation and noticed a change within a month. “My experience was a sense of calmness, of better ability to regulate my emotions,” she says. Her experience inspired a new study which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, which finds changes in brain activity after only five weeks of meditation training.

Previous studies have found that Buddhist monks, who have spent tens of thousands of hours of meditating, have different patterns of brain activity. But Anderson, who did this research as an undergraduate student together with a team of University of Wisconsin-Stout faculty and students, wanted to know if they could see a change in brain activity after a shorter period.

At the beginning of the study, each participant had an EEG, a measurement of the brain’s electrical activity. They were told: “Relax with your eyes closed, and focus on the flow of your breath at the tip of your nose; if a random thought arises, acknowledge the thought and then simply let it go by gently bringing your attention back to the flow of your breath.”

Then 11 people were invited to take part in meditation training, while the other 10 were told they would be trained later. The 11 were offered two half-hour sessions a week, and encouraged to practice as much as they could between sessions, but there wasn’t any particular requirement for how much they should practice.

After five weeks, the researchers did an EEG on each person again. Each person had done, on average, about seven hours of training and practice. But even with that little meditation practice, their brain activity was different from the 10 people who hadn’t had training yet. People who had done the meditation training showed a greater proportion of activity in the left frontal region of the brain in response to subsequent attempts to meditate. Other research has found that this pattern of brain activity is associated with positive moods.

The shift in brain activity “was clearly evident even with a small number of subjects,” says Christopher Moyer, one of Anderson’s coauthors at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. “If someone is thinking about trying meditation and they were thinking, ‘It’s too big of a commitment, it’s going to take too much rigorous training before it has an effect on my mind,’ this research suggests that’s not the case.” For those people, meditation might be worth a try, he says. “It can’t hurt and it might do you a lot of good.”

“I think this implies that meditation is likely to create a shift in outlook toward life,” Anderson says. “It has really worked for me.” Click here to visit the original source of this post

When we bring the mind-body into balance and increase our overall levels of peace, well-being and relaxation, through regular meditation, it causes the f life-affirming chemicals into our bloodstream and enhances our immune system. Studies have shown that, not only will you live longer, but your mind will stay sharper and you will be less likely to suffer from depression and other mental health problems. And now we will happen in a much shorter time that previously believed.

“The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this life. For it is only through meditation that you can undertake the journey to discover your true nature, and so find the stability and confidence you will need to live, and die, well. Meditation is the road to enlightenment.” ~ Sogyal Rinpoche

8 Ways Meditation Benefits Can Change Your Life


8 Ways Meditation Benefits Can Change Your Life

8 Ways Meditation Benefits Can Change Your Life

Ed and deb Shapiro are living their purpose, and it’s the very same purpose that’s everyone reason for being, and that’s to be happy. When we really examine the motivation for every choice we make, we discover that we make all of them because we believe that the outcome of those choices will bring us happiness.

Meditation is a powerful way to help us shape and guide our thinking. And meditation is the path that the Shapiro’s have chosen to guide them on this journey in the pursuit of happiness.

Their new book, “Be the Change,” is already a treasured part of my meditation library. It contains the wisdom of more than one hundred meditation teachers sharing their thoughts on various subjects related to the practice of meditation, as well as, some of their own thoughts.

In this post they share some of that wisdom by sharing with us 8 ways you can benefit from meditation and how the practice can create more happiness in your life…

“We can’t imagine what life would be like without meditation. It has seen us through tough times and many life changes, keeping us sane and grounded and real. Life is challenging enough, we can never know what will arise next and only when our minds are clear and focused can we make the best decisions.

How are you able to deal with the madness and chaos that occurs daily? How do you deal with the challenges of life? Meditation is highly misunderstood and often under-rated yet is perhaps what it takes to be a truly sane person. How does meditation affect us? How does it shift our priorities, enable us to make friends with ourselves, to find answers to our questions?

Here are eight ways meditation can make your life more meaningful and enjoyable!

1. Living With Kindness

No one deserves your kindness and compassion more than yourself. Every time you see or feel suffering, every time you make a mistake or say something stupid and are just about to put yourself down, every time you think of someone you are having a hard time with, every time you encounter the confusion and difficulty of being human, every time you see someone else struggling, upset, or irritated, you can stop and bring loving kindness and compassion. Breathing gently, silently repeat: May I be well, may I be happy, May I be filled with loving kindness.

2. Lightening the Load

In a stressed state, it is easy to lose touch with inner peace, compassion and kindness; in a relaxed state, your mind is clear and you can connect with a deeper sense of purpose and altruism. Meditation and medication are derived from the Latin word medicus, to care or to cure. A time of quiet calmness is, therefore, the most effective remedy for a busy and overworked mind. Anytime you feel stress rising, heart closing, mind going into overwhelm, just bring your focus to your breathing and quietly repeat with each in- and out-breath: Breathing in, I calm the body and mind; breathing out, I smile.

3. Letting Go of Me

Stillness is always there between the thoughts, behind the story, beneath the noise. What keeps us from experiencing our natural state of being is the habitual and ego-dominated monkey mind. Meditation enables us to see clearly, to witness our thoughts and behavior and reduce self-involvement. Without such a practice of self-reflection there is no way of putting a brake on the ego’s demands. From being self-centered, we can become other-centered, concerned about the welfare of all.

4. Dissolving Anger and Fear

We do not accept or release our negative feelings so easily, we are more likely to repress or disown them. But when denied they cause shame, depression, anger, and anxiety. Meditation invites you to openly meet these places, and to see how selfishness, aversion and ignorance create endless dramas and fears. Beneath these is a quiet stillness where you can get to know yourself; this is a wondrous and beautiful experience. Whether you practice for just ten minutes a day or longer does not matter. You are releasing your limitations, while opening to self-acceptance and awareness.”

I’ve included four of the eight way meditation can change your life, if here you want to read the rest (something I would recommend) just click continue.

I thought it would be appropriate to end this post with a quote from Robert Thurman, from his forward to “Be the Change,” on finding your true purpose.

“The great mystics of Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were all blown away when they found nirvana or the kingdom of God within. We need not think they are so far beyond us. All of them patiently told us we could find our true purpose, discover our real meaningfulness, and actually enjoy happiness.”

The Benefits of Meditation on the Bhagavad Gita

The concept that we are not our minds ᅠand that its one of the benefits of meditation on the Bhagavad Gita, may seem extremely strange or even a bit incomprehensible to those new to meditation, Yoga and non-dual philosophy.

Benefits of Meditation on the Bhagavad Gita

Benefits of Meditation on the Bhagavad Gita

It becomes a bit easier to grasp the idea that you are not your mind by simply becoming aware of your thoughts as they arise; then you will begin to notice your mind is off wondering into the past or fantasizing about the future. If you continue with this practice, you will soon begin to realize that your mind has a mind of its own and that you only have control of it in those moments of awareness. ᅠ

This is explained so well by Gadadhara Pandit Dasa, I might as well let him take over, enter the teacher…

Have you ever wondered about why your mind works the way it does, and how it comes up with all of its scattered, random and half-organized thoughts? Where are all of these thoughts coming from, and what’s the reason they are there? Many of our thoughts originate from experiences we’ve had in the past, but the mind will also come up with dreamlike scenarios about events that have yet to take place in our lives.

We will find ourselves in a scenario for a future event, and we will be fully imagining the experience of what it would be like to live in that scenario. Some of these situations can be pleasant, while others are very nightmarish.

We’ve all had experiences where we can be eating, sleeping, walking down the street, studying, working, listening to music or even engaging in a conversation with someone else, and the mind will begin to drift away to somewhere else. We didn’t consciously decide to let the mind wander, but it did. It just left us standing there talking to someone while it decided to go away for a while. This happens all the time!

No one willingly chooses to have a nightmare where one is chased by an animal, attacked by a murderer or falls off of a cliff. We can wake up in a sweat with our heart beating a million miles an hour. It becomes obvious that we weren’t in control of our thoughts at that time, and that we are rarely ever in control of our thoughts at any time.

The Bhagavad Gita describes the tendency of the mind as follows: “For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.”

By referring to the mind as a friend or an enemy, the Gita treats the mind as if it were something different from us. Many times it can sure feel as if someone else, or even a whole group of people, is carrying on elaborate dialogues up there that have little to do with our present reality.

Many Hindu texts create a distinction between the physical body, the mind and intelligence. The mind is often compared to an impulsive child who isn’t capable of making proper decisions, and the intelligence is likened to a parent that helps the mind choose the appropriate and healthy course of action.

A mind that isn’t given proper attention and is allowed to run wild can cause havoc in our lives. The uncontrolled mind is the sole source of fear, stress and anger in our lives. We’ve all had the experience of recalling instances where others might have physically, financially or emotionally hurt us. Even though we tell ourselves that “it’s over and that there’s no need to continue to remember such instances,” we find that the mind forcibly brings these thoughts back to the forefront of our consciousness.

The Gita explains that we can either become liberated with the help of our mind or completely degrade our consciousness. Believe it or not, the choice is ours. It may be possible to avoid unpleasant situations, uncomfortable places or unfriendly people, but the mind isn’t something we can escape.

The mind lives within us and controls our thoughts, emotions and actions. We go to sleep with it every night and we wake up with it every morning. If we’re going to spend that much time with someone, doesn’t it make sense to develop a friendship with that individual? The question arises: How do you develop a friendship with someone that you can’t see or touch or really even talk to?

First of all, we have to acknowledge that we have a mind and not that we are the mind. Second, we need to be able to admit that we have very little control over the mind’s activities. Thirdly, we need to know that we’re never going to have complete control over the mind.

Of course, we’re not talking about controlling the mind in some forceful, unnatural way. What we want to accomplish is a harmonious relationship between the mind, intelligence and the soul, so that these different components of our being can be on the same page more often. This will lead to a happier and more peaceful existence. This, of course, requires training and practice. Nothing worth achieving ever comes easy.

For those new to the idea of training the mind the whole concept may seem a bit incomprehensible. Making it compressible is one of the benefits of meditation on the Bhagavad Gita, because this is what the Bhagavad Gita teaches us.

Meditation is the tool, not to control the mind, but to go beyond it or at least to ignore it, because you don’t have to learn to stop your thoughts, an impossible task anyway; instead, whenever they intrude, and depending on which approach to meditation you chose, you gently return to your breath or your mantra. After you have developed a regular practice you will noticeᅠyour thoughts beginning to subside, you will be able to remain focused for longer periods and will experience increasing peace in your life.ᅠClick here to visit the original source of this post

Meditation Benefits: Snake oil or Elixir?

Susan Morales starts her post, “The Elixir for All Our Mental Ailments,” saying that sometimes she feels like, “the stereotype of a snake oil salesperson,” when she’s touting all the meditation benefits she’s discovered.

Meditation Benefits: Snake oil or Elixir?

Meditation Benefits: Snake oil or Elixir?

I and many other have said have said this before, meditation is power; the paradox is that it can look and seem as if you are not getting anything accomplished, you’re just sitting there, standing there or lying there simply ‘being.’ ᅠBut as I said, meditation is power, when you learn meditation; you are learning the power of stress relief, concentration and awareness and the power that come from the many health benefits of meditation.

What I really enjoyed about this post was the wonderful ‘prescriptions that Susan offers up for us to try. So without further ado, I’ll let Susan present them…

For those with busy minds:

Yes, our minds are very busy. The brain’s job is to think, think and think. However, we tend to over-utilize the analytic function. When our minds are overstimulated, thoughts can become repetitive, like the proverbial broken record. Try one or two of these solutions:

  • Try one two-minute dose of watching your thoughts.

Set a timer for two minutes and pay attention to what thoughts arise. Watching your thoughts engages a different part of the brain, and your brain waves slow down. I imagine my thoughts are like popcorn randomly popping. By observing my thoughts and then waiting to see which will pop up next, I start to relax. You might prefer imagining a rushing stream or floating clouds. The point is to enjoy your thoughts instead of fighting them or dwelling on them.

  • Meditate when your thoughts are naturally slower.

When I awake in the morning, my mind is racing. For someone else this might be the quietest time. I still meditate every morning, because it sets a great tone for the day. But I find an afternoon meditation or an evening meditation takes me into a deeper state. Try different times of the day until you find what’s easiest.

  • Give your mind a focus.

The Ericksonian Institute teaches one of my favorite techniques. Begin with your eyes open. Pick seven objects at different locations in the room. Focus on one object, then on another. Keep moving your focus until you’ve seen each object. Repeat this until you feel your eyelids getting heavy. Then simply meditate on the feeling of heaviness.

For those who can’t sit still:

The reason most of us can’t sit still is because we have lots of energy that doesn’t get used in our daily lives. Perhaps your ancestors were farmers or physical laborers, and you sit behind a desk. Many folks with this kind of excess energy choose to exercise. In fact, I hear, “Exercise is my meditation.” Yes, it does quiet the mind and relax the body. However, if you’d like to go beyond those benefits, I suggest you learn to sit quietly with yourself.

  • Use your workout to prepare you for meditation.

After you go for a run, play your favorite sport or take an aerobics class, sit quietly and feel what is going on inside your body. I love to do this. My breathing slows down and my muscles soften. There’s a pleasant sensation of energy moving through my body. I lie down on a mat after teaching a spinning class and lead my students into five minutes of relaxation. If you take yoga classes, you’ll recognize this as Shivasana.

  • Allow your body to move while meditating.

If you absolutely can’t sit still, even after a workout, try allowing your torso to sway side to side or rock back and forth. You can also do this with your head. Move it up and down or lower your right ear toward your right shoulder and then your left ear to your left shoulder. The rhythm of these motions can be very soothing and lead your mind and body to shift into a quieter state.

  • Sit cross-legged on the floor.

I find that sitting cross-legged either on a wide-seated chair or on the floor takes me out of my usual routine and shouts to me, “You’re going to meditate now!” My legs become engaged in an active, completely different way. There is work going on in my thighs, calves and hips, and that effort exhausts some of the excess energy. I also associate sitting on the floor with my childhood. So, there’s a shift to feeling younger and more flexible, physically and mentally.ᅠ

The greatest challenge, as Susan points out, is actually practicing meditation, because to receive any real meditation benefits you actually have to practice it. I can remember Deepak telling us, at one of the retreats at the Chopra Center, that if a doctor prescribed a medication, that by practicing it twenty minutes a day it would allow us to grow younger and live a longer, happier life; we wouldn’t hesitate to take her advice.

Well here Susan is offering us a mental health multi-vitamin in the form of meditation, a shift in perspective to energize your practice. To your complete health, body, mind and soul, bottoms up or should I say, down onto the cushion. Click here to visit the original source of this post