Meditation benefits: Four Types of Meditation used by Deepak Chopra

All meditation is a search for the unconditioned level of awareness. In his search for this level of awareness, Deepak Chopra says he uses four types of meditation in his everyday practice. Each style of meditation, when practiced on its own or in conjunction with one of the others is capable of taking the mind out of its restless, agitated state while leading it towards a higher state of awareness.

In the video below Deepak discusses the four different meditation practices he uses and what their benefits are.

The four types of meditation that Deepak is referring to are Transcendence, Divine Attitudes, Self-reflection and Self-regulation.

The first of the four types of meditation is Transcendence which is reached, in this particular method, by means of a mantra or the repletion of a Divine word or phrase.

 In mantra meditation the mind is kept occupied with a sound that competes with your thoughts; this allows the mind to settle down which, eventually, will take you to a place where there is no mantra or thoughts.

In the wisdom traditions, from which meditation originated, reality was understood to flow from the source, moving from the subtler levels of creativity to the grosser level of physicality. This route of creation, which moves from stillness and silence into the subtle levels of the mind, through thoughts, emotions and sensations, finally arriving at, and creating through perception, the solid object of the material world.

Meditation is the practice of retracing this path, leaving the world of the material first and then slipping beyond thoughts, emotions and sensations, arriving back at the ground state of creation, stillness and silence.     

Meditation is a process that develops and grows over time, with repetition being considered to be the quickest way to calm the mind. And mantra can be repeated, silently or out loud, in a formal meditation or at any time during the day. By repeating the mantra the mind is released from its habitual and negative thought patterns, as Deepak says, “it’s going beyond the body and the mind.”

The second meditation practice that Deepak talks about is, “remembering the experience of love,” or “Divine attitudes.” In the remembering the experiences of love will awaken the limbic system and ‘evoke specific neurotransmitters and self-regulation mechanisms.’

The practice is to stay with the feelings of love, empathy, gratitude, joy, forgiveness, compassion and equanimity; these are the ‘Divine attitudes,’ that take us out of our ‘separate selves.’

In remembering joy we are remembering the peak experiences in life; experiences that take us beyond our individuated selves. When we feel Empathy, we are feeling someone else’s pain and in feeling compassion we feel their pain and have the desire to help alleviate it.

Equanimity, which from a spiritual perspective encompasses the Divine attitudes, is described as a state of mental or emotional stability or composure arising from a deep awareness and acceptance of the present moment. The Bhagavad Gita teaches that equanimity is a balance and centeredness that endures through all change, and is achieved through meditation.

In Buddhism equanimity is the conscious realization of the transience of material reality and is the ground for wisdom and freedom and the protector of compassion and love.

Creating the feelings of equanimity or compassion can be accomplished by evoking thoughts or images of Buddha, Jesus or any other figure that embodies the feelings of those qualities that you are seeking to recreate in your own heart. 

The third process or meditation is Self-reflection. Self-reflection, as a meditation, is a process of contemplation, which is practiced by asking and reflecting on questions that are fundamental. Questions I think of as ‘soul questions,’ such as, ‘who am I,’  ‘what do I want,’ ‘what is my purpose,’ ‘how can I serve,’ or what are my relationships like and how can I contribute to them?’

This Self-reflection meditation is the meditation of archetypes; it’s the practice of embodying the qualities of the mythic logical archetypes in consciousness. The emphasis in Self-reflection meditation, being on the qualities of the archetypes, while the emphasis in the “Divine attitudes” meditation, is on the feelings of archetypes.

 Archetypes help us understand and define who we are and they allow us to get in touch the god or goddess inside of ourselves.    

The archetypes can be from mythology or they can be from real life, for example Martin Luther King Jr., (who himself evoked the archetype of Mahatma Gandhi), Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha or anyone who reaches greatness, beyond daily life, by tapping into the collective consciousness.     

The process is to ask the ‘soul questions’ and evoke the answers by embodying your archetype while connecting with the collective consciousness in the field of stillness and silence.

The fourth type of meditation is Self-regulation. A Practice known to the ancient yogis is body regulation, which is accomplished through the use of intention when in the field of silence.

This practice of Self-regulation through body awareness, known in science as, the psychosomatic process and mechanism of visceral sensory psychobiology, defined as interoception, and is understood to be how consciousness influences bodily functions, including the effects of the input on cognitive functions, behavior and emotion.

From the yogis’ point of view, body regulation is how they see their interior world. In the beginning the practitioner simply becomes aware of their interior, perceiving their heart, lungs, all their internal organs and then after a time can, through intention, begins to control them.   

Deepak believes, by practicing Self-regulation a person can restore wholeness and homeostasis or balance to the body-mind, and by practicing these four types of meditation, that not only would we be healthier but we would gain a deeper sense of spirituality.

The Meditation Benefits for Childhood Learning

SEL is short for social and emotional learning and is the basis on which Goldie Hawn, yes that Goldie Hawn, created the MindUP curriculum, a program aimed at helping your kids improves classroom learning and behavior with real world application.

This is not some ‘new age,’ airy fairy stuff; this program is ground on a solid science based platform that showed, “SEL improves academic achievement, as measured by standardized tests and grades as well as conduct problems — including disruptive classroom behaviors, aggression, bullying, school suspensions and delinquent acts.”ᅠ

Basically, Hawn’s foundation wants to teach kids how to meditate. And New York state is getting behind this movement, so New Yorkers, get ready for your kids to ommmm all the way home. I’ve always been a big fan of meditation, and those moments when my  
The Stir (blog)

The Hawn foundation working with one of the nation’s oldest educational materials companies, Scholastic publishers, created a curriculum for schools to implement the MindUP program. Over a thousand schools are using the MindUP program and improvement in grade as well as test scores and reduction in bulling and disruptive behavior.

It’s the core practice, based on meditation techniques, which are the foundation of the MindUP program. It’s this meditation benefit that allows our kids improve their capacity to focus, pay attention and succeed.

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Helping American student compete – a meditation benefit?

It’s no secret that American student are not at the top of the academic achievement ladder when compared to their peers, in fact they are 25th out 34 in math competences.

Published in the March 2011 edition of the journal Education, a study found that student that practiced meditation showed academic improvement when compared to controls.

The studies are showing that meditation affects the brain in different ways and that different meditation techniques also have different affects.

That’s why meditating students can focus and get their class work done more easily.” Researchers have long known that various meditation practices affect the brain–and different techniques change the brain in different ways. 2 Says William Stixrud,

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The author is making the case for addition of meditation to the classroom. For those of us who have made meditation a part of our lives, it would seem to be a no brainer. The problem is that there are those who, because they lack (in my opinion) a real understanding of the practice, fear that a ‘no brainer’ is what will happen to the students; or even worse, they will be brain washed.

This lack of understanding is causing some resistance in places where meditation has been introduced in to the classroom, and I’m glad to see that there are those who will continue to champion this cause because its benefits, to the student and ultimately to all of us, are significant.