by Sandra Church,
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been wanting to write about meditation and it s benefits for a
long time. Both my husband and myself meditate, each for our own
individual reasons. It helps us relax and deal with day to day
problems. It helps me deal with pain from my disabling conditions,
and also clears the mind and allows us to be more creative in
our thinking. In terms of our religious beliefs, it helps us quiet
our minds for prayer and contemplation.
has some strange connotations. There are religions which center
their practice on meditation. What most of us know about meditation
comes from TV or movies. My favourite was, and still is, Kung
Fu, which is a show about a martial art.
go to the dictionary to define meditation: “a practice of
mental concentration.” Meditation has no specific religious
attachment. When you quiet your mind to begin to meditate, it
s like quieting your mind for prayer.
Meditate? There are any number of medical studies about how stress
reduction techniques helps lower blood pressure, helps reduce
pain, calms the nerves and helps one sleep better. The benefits
of reduced stress can be immediate including peace of mind, relaxation
and positive medical benefits. Some people use meditation to focus
inwardly, to increase their creativity, and to handle difficult
problems by looking for guidance from within their own minds.
Using meditation (stress control techniques if you like) is a
way to help yourself with physical and medical difficulties.
do you meditate? Many books on meditation suggest that you should
close your eyes and focus on nothing! That s very difficult as
our minds are always busy presenting us with images and ideas.
Meditation is not a way of ignoring the world or getting high.
There are many types of meditation which can be confusing. It
is a very individual experience. A person may try many techniques
until they find a method that works for them.
is no need for an individual to change their religious beliefs
to benefit from meditation. It is something that can fit into
any lifestyle and it doesn’t need to become a lifestyle
even though some individuals choose to make it the center of their
lives. It is an internal, personal experience. It is not a fetish,
nor does it need any trappings such as music or incense to be
of benefit though some people enjoy these additions. Some form
of prayer, meditation or contemplation has been taught in many
religions for centuries. We associate meditating with Eastern
religions, but Christians have a long history of inner contemplation,
being advised to be still and wait upon the Lord. In the next
couple of columns, I will explore some well known Christian and
well as Eastern meditation philosophies.
this first column on meditation, I will describe a technique for
you to use which will be helpful for stress, help you sleep if
you have trouble sleeping, and certainly help with pain. This
has to do with breathing. I suspect you all breath. One meditation
technique is to sit comfortably where you can spend some time.
Music is ok, if it is peaceful. There are many lovely relaxation
CDs or tapes of such things as mountain streams or the sound of
waves. Heavy duty rock and roll is not likely to work. Put your
hands on your legs, or on the arms of the chair with your hands
open and fingers extended. Why? So you don t have your fists all
clenched up which is not relaxing. Close your eyes to stop you
from looking at the things that need to be done. Breathe in a
regular way for a few moments as you normally would. Then begin
to pay attention to the breathing; how the air goes in and out.
After a few moments, say inwardly, Breathe in relaxation, breathe
you will find your body relaxes and you will have forgotten to
say breathe in, breathe out . If your mind wanders off to other
thoughts, or lists of things you HAVE to do, gently focus your
thoughts back on your breathing. Do this for about 10 minutes,
then gently stop. Slowly open your eyes. You may fall asleep doing
this. That is fine if you do. You can do this in bed and get a
great sleep. If you wake, just do it again. In the next column,
I’ll discuss some other types of meditation and which use
meditation for other purposes.
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