Just the thought of it warms my body and relaxes my mind. Even my dog Snoofy looks forward to our quiet time.
To some, the thought of meditation may be abstract, perhaps a word mistakenly used to identify a misunderstood view of religion.
Although meditation does have deep roots in the East Indian and Asian cultures, the practice of meditation aided those who practiced it on their journey or pathway to enlightenment.
Therefore meditation is not a religion but a practice.
It is a simple act that anyone can learn to empty the thoughts, noise and busyness from ordinary self chatter and quiet their mind.
Over 20 years ago I was a senior in high school, and I had just returned from my lunch break. I was sitting in a loud, boisterous classroom waiting for the sociology teacher to start class.
My life was all twisted up; my parents had filed for divorce and I was confused, angry, sad and empty.
The noise level only added to my frustrations.
I was considering cutting class, as I had grown accustomed to doing, when my teacher walked into the classroom and turned off the lights.
The room suddenly fell silent. “That’s better,” he said. “Now everyone take three nice deep breaths, breath in, breath out.”As we sat quietly breathing in and out in the dark classroom he spoke softly,
“Class, the only truth in life is that change takes place.”
In the quietness of the classroom he made his way to each student’s desk where he left a copy of an old paperback book.The mood had changed; the classroom had become peaceful.
The bright fluorescent lights came back on. The book on our desks was titled “Siddhartha.” It was written by Herman Hesse and published in 1922.
It was at that moment I learned first-hand the instant benefit of meditation.
It opened my mind to the unique teachings of Buddhist-type Vipassana, insight meditation.
There are many types of meditation practiced around the world.
But I concentrated on Vipassana (pronounced vuh-pah--suhn-a) a type of meditation taught by Buddha,
The Awakened One. This style of meditation can be traced back to more than 500 years before Christ was born.
Meditation is defined in most dictionaries as emptying or concentration of mind.
It is the emptying of the mind of thoughts, or the concentration of the mind on one thing, in order to aid mental or spiritual development, contemplation or relaxation.
It is the pondering of something: the act of thinking about something carefully, calmly, seriously, and for some time, or an instance of such thinking.
The benefits of meditation have been scientifically proven.
In 2005, to show support and to demonstrate the distinct connection between the spiritual practice and scientific discoveries, the Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, a doctorate of Buddhist philosophy was invited to be the distinguished speaker at Society for Neuroscience’s annual conference, the world’s largest gathering of brain researchers.
Meditation has been documented in scientific studies to help several kinds of conditions. It can reduce pain, treat high blood pressure, asthma, insomnia, diabetes, depression and skin conditions.
Meditation can also increase focus and attention, improving performance on cognitive tests.According to the Spirituality and Health Magazine, Nov. 2008, studies show the practice of Vipassana meditation reduced stress and anxiety.
It was also reported that psychological and medical symptoms of participants were measured before and after the meditation practice and it was discovered that mindfulness and spirituality increased and were associated with decreased psychological distress and a reduction on a number of medical symptoms.
Scientific research only lends credibility to the age-old practice. Meditation is a wonderful tool. It isa lifelong benefit and it can be used by anyone, anytime, anywhere.
I have to say, Mr. Camacho was right. The only truth in life is that change takes place.
Like Siddhartha, I have journeyed many days in this life and the days that I did not still my body and quiet my mind were the difficult days. The days I concentrated on developing a stable mind, I found the awareness I was actually seeking.
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