Meditation is the practice of focusing one's mind on a single thought or point of attention, deep breathing, and a deepened sense of relaxation. Meditation is found in many religions, and has been practiced for centuries. In Latin meditation is meditatio, which originally encompassed every type of physical or intellectual exercise. Later meditatio turned into the more specific meaning "contemplation."
As a Christian, I looked into what the Bible had to say about meditation. Ps. 1:2, "Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the Lord’s commands; he meditates on his commands day and night." Later in Psalms, Ps. 119:27, "Help me to understand what your precepts mean! Then I can meditate on your marvelous teachings." Again, a promise in Jos 1:8, "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
- Lowers oxygen consumption.
- Increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.
- Increases exercise tolerance in heart patients.
- Leads to a deeper level of relaxation.
- Good for people with high blood pressure as it brings the B.P. to normal.
- Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate. Also alleviates emotional distress.
- Decreases muscle tension (any pain due to tension) and headaches.
- Builds self-confidence.
- Increases serotonin production which influences mood and behaviour. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression, obesity, insomnia and headaches.
- Enhances the immune system. Research has revealed that meditation increases activity of 'natural-killer cells', which kill bacteria and cancer cells.
1. Decide on a time and place. Let your family, or anyone who could interrupt you, know your plans. Turn off your cell phone, t.v. or any other distraction.
2. Stretch. (click on image to enlarge)
3. Get comfortable. However, not so comfortable that you'll fall asleep. Focus on keeping your back straight to encourage oxygen flow.
4. Close your eyes. Think of an image to focus on so you don't become distracted.
5. Breathe deeply and slowly from your abdomen rather than your chest. You should feel your stomach rise and fall while your chest stays relatively still. This expels the used air and more completely oxygenates your blood. As you exhale focus on relaxing parts of your body starting from your head and work to your toes.
6. Focus your attention. If you're a believer you may think about a Scripture. No matter what your beliefs this is a good time to focus on a positive affirmation. Eventually this time may lead to you not focusing on anything other than being still and relaxed.
Now that I have posted some very basics of meditation, I am challenging my readers and myself to meditate for 7 days. Those 7 days may be different, because people will obviously read this at different times, but I'd like to know the difference it made in your life. Please jot down a couple notes about what you noticed, even if it's that you had a hard time focusing, and leave a comment.