There is a growing meditation movement happening around the world. Meditation is mainstream and no longer on the fringe. Hip-hop moguls are writing books about it, movie stars blog about it, the yoga studios are packing in stretched bodies with quiet minds. There is a long list of Western spiritual gurus spreading the word too. Balance is the word and meditation is the way to get it.
As stress builds up in our body, we experience sickness, tension and fatigue. Our emotions can become strained and our mind is filled with fear and negative thoughts. The convincing link between the mind and body is well established and health and wellness advocates in the medical profession promote reducing stress as a way to avoid dis-ease. Too many negative, stressful thoughts will cause our brain waves to fire at high speed in a haphazard, chaotic manner.
According to mental health research, intense feelings of anxiety and stress is what causes a nervous breakdown. The nerves don't actually break, of course but it's a signal to shut down and reset. We have become out of balance.
How to Reset:
Closing the eyes and limiting the sensory input will immediately start to slow things down. Deep breaths combined with a meditation exercise will lower the brain wave frequency to a synchronized, more focused level of mind. Simply put, the brain is like a broadcasting and receiving transmitter running on electricity. Like a radio station it operates on different channels where one predominates at a time.
Alpha waves were the first to be discovered by scientists due to its slower, more powerful signal. If you were to be hooked up to an EEG machine while meditating, it would register an alpha/theta reading depending on the depth of your practice.
Meditation, due to its positive stress relieving side effects, is being considered as part of a prescription for a growing number of ailments that are physical, mental, emotional or spiritually based.
The reset button isn’t just needed for excess. Balance needs to be reset due to a lack of something in our lives too. Meditation can fill a spiritual void where there is a lack of purpose, meaning, peace and love. When you move your awareness from the physical body, calm your emotions and still your thoughts, what remains? The answer to that question has ancient philosophers and New Age gurus searching through words to label something there are no words for. You just have to try it for yourself.
There are many types of meditation to choose from. All paths lead to the same place of inner peace. Find the one that fits your lifestyle as it is as important to your health as daily physical exercise. The mind and body are interconnected, so apply the reset button to balance your inner work with your physical work out.
Sitting in silence can become a battle with what the Buddhists call, your 'monkey mind' as your thoughts jump from one branch to another, interrupting the flow of peace. A great way to start meditating is with a guided meditation. The benefits are many and even the most experienced meditator will always benefit from a little guidance that can lead you gently to that peaceful place in an efficient manner. Focusing on a mental picture is similar to focusing on a mantra or on the breath. You do as you are told by the voice and before you know it, no more body, no more thoughts…just peace.
Peeling away the layers until there is nothing but the inner you left doesn’t have to be a struggle or a chore. Just like exercising your body in a fun way with a sport you love, meditating can be fun too. You will look forward to putting on the headphones to tune out the stress and tune in to your happy place anytime.
There are longer guided meditations with full body scanning relaxation that is an indulgent treat, as well as shorter pick-me-up versions. It doesn’t matter if you are sleep deprived and happen to drift off during the session because the subconscious mind never sleeps, so you can still benefit from the affirmations on a deep level. The positive words in a good guided meditation will feed your soul in a way you couldn’t do yourself without monkey mind waking up.
Try a few and you will find a voice you can live with happily ever after while discovering that peace is within. It is the easiest way to reset, and balance your body and mind for a long and happy life.
Kathryn Remati is a Boston based meditation guide and creator of the ‘Tranquil Spectrum’ App. Meditating since age 16, she did graduate and post graduate training in Humanistic Psychology and Organizational Behavior in Australia where she studied Alpha brainwave training techniques. She is presently writing a meditation memoir and running a guided meditation workshop for Qniversity in Lawrence, MA www.tranquilspectrum.com