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What is Meditation?

Meditation is one of the most natural and yet profoundly rewarding of all human activities. Meditation is simple relaxation of mind. It is a method for cleansing the mind limitations, and finding peace for calming and controlling the mind to experience relaxation and inner happiness by releasing inner energy. When done deeply, it also connects you with God and His infinite joy.
During relaxation the mind wanders everywhere, whereas during meditation the mind stays alert and focused. Focusing the mind isn't easy. It takes practice. Bringing the mind to a single focus is called concentration meditation. Meditation begins with the practice of stilling one's thoughts and emotions. Meditation is the most powerful way to calm the mind and emotions so that you can experience a state of peace and harmony with the universe. There are many methods to meditate and even a few minutes can make a big difference to the way you feel and think.

Types of Meditation

There are so many forms of meditation. One simple form of meditation is "insight meditation". This method appreciates the value of becoming one with spirit. This form of meditation uses your breathing as the focal point to direct your attention away from any thoughts, thus, enabling you to clear your mind. The practitioners of this method experience a sense of clarity in their lives.

Another form of meditation is called visualization (or imagery). Visualization is an extremely powerful meditation technique that uses the imagination to create particular states of mind and being. It is becoming increasingly popular and can be used for improving the concentration and training the mind and enhancing self-confidence. You can use visualization skills to sharpen and focus your mind, unleash your creative potential and self-healing. This method is often used with a goal in mind.
Another popular form of meditation is "mantra meditation." In some variations of mantra meditation, the practitioners will make use of sounds. Often the sound of "OM" or "ah" may be used. Sound clears the mind from everyday thoughts. Sound meditation is often used with the same purposes as other forms of meditations to achieve a feeling of oneness or as in some methods to create a more fulfilling life.

Benefits of Meditation
People have used meditation for thousands of years in their quest for inner harmony. Meditation improves concentration, increases self-awareness, and enables us to control stress by helping us to relax. Many people who meditate improve their physical and mental well-being, and some have been able to conquer depression or addiction to drugs, caffeine, or alcohol. Meditation can bring relief from these anxieties by helping us to silence inner negative thoughts, and to create a feeling of peace and serenity. In addition, meditation has numerous healing benefits. When you meditate, your body is still, relaxed and motionless. Your breathing slows down along with your heart rate, and you lose all consciousness of your surroundings. Once the mind has surrendered its will to the Divine Spirit, you're totally connected with God.

Your spirit is then able to speak and you begin to talk spirit to Spirit. You can speak to your body and it listens and responds to your requests. The power to heal comes from meditating, because your spirit becomes Divine and listens and recognizes the voice of God within you. It obeys like the rest of the universe does when God speaks, and orders the thunder and rain, or the stars to shine. Meditation is the only time in life when you're in complete harmony with the universe. It's the only aspect of life where you're totally awake, yet completely powerless, and at total peace.
Meditation is also finding use as a therapeutic tool in medicine. A growing number of corporate and top hospitals use it as a complementary therapy. It can help us to think more clearly, improve our energy levels, help us relax, reduce stress, improve physical health, increase the production of endorphins (feel good chemical in the body).

How Meditation Heals
Meditation can help you to learn the skill of total relaxation. Relaxation is vital to good health because it helps to combat stress, and gives the body time to replenish its energy. Research on the relaxation response proves that even ten minutes a day can strengthen your immune system, improve sleep, lower blood pressure, help to prevent irregular heartbeat, lower levels of the stress hormone, decrease anxiety, and increase joy and peace. Long-time mediators show an increased productivity at work. That's a big return for a few minutes of your time. All religions incorporate some sort of prayer or chanting into their teachings. Specifically, meditation has captivated scientists who are studying its effects on everything from blood pressure to neurotransmitter activity in the brain. Using brain scans, researchers have discovered that meditation can change brain activity and improve immune response; some studies have shown it can lower heart rate and blood pressure both of which reduce the body's stress response. Doctors are prescribing the practice to patients to reduce stress and anxiety and to improve overall health. Studies have also shown that meditation can slow the hardening of the arteries for the people with heart disease. Research results suggest that meditation programs could have a positive effect on chronic pain, depression, and anxiety.

In addition, research also suggests that meditation combined with dietary changes may slow tumour progression in prostate-cancer patients. Meanwhile, the evidence from meditation researchers continues to mount. One study, for example, shows that people who meditate and use guided imagery have higher levels of the immune cells known to combat cancer. Clinical studies into the effects of meditation are very encouraging: they have shown reductions in anxiety, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, panic attacks, lower stress hormone, improved circulation, lower pulse rate and increased job satisfaction and work performance. As a result, many doctors are now beginning to recognize the therapeutic benefits of meditation and some are already recommending meditation exercises and relaxation techniques to their patients to help treat stress related ailments.

A University of Wisconsin, Madison study reported in the February issue of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine shows that meditation not only has clear effects in areas of the brain focused on emotion, but it also may strengthen the ability of a person to ward off illness. Measurement of brain electrical activity showed the meditation group had increased activation in the left, frontal region of their brains - an area linked to reduced anxiety and a positive emotional state. Cardiologist Herbert Benson, MD, has spent the last 30 years studying the effects of meditation and is founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard Medical School's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre. He tells WebMD that the study offers further evidence that meditation produces measurable benefits.

The key is repetition, but the repetition can be a word, sound, mantra, prayer, breathing or movement. Once the meditation is complete the mind and body returns to its normal state. Your spirit will be at peace and you're able to face each day with God's assurance. You'll feel compelled to live each day in the Spirit and able to listen and follow God's instructions daily.

When we advance our ability to watch and see in meditation, then we can have glimpses of these mysteries it can be said that technique is the vehicle that gets us from here to there.

Although most people take to meditation to cope with the pressures of modern life or as a self-improvement program, spiritual evolution comes inevitably. An increasing number of doctors are now recommending meditation and relaxation exercise to their patients in order to help them combat stress and stress related illnesses. There is growing belief that that meditation practice along with a well-balanced diet and enough physical exercise can lead to better health and improvements in your overall lifestyle and well-being. In addition, it can combat insomnia, calm anxiety, and lower stress hormones, improve circulation, regulate the pulse rate, lower blood pressure, reduce depression and improve memory. Meditation is being recommended by more and more physicians as a way to prevent, slow or at least control the pain of chronic diseases like heart conditions, AIDS, cancer and infertility. It is also being used to restore balance in the face of such psychiatric disturbances as depression, hyperactivity and attention-deficit disorder (ADD).

Now doctors are embracing meditation not because they think it's cool but because scientific studies are beginning to show that it works, particularly for stress-related conditions. I believe that the majority of methods are right. One method may be right for this time in your life and another method may be just what you need 10 years from now. I personally use a combination of methods, depending on my objectives. I encourage you to keep an open mind and experiment with several methods. Find out what works for you and enjoy one of life's most valued treasures - Meditation. Why? Because meditation works. Enjoy your meditation journey!

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