Meditation – What is it, Benefits, How to do it. Scientific studies/research.
Have you ever wondered about what Meditation truly is?…or maybe you have a small idea but you don’t know how to begin your meditation practise? Or, perhaps you are already meditating but you still need a ‘’little push’’ in order to help you decide and choose the correct type of meditation?.
Then continue reading to find out everything you need to know about Meditation, from its origins to techniques, to the long-lasting benefits and effects it could have in your life.
What is Meditation?
If you would like to understand what Meditation is then you must go back to its origins, which is the beginning of the word or the meaning behind it. The English word for Meditation comes from an Old French version ‘’Meditacioun’’ which in turn comes from the Latin word ‘’Meditari’ which means ‘’to think over, to reflect’’, according to Etymonline.
But the impressive thing about this is that the term ‘’Meditation’’ or in its Latin form ‘’Meditari’’ was introduced to the Western world from some spiritual practices that were found in the Eastern part of the world. For example, the term dhyana is found in Hinduism and Buddhism alike, as it comes from the Sanskrit root dhyai, which in turn means ‘’to contemplate or to meditate’’.
What’s more, according to Ludden, author of Mystic Apprentince Volume 3: Meditative Skills, other religions such as Jewish Kabbalah, Christian Hesychasm and Islamic Sufism are also known for the use of meditation techniques within their teachings, allowing its followers to reach a certain state of mind that is necessary to continue with the rituals or practises associated with those specific dogmas.
Thus, this explanation simply accentuates the idea that meditation has been thoroughly practised since ancient times in different contexts, cultures and civilizations as a way to help individuals achieve both enlightenment and self-realization through this specific technique.
What’s more, even though the general concept of what meditation is can be seen as something ‘easy’ and even ‘ordinary’, it is fair to say that the true and genuine practise of this technique could be difficult to master somehow, especially if the individual holds prejudgments, ideas or thoughts dearly.
This is why meditation is often considered to be a technique, or rather a tool, that helps us navigate some turbulent waters so we can come through a transformation of our minds. Meditation can also mean that you are now willing to understand how your perception and brain work together and how they can contribute to your overall well-being.
What are some of the Benefits of Meditation?
- Meditation can and will help you whenever you feel like relieving some stress. It can also help you feel relaxed and well-rested, particularly during hectic times. In fact, the busier you are the more you should meditate.
- Meditation can help you gain a new perspective on your life. For instance, if you meditate daily you will definitely change the way you react to situations and experiences in your life. This also means that you will be able to start feeling calm, and with some sort of inner peace that can only be achieved when you start using meditative techniques.
- You respect your rythms. Meditating will make you feel more connected to yourself and your own timings than ever before. You will soon realize when it is time to continue your meditation practise, you will know how long you should meditate for and you will even know when you need to stop meditating.
- Meditation is free! That’s right. You don’t need to sign up to an ‘’Only members’ club’’ or to any ‘’Special subscription’’ of any kind. This is why meditation is both great and affordable! You can’t pay someone else to meditate for you, this is a process that you have to go through and perhaps you will realize that the more you meditate the more of a positive impact this will have in your life – and of course, those around you.
- Meditating is not difficult, but you must know that you will have to commit with yourself in order to see a profound change from within. Even if it only takes 2 minutes of your day to meditate, you are still doing something great and valuable!
- Meditation can open doors for you – quite literally. You will be surprised by the number of people who are already meditating and who have added this technique to their lives. So, perhaps you don’t really get along with your boss but all of a sudden you both start talking about meditation and it’s benefits. There you have it, something incredible you both can share now.
- And of course, there are other ‘more obvious’ reasons too that will make you understand why meditation is beneficial for your health. According to numerous studies found on NCBI, meditation has helped patients to moderately reduce their anxiety levels, depression and even pain, as meditation can have a positive impact on not only mental health but physical health as well.
Why is Meditation good for you?
It’s not a matter of meditation being ‘’being good’’ or ‘’being bad’’. It’s about allowing your inner goodness to be explored so you can release the stress that you – or the situations around you – cause you, so you can relax amongst all the chaos that life can throw at you.
Maybe you would like to explore other philosophies or alternative ways of thinking and connecting with yourself? Then perhaps you can try affirmations, guided visualizations, mantras, self-hypnosis, contemplation techniques, or any other breathing exercises that could make you feel more balanced because either way, they all form part of the great realm of what a meditation technique can look like.
Whenever you meditate you are transforming your mind. To meditate means that you are concentrating, you are seeking and finding clarity and you are developing emotional positivity, and, as a result, you will soon start looking at the true nature of all things and all human beings, including yourself, of course.
And don’t forget, you are simply meditating, you are actually doing something that has been done for thousands – if not more – of years already. You are going back to your true inner self whenever you pause the talkative mind that follows you around and that it seems to never stop.
How to Meditate?
Oh, to meditate. Who wouldn’t like to simply sit still and enjoy some free and ‘’me’’ time? To do nothing while achieving your personal best? Did you know that many people think meditating means to do nothing? Well, to a certain degree, this certainly is the case, as meditation is often considered as a state of consciousness that can bring positive experiences and feelings – such as inner peace and calm – into your reality.
But, on the practical side of things, you may have a lot of questions about what how, when and where to meditate, especially if it’s something you have never done before…but the honest answer is, there are no right or wrong answers, you must follow your instincts and what works for you.
You may be wondering how often you should meditate? Some techniques, such as the Transcendental Meditation Technique (TMT) recommends its practitioners to do a 20-minute meditation, twice a day. This can be split into two meditation sessions, for example, one as soon as you wake up and the other one before going to bed.
Some other techniques suggest more time or less time, it all depends as well on the individual’s information and commitment. Of course, there are stances where people meditate for longer periods of times, such as the Vipassana Retreat, where meditation takes place between 5 am to 9 pm (with breaks in between), but if you are just starting to meditate then you should consider sticking to a routine that will work for you.
What about the posture? ‘’Will I have to be in a full-lotus position throughout my meditation time?’’ is definitely one of the most-asked questions out there. And the truth is, no, you don’t have to hold any position that you either can’t hold or feel uncomfortable while doing so.
The asana (or posture) you choose to adopt is of your personal choice and preference. So it can be full-lotus, half-lotus or no-lotus at all. You can kneel or sit down, you can be lying down and even standing!
You just need to find a quiet place where you have few distractions, a posture where you feel comfortable and then just focus your attention to whatever your intention may be. Take some deep breaths and focus on the feelings and sensations your body has. Have an open attitude and learn to accept that distractions, thoughts and overstimulation you may have, may come and go as well -and it’s normal to do so – but don’t judge them. They are also here to show you something.
- Accessed on 23rd of July 2019.https://www.etymonline.com/word/meditation
- Accessed on 23rd of July 2019. https://books.google.com.ar/books?id=USQqAgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
- Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., Haythornthwaite, J. A. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA internal medicine, 174(3), 357–368. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018
 Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., Haythornthwaite, J. A. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis.