Meditation: Its Physical and Psychological Benefits

Picture of Nature
General

Most people are gradually getting tired of the ways of the modern world, as modern ways are forcing them to face a lot of anxiety and stress. And so, they are now gravitating toward all the things that are ancient, including meditation.

Picture of NatureMeditation, which involves calming the mind with the help of practices like deep breathing and mindfulness, can prove to be greatly effective in rendering a state of mental relaxation. Meditation can not only help a person clear his mind, but also assist him to get rid of certain ailments and diseases.

In this article, we primarily focus on the physical and psychological benefits that meditation provides.

Physical Benefits of Meditation

Almost half of the people who meditate do so because meditation can help them physically in a number of different ways. One physical benefit that is ensured by meditation is deep rest of the heart. Meditation helps the heart relax by decreasing metabolic and heart rate. Meditation, other than that, can decrease the level of cortisol present in the body, as well.

Cortisol is a chemical which is responsible for stress, and decrease in its level means decrease in the level of stress. Reduction of free radicals, lowering of high blood pressure, enhancement of skin resistance, drop of cholesterol level, and improvement of lung air flow are some other physical benefits provided by meditation.

Psychological Benefits of Meditation

Apart from helping a person’s physical state, meditation can positively impact his psychological state, too. Psychologically, meditation can help a person by increasing coherence among brain waves, decreasing irritability, lowering anxiety level, regulating mood, improving memory, eliminating depression, and enhancing cognitive abilities.

Additionally, the practice can help a person self-actualize better, feel youthful and rejuvenated, and embrace a positive outlook about things. In other words, meditation can help a person become one with his true self by distancing himself from all the external noise of the world.

Meditation is not just a practice; it is a way of life. Meditation, when welcomed and embraced with sincerity, can help anyone live a better life. However, it is worth mentioning that it takes time for the real benefits of meditation to show. Anybody who wants to improve his life with the help of meditation must engage in the practice for several months before judging its benefits. Also, it is important to consult a physician prior to making meditation a vital part of life.

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Yoga Room
General
Creating the Perfect Meditation Room to Call Your Own

Yoga RoomA meditation room is a room, or a secluded corner in your house, which allows you to think, breathe, meditate, and relax freely, without having to worry about any interference from anyone. You need not be a yoga practitioner to have a meditation room you call your own. Anybody can benefit from having one.

Picking The Right Spot

While picking a spot to turn it into your meditation room, you must pick one that is quiet and that does not get much foot traffic. A secluded spot where noise cannot bother you will serve you the best. Also, do not worry if your place is not very big. You need not have a grand house to find a spot which is peaceful. It is very much possible to find a relaxing spot even in a small house. In case you find it nearly impossible to locate a spot which does not get much foot traffic, you can always make use of partition to keep intruders away.

Furnishing Your Room

Even though you do not want to put too much effort into furnishing your meditation room, there are small adjustments you can make to make its ambience more effective.

For instance, you can place a chair that feels comfortable enough to allow you to curl the legs in it. If your space is too small to accommodate a chair, you can make use of a cushion, instead.

Other than that, you may want to fit a CD player somewhere in your room. A CD player will allow you to concentrate on your meditation sessions better by playing soft and relaxing music. You will also be able to use the player to play natural sounds, such as chirping of birds and striking of ocean waves.

Further, you may want to emphasize on the lighting of your room a bit, as bad lighting will only ruin your mood, making your meditation sessions less fruitful. While fitting your lights, stay far away from anything harsh, like fluorescent bulbs. Instead, choose lights that enrich your room with a subtle and soft glow.

When it comes to decorating your walls, you may use neutral colors to paint them. Additionally, you may want to fit a small shelf where you can place a few scented candles. Putting a vase of beautiful flowers on your shelf is a good idea, too.

Maintaining Your Room

Once your meditation room is fully set, you will not have to do much to maintain it. Your primary job will be to keep it free from any clutter, as the presence of clutter will only distract your mind.

Creating the perfect room to meditate is not hard. All you need to create one is a bit of willingness and a bit of creativity.

Art Tulip Color
General
Meditating with the Help of Relaxing Music and Other Art

Art Tulip ColorA good piece of art can make us relaxed, enabling us to forget about our worries. Activities that involve appreciation of art, like watching a good movie, reading a fine book and viewing a brilliant painting, help us concentrate in the moment fully. In other words, such activities allow us to let go of any thoughts concerning either our past, or our future.

The purpose of meditation, in many ways, is exactly that – to induce calmness in our minds. And so, it is perfectly possible to rely on music, or any other form of art, to achieve a state of meditation.

Using Music for Meditation

The best form of art that has the ability to put us in a state of meditation is, indeed, music. Good music helps us forget about all the chaos and problems going on in our lives. Meditating using music is best achieved by choosing songs that are relaxing. While listening to music is a very intense and relaxing experience in itself, there are ways in which the experience can be made even more intense and relaxing.

For example, we can be mindful of each and every instrument playing in a song to help our mind focus in the ‘now’ better. Another good technique is to use scented candles in a room where music is playing in the background. Dimming the lights while listening to relaxing music can help, too.

Using Other Forms of Art for Meditation

While music certainly has the highest ability to impart a relaxed state to our senses, other forms of art can help us achieve a state of meditation, too. The trick is to fully focus on the art at hand. That is to say that if a painting is used for relaxation, it is best to concentrate as profoundly as possible on it, by analyzing its every color, concentrating on its different elements, and imagining the painter painting it.

How Vital is Art for Meditation?

To perform meditation, reliance on art is not absolutely necessary. That said, art has the ability to make us relax and find peace in a way in which simple meditation never can. Deep breathing sessions or concentration meditation, for instance, can never help us get exposed to the bliss and the joy that we can experience by listening to soothing music, or by enjoying other kinds of art.

Meditating with the help of art can be a uniquely refreshing experience; and if trusted on a regular basis, it can even prove to be more effective than ordinary meditation.

Buddha Meditation
General
The Different Kinds of Meditation Techniques Used in Buddhism

Buddha MeditationIn Buddhism, there are many different meditation techniques that are given preference by different masters and practitioners. Some may solely focus on breathing meditations, while others may practice nothing but concentration meditations.

Interestingly, despite the presence of a wide range of different meditation techniques in Buddhism, a common goal can be found in each technique: to identify the self by being attentive to the body movements and to the constantly changing mental states.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the techniques used by the Western Order master Kamalashila and the techniques categorized by Kuei-feng.

Techniques Used by Kamalashila

Kamalashila, the teacher associated with Western Order meditation, identifies five different basic meditation methods. The methods are used as antidotes to the five main obstructions that hamper enlightenment: hatred, conceit, distraction, ignorance, and craving. Mindfulness of breathing is one such method.

Basically, the method makes use of tranquility meditations to promote concentration and remove distraction. Metta Bhavana technique is the second technique used by Kamalashila. The technique, associated with the four kinds of Brahma Viharas, aims to eliminate hatred and sentiment and accept loving kindness.

The third technique is called the contemplation of impermanence. What this method involves is counteraction of craving, in order to promote freedom and inner peace. Note that this method takes the six elements as its base: water, air, earth, fire, consciousness, and space. Contemplation of conditionality is another method promoted by the master, which has the goal of reducing ignorance and increasing compassion and wisdom.

Techniques Promoted by Kuei-feng

Kuei-feng, on the other hand, identifies meditation techniques as the five kinds of Zen. The first kind, known as the ‘ordinary’ or ‘bonpu’, focuses on mastering mental and physical well-being when spiritual goal is absent. The second method is called ‘outside way’ or ‘gedo’, and is focused on purposes which can be considered as non-Buddhist.

The third kind, named ‘small vehicle’ or ‘shojo’, focuses on the pursuit of nirvana, or self-liberation. The next method is called ‘great vehicle’ or ‘daijo’. The method makes achievement of self-realization its primary purpose. It aims to promote the unity among everything. The last method categorized by Kuei-feng is called ‘supreme vehicle’ or ‘saijojo’. The technique takes into account the imminent nature of Buddha in every type of being.

Note that, in addition to the meditation techniques identified by Kamalashila and Kuei-feng, many other methods exist, too. Mostly, meditation masters rely on only a single type of technique. However, some masters attempt to combine different types, too.

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