Meditation is food for the mind, making it remain focused on a single object. The human mind is a subtle and powerful faculty that drives individual effort and achievement. In a spiritual context, meditation is defined as the mind’s complete absorption on the inner self.
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Meditation is practiced with the aim of reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain. It improves inner peace, perception, self-awareness and overall well-being. The subject of meditation is still under research to define its possible health (psychological, neurological, and cardiovascular) effects.
- Purposes of meditation
- When you neglect your housework for too long, dirt and dust get accumulated, garbage piles up and everything’s out of place. Similarly, a lot of junk gets stored in your mind, soul and body every day. It may be in the form of negative emotions, thoughts and energies. In the absence of regular mindful meditation, this junk gets accumulated to the toxic levels. If left unprocessed, stress, anxiety and depression may become overwhelming. It may adversely affect the quality of life. Practicing meditation on a daily basis can counter the toxicity by instilling a deep sense of calmness and peace of mind.
- People tend to disregard the power of living in the present. Meditation helps you to live in the present. It makes you calmer, level-headed and improves self-awareness. Hence, it becomes easier for you to acknowledge your thoughts, feelings and sensations without reacting to them. As a result, you’ll acquire a belief in living in the present.
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- A mind that is tuned in to the present is less likely to be overwhelmed by negative, anxious or stressful feelings of the past or future. Studies suggest that mindfulness meditation rewires the physical brain. The parts of the brain that are responsible for anxiety, depression and poor concentration shrink whereas the regions associated with cognition, happiness and calmness enhance in size.
- The active mind can be seen as the conscious and the subconscious. A conscious mind is responsible for active thinking and decision-making. It doesn’t hold long-term memory but processes a single thought at a time. The conscious mind commands and the subconscious mind carries out. The subconscious mind can be the source of great ideas, solutions and inspiration. For some meditators, the prime purpose of meditation is to unlock joy and creativity from within. Meditation trains the mind to be unreceptive to distractions. It gives the mind’s natural inventiveness space to reveal itself and the conscious mind the means to take note of it.
- Everyone wants to lead a happy and fulfilling life. People look to external sources for happiness, relationships, material circumstances, and recognition. It may be effective when things are working well. When people depend on circumstances beyond their control for happiness, they are setting themselves up to fail. It is because external circumstances always keep changing. The human mind is the only lasting source of happiness. Meditation acts as a medium to access the mind’s inner wealth. Hence, people no longer need to depend on outer circumstances for happiness, fulfillment and well-being.
- It is believed that meditation and compassion go hand in hand. Mindfulness seems to highlight our interconnectedness, and the recognition of interconnectedness builds empathy. Mindfulness meditation has lately been promoted for its ability to heal the body, mind and soul. Meditation’s effects on memory, health, and cognitive skills were traditionally considered as secondary benefits. The primary objective of calming the mind and heightening attention was to attain a form of enlightenment that would lead to deep, abiding compassion and resulting beneficence.
- The purpose of meditation is listening to God. When the body and mind are engaged and active, silence is the only way to listen to God. Here listening does not involve physical listening but understanding the “Godliness” in and around us and appreciate and surrender to the divinity in everything is the ultimate Purpose of Meditation.
- Different effects of meditation
First and foremost is the physical effects of meditation. The mind becomes so synthesized that it is able to weigh the pain and pleasures of life and balancing it in a poised way. The altered emotions do not affect the physical body. Hence, it keeps our body free from peer pressures, emotional setbacks and ego.
Meditation is way better than any religious practice because it is a spiritual practice and hence does not bound by any religious ablutions. It unifies the spirit among us by putting together the essence of all the religions. Meditation may bring forth the best of action called the renunciation of the fruit of action which tantamounts to ultimate peace within us.
Research has shown that meditation has both physiological and psychological effects. Some of the positive physiological effects include a lowered state of physical arousal, reduced respiration rate, decreased heart rate, changes in brain wave patterns and lowered stress.
Other psychological, emotional, and health-related effects of meditation include:
Stress management skills
Improved emotional well-being
Better management of symptoms of conditions including anxiety disorders, depression, sleep disorders, pain issues, and high blood pressure.
Improvement in memory and fluid intelligence
Changes in different aspects of attention
Consciousness is often likened to a stream, shifting and changing smoothly as it passes over the terrain. Meditation is one deliberate means of changing the course of this stream, and in turn, altering how you perceive and respond to the world around you. Research has clearly demonstrated that meditative techniques can have a range of positive effects on overall health and psychological well-being.