The Meditation Way
Meditation, in India, has been an age old practice. The Hindu sacred texts have prioritized meditation as a means to enlightenment, and the common people have meditated to relax and emotionally rejuvenate themselves.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Maharaj, a famous Indian spiritual Guru, is probably the most famous exponent of meditation in India today. He has repeatedly emphasized its role in bringing harmony and positivity in human life. Only psychologically, emotionally and physically healthy individuals can constitute a harmonious and progressive society. According to Ravi Shankar ji, our mind is a highly complex entity. It has the tendency to vacillate between past and future, and cling obstinately to negativity. A slight emotional distress can cause deep psychological imbalances in an individual with an untrained mind. Meditation makes us aware of these inner disturbances and helps us to concentrate our mind in the present moment. We become more aware of the world around us as well as ourselves. Meditating regularly also opens up a fifth state of consciousness, known as the cosmic consciousness, which enables us to perceive the whole cosmos as an integral part of ourselves. This perception bridges the mental gap between an individual and the world, and love flows freely, dissolving all elements of selfishness.
Many fashion models, film stars and athletes meditate regularly to stay slim and fit. As a psychological exercise it strengthens the mind, enabling it to guide all bodily functions efficiently. When the mind focuses on a particular part of the body, the blood flow to that part increases and the cells receive oxygen and other nutrients in abundance.
Some major health benefits of meditation are –
1. It slows the respiratory rate and heart rate, thus increasing exercise tolerance in heart patients.
2. As it takes you to deeper levels of relaxation, it decreases muscle tension, headaches and brings the blood pressure to normal.
3. It enhances serotonin production which helps fight against depression and insomnia. It also lowers the level of blood lactate which reduces anxiety attacks.
4. Research shows that meditation strengthens the immune system, and reduces the activity of viruses and cancer cells.
5. It also helps in curing arthritis, premenstrual symptoms and pregnancy blues.
In spite of these plus points, our fast and busy life leaves us with very little or no time for relaxing or meditating. However, you can commit at least ten minutes daily for a simple method of meditation. Early morning is the perfect time for it, but if early is not possible then sit for it before your morning tea and breakfast. Sit comfortably, cross- legged and keep the spine straight. Do not hunch your shoulders. Slowly breathe in and out, and try to focus your mind on your breath. This is the most important part as it frees the mind. Sit straight with closed eyes, follow your breath as you inhale. Feel it through your nostrils, then the throat, the lungs and the belly. As you release your breath, follow it leaving your body into the outside world. Imagine that all vicious thoughts are leaving you slowly with each exhalation, and the positive energy of the cosmos is entering you with each inhalation.
Our mind is the source of almost all the negativity and ill- feeling in our lives. The regular practice of this simple meditation can leave you feeling cleansed of pessimism and weakness.