Wall arts in the Indian subcontinent are the oldest recorded evidence that we have of meditation practice. These arts, belonging from 5,000 to 3,5000 BC, show people sitting in meditative postures with half-closed eyes. During the 6th and 5th centuries BCE, different meditation forms emerged in Buddhist India and Taoist China.
Benefits Of Meditation
1) Improves Concentration And Focus:
With mindful meditation, you can keep your thoughts focused on the present moment and improve your concentration in whatever you do.
According to a Harvard Medical School study conducted in 2011, there is a strong connection between mindfulness and new information processing. 17 participants participated in this study, where the researchers examined their brains before and after an eight-week meditation program. The scans revealed a higher amount of gray matter in the brain responsible for emotional regulation, memory, and learning.
2) Increases Self-Esteem And Self-Awareness:
Mindful meditation helps you slow down and allow for deeper reflection within yourself. As a result, it provides you with the opportunity to identify positive attributes within your character and personality.
According to Brian Wind, Ph.D., Chief Clinical Officer at Journey Pure, “mindfulness helps increase self-awareness by increasing the ability to examine one’s thoughts and feelings without judgment, which ends up increasing self-esteem.”
Research conducted at the Stanford University showed that mindfulness meditation helps people struggling with social anxiety. The Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy published a study in 2009 that involved 14 participants who had social anxiety and included them in a two-month-long meditative program. After this program, the participants reported reduced anxiety and higher self-esteem.
3) Relieves Stress:
With mindful meditation, you can lower the levels of cortisol present in your brain. Cortisol is the hormone associated with stress, and reducing it can lead to feelings of calmness.
In a review conducted in 2013, researchers assessed over 200 studies about mindful meditation within healthy people and discovered that meditation was an effective method of stress reduction.
When we repeat a mantra – like a phrase or a word – while meditating can also trigger a calming effect, and with focus on your mantra, you can move your concentration away from distracting thoughts.
Transcendental meditation creates a similar impact, where you keep repeating a word to remain focused, and, consequently, you can attain a state of stability and stillness, according to David Foley, who is the founder of an Oklahoman meditation center called Unify Cosmos.
Types Of Meditation:
1) Mindfulness Meditation:
This meditation type has its origins in Buddhist teachings and is considered the most common meditation technique in the Western world.
In this meditation style, you pay attention to every thought that crosses your mind – it is important not to become involved with those thoughts or to judge them. All that is required is the observation of these thoughts and pinpoint any patterns that you can identify.
Mindfulness meditation is a combination of awareness and concentration. Some people try to focus on their breath or object while observing their feelings, thoughts, or bodily sensations.
This meditation type is useful for people who do not have a teacher, as it can easily be practiced alone.
2) Spiritual Meditation:
Eastern religions such as Daoism and Hinduism use spiritual meditation, but it is also quite common in the Christian faith.
Like with prayer, you observe the calm around you and try to establish a deeper connection with the Universe or God.
Some essential oils are often used to elevate this spiritual experience. These oils include frankincense, myrrh, cedar, sage, palo santo, sandalwood.
You can practice spiritual meditation either at your home or at a worship place. People who are seeking spiritual growth and flourish in silence can particularly benefit from this meditation style.
3) Focused Meditation:
In focused meditation, you use one of your five senses to concentrate.
For instance, your focus can be on something internal (like your breathing), or you can also make use of external influences to enhance your focus. For instance, some people count mala beads, listen to a gong, or stare at the flames of a candle.
Although this practice may appear simple, it can be particularly challenging for beginners as it is hard to maintain focus for more than a few minutes at first.
Even if your mind ends up wandering, you should be quick to bring it back to the point of focus.
Naturally, this technique is useful for people who want to increase focus in their lives.
4) Loving-Kindness Meditation:
This meditation type helps you increase acceptance, kindness, and compassion towards yourself and other people.
It helps you open your mind and accept love from other people and then send out a series of good thoughts to all living beings.
This meditation type is ideal for people who are struggling to let go of resentment or anger.
Gear Required For Meditation
Although meditation does not require any gear, we will discuss two pieces of accessories that might help you maximize your meditative benefit:
1) Meditation Stones:
Although these are not mandatory requirements, meditation stones can sometimes help people develop meditation and improve their focus during the practice.
2) Meditation Cushion Chair:
This piece of equipment can significantly contribute to functionality in your meditation practice. These cushion chairs help you get comfortable entering the mindset needed to make the most out of your sessions.
Meditation has been a popular practice for several centuries now, and a good reason. It is an easy, affordable, and highly effective way to improve your mental, physical, and spiritual health.