9 Benefits of Spiritual Meditation
- Published on Thursday, 12 February 2015 13:56
One of the most powerful tools available to a person seeking the divine is meditation. The Jewish community has long used it as a way to transcend the ego, getting beyond mere words and personality and moving directly to the spiritual core.
Meditation has many forms, all of which help keep you relaxed and center your spirit. As well as spiritually, regular meditation can help a person physically and emotionally to deal with health concerns, family issues and simply the daily wear and tear of busy days. The rewards are well documented.
Here is a brief look at what mediation is, how it is done, and nine key benefits that come with consistent practice.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is the conscious shifting of your attention from your external environment to your inner self. This purposeful focusing inward can take a number of forms:
Listening to the sounds around you in a focused, detached manner
Chanting in prayer
Those experienced in the practice suggest starting by setting aside 20 minutes once or twice a day. Many people choose a mantra to help them keep their mind focused and repeat it as they breathe in and out. Others simply follow their breath through the entire cycle.
Experienced meditators recommend finding a comfortable spot to sit upright, either in a chair or sitting on the floor with your legs crossed. Holding the head up helps to get oxygen to the brain and to focus attention on the front (or higher) areas of the brain.
Meditation can be done by anyone. Though there are myriad guidelines proposed by experts, the fact is that people can, and do, find what works for them. The goal is to relax and detach, watching your thoughts float through your mind without giving them energy. Simply watching your thoughts come and go as you breathe in and out is meditation.
9 Myriad Benefits of Spiritual Meditation
#1. Get into a flow state.
Also called “in the zone,” flow means a positive state of losing yourself in an activity, able to react both with purpose and intuitively to your present set of circumstances. It can be hard to shift into the flow state, but consistent practice of mediation facilitates it.
#2. Become more empathetic.
Focusing on compassion during a mediation session--called loving-kindness meditation--helps a person become more self-accepting. This leads to forgiveness and understanding for others.
#3. Reduce stress.
70% of a people in a study of inner-city residents saw a reduction of 70% in anxiety with regular meditation. It trains your mind to relax and let go of repetitive, tension-filled thoughts.
#4. Help increase the ability to concentrate.
Regular meditation makes it easier to deal with distracting thoughts and get rid of harmful thought patterns.
#5. Increase your brain’s size.
With age, the frontal cortex of the brain diminishes in size. This is the area of the brain that handles language, emotional processing and cognition. According to a study at Massachusetts General Hospital, regular meditation slows this process, and in fact, helps to thicken the areas of the brain that handle attention span and working memory.
#6. Improve chronic conditions.
Regular meditation is helpful in reducing symptoms from heart disease, asthma, high blood pressure and other conditions.
#7. Increase energy.
Much like a cup of coffee, but without the adrenaline jolt, mediation stimulates your body and keeps your brain alert.
#8. Reduce insomnia.
According to the Gregg Jacobs with Harvard Medical School, in his book Say Goodnight to Insomnia, 75% of insomniacs in a study could fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed after learning meditation.
#9. Reduce pain.
People suffering from chronic pain also tend to have negative thoughts, which simply aggravate the pain. According to a study published in the Clinical Journal of Pain, regular meditation can reduce the pain felt by sufferers up to 50%. They are also better able to choose a healthier emotional response to chronic pain.
Spiritual meditation has been a staple practice in the Jewish community. It’s used as a powerful tool not only to benefit our souls, but our minds and bodies as well.
How does meditation help your health? Please share your comments below.