Meditation is an ancient spiritual practice which modern science has proven to be an effective technique to counteract stress and heal the effects of stress on the body and mind. It is a process of focussing your attention on something specific (a mantra, your breath, a candle flame etc) in order to temporarily shut out other thoughts, thereby gradually quietening the mind.
Will I be able to switch off my thoughts completely?
Meditation is a process of quietening the mind, but despite this, the mind might still be (and often is) fairly active throughout. You don’t have to be able to empty your mind of all thoughts in order to be able to meditate successfully. In fact, thoughts are a normal part of the process and indicate the release of stress. You simply let the thoughts go everytime you become aware of them, and return your attention to whatever you were focusing on (such as a mantra).
Do I have to sit cross-legged on the floor?
No. Spirituality and religion are not the same thing. Although spiritual practices are incorporated into religious practice, it is also entirely possible to engage in spiritual practices without following or being involved with any organised religion. Spirituality is about your relationship with your true self, your life journey.
If you believe in “God” or a higher power, meditation will reinforce your connection with that power. But meditation itself does not have any specific religious connotations and can be practiced by people of all faiths and none.
Nowadays, doctors are increasingly citing stress as a major contributing factor to most illnesses. Eventhough meditation should not be considered a cure by itself, research has shown it to be beneficial for a wide range of health problems. As stress is greatly eliminated through meditation, our minds and bodies begin to function with maximum effectiveness, creating health, vitality and happiness.
Practicing meditation on a daily basis can benefit you on the levels of body, mind and spirit:
• Manage stress
• Reduce anxiety
• Improve your relationships
• Create inner peace
• Awaken your intuition
• Enhance your sleep patterns
• Lower your blood pressure
• Become less judgmental
• Feel happier