The Meditative Mind
Meditate verb. to think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.
The mind is like a river, it is always flowing and coursing with thought. We often fall into the river of thought and get swept away, surfacing at some point down-stream, and wondering how we got there. Meditation allows us to sit on the banks of the river of thought and observe it, without attachment, without getting swept away. Meditation is a means of training the mind to stay present, to acknowledge the thoughts as they come and allowing them to go without following them into the rapids. In meditation we sit. Yes, just sit, we do not “do” anything.
This may sound like a superb waste of time, how and why would we want to just “sit”? Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits. Meditation engages the parasympathetic nervous system and activates the “relaxation response”. This is a term coined by Dr. Herbert Benson, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. "The relaxation response is a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress... and the opposite of the fight or flight response." Remember, the fight or flight response is the stress response, so meditation counteracts stress! Another recent study from Harvard showed that meditation built grey matter in the brain in just 8 weeks. This study shows that meditation physically changes the structure of the brain.
“The analysis of MR images, which focused on areas where meditation-associated differences were seen in earlier studies, found increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection.”(1)
The list of physical and psychological benefits of mediation are lengthy, here are a few;
Lower blood pressure
Decrease pain and tension
Increase mental clarity
Increase peace and calm throughout the day
Boost the immune system
Decrease stress and anxiety
Increase compassion and awareness
Many of you may be wondering HOW to meditate.
Here is a short tutorial to get you started. You may also check out Calm.com (also available as an app) it is not ours but its AWESOME.
Begin with 5 minutes a day and work your way to 20 minutes.
For one on one meditation coaching call 817.849.9800 ext. 2
Find a comfortable position on a chair or on the floor.
Relax with the spine straight but not rigid.
Close your eyes.
Take a deep breath in through the nose
And out through the nose…
Begin to notice your breath.
Notice the breath coming in-
Notice the breath going out-
Continue to follow the breath as it flows in
When your mind wanders (and it will)
Come back to the breath
Continue for 5 min
Finish with a long deep breath in---Hold for 5 seconds—Exhale fully and completely—Hold for 5 seconds
Hold in your mind feelings of gratitude for taking this time for yourself .
Have a Blessed Day.
To kick start your self-care routine with a therapeutic massage (another great way to engage the relaxation response) schedule on-line or contact us for more information.