Meditation for Health
There may be no magic bullet when it comes to good health and anti-aging strategies, but there is something that has been practiced for thousands of years, that has proven to provide profound physical and mental benefits. It costs nothing, requires no special equipment, and takes just 20 minutes at a time.
The roots of meditation go back thousands of years, and the most widely practiced forms originated in India and China. Many people associate meditation with bald headed Buddhist monks sitting in a picturesque mountain temple with incense wafting through the air, and while this is certainly still commonly found in some parts of the globe, many ordinary people (not to mention celebrities ranging from The Beatles to Howard Stern) have learned to practice meditation for health comfortably in their homes sitting in their favorite chair or propped up in bed for 15-20 minutes at a time.
If you think a short power nap is a great way to relax, recharge, and clear your head, then you might want to experiment with the powerful benefits of a simple 20 meditation session. Studies have shown that certain forms of meditation such as Transcendental Meditation (www.tm.org) have the ability within minutes to plunge someone into a deeply restful state that can take almost 8 hours of sleep to achieve! I remember when I first learned to meditate, about 15 years ago, the first thing I noticed was that I no longer needed my afternoon nap!
I also found that I was much less annoyed sitting in traffic congestion, which demonstrates one of the most fundamental benefits of massage – reduced stress! By using simple techniques that allow the mind to rest quietly, we can clear away the constant chatter going on in our brains and find a peaceful, blissful silence. When you get away from it all, you can take a deep breath of fresh air and clear your head for a little while. That’s what it feels like each time you meditate; and the more consistently it is done, the longer the effect lasts!
Another benefit of silencing the mind is that it allows the body the freedom to use its innate intelligence to devote healing energy where it is most needed. This explains why people who practice meditation for health demonstrate much lower incidences of sickness and disease – in some studies half the rates of heart disease and even cancer! Other biological measures have shown that meditation can slow, stop, or even reverse the aging process!
I’ve heard so many people say “I would like to meditate but there’s no way I can sit still for that long and not think of anything.” This is why it is important to learn a technique. Transcendental Meditation uses a “mantra” technique where a simple made-up word which has no meaning is repeated over and over silently. This has the effect of keeping the mind from wandering onto thoughts. Others focus on breathing or may even use recordings of chimes or other things to help clear the mind. The important thing is to not simply sit down and try to force the mind to be quiet, since this probably won’t work and may be more frustrating than anything.
There are many resources available to us by either searching on the web or thumbing through a local Natural Awakenings to find groups and individuals practicing many different forms of meditation for health. I encourage you to see for yourself how profoundly one and all can benefit from this simple, ancient practice.