The tribulation and torment of modern-day chores have paved the way for spirituality and a quest of self, for the super active turbulent laden minds. This has, in turn, envisaged the need for the resurrection of ancient ways of life to make things simpler. Meditation has proven to be one such apparatus to facilitate a better quality of life for many.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is predominantly a practice that advocates mindfulness and concentration to be directed towards a particular thought, object, or activity, lest being indifferent and oblivious about the rest. It mechanizes the mind to achieve attention, awareness, and a state of absolute clarity and stability. It leads to the journey of enlightenment and self-realization, which in turn provides for total control of one’s emotional and mental quotients. The earliest known meditative techniques have said to be originated from prehistoric times of 1500 BCE in the Asian sub-continent. This practice is devoid of any standardized and concretized definition of its own, as the cultures and practices vary from traditions to traditions.
Meditation has been broadly divided into two broad categories:
- Focused Meditation: Paying attention to breathe, an idea or feeling to a mantra, and single point meditation (concentration).
- Open Monitoring: Advocating for complete attention to experience the occurrence of the present moment without any judgments passed (mindfulness). It’s most popular in the West.
There are other aspects of Meditation including various Asanas, self-introspection, and other ways to calm and stabilize the emotions and thoughts. The techniques of meditation are also very subjective, depending on the need and psychological syntax of a human being. These may include:
- Spiritual Meditation in the form of prayers, silence, and other ways to connect to the Almighty.
- Pure Relaxation in the form of being nonchalant of the bodily tensions.
- Self-Introspection where the objective is more to imprint a specific message on the mind.
- Breathing exercises to inculcate a certain pattern of breathing and purify the body.
Classifications of Meditation
Having its roots from Buddhism, mindful meditation is a systematic procedure of mental training that propels to slow down racing negative thoughts, detach from negativity and toxicity of mind and instil a sense of complete awareness of the present. It also advocates being mindful of where we are and be oblivious to everything around us.
This technique of meditation usually involves breathing practices, mental imagery, awareness of mind, muscle relaxation, etc. This, in turn, contributes to a satisfying life and fulfilment of survival. Other physical ailments such as Blood pressure, heart diseases, chronic pain are also claimed to be relieved by the same.
The transcendental technique or popularly known as the TM technique is a simple effortless way to calm the mind and stabilize the mind through mantras, in the form of words or phrases. This technique was developed by Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, a great teacher from India.
This type of meditation is advised to be practiced for twenty minutes twice daily, repeating a mantra gently, sitting in any specific yoga position with eyes closed. Since it is mantra-based, the technique ostensibly provides for sharp concentration power.
This process of meditation requires the mind to create mental pictures and visualization, which aid in the relaxation of body and mind. It is usually guided by a teacher or narrator who explains the dynamics of mind and how its likely to behave during meditation. It also envisages the use of various senses such as smell, sounds, textures, etc.
It is an archaic Indian meditation technique that was rediscovered by Gautam Budhha, around 2500 years ago. This advocates the idea of self-transformation through self- observation. It is an exemplary journey of the deep interconnection between mind and body, through disciplined attention of self-exploration of physical sensations. The main aim of this exercise is to remain equanimous and stable, devoid of any restlessness or stress.
Vipassana is traditionally taught during a 10-day course, in a very coached and academic fashion. Students are required to abstain from intoxication, telling lies, sexual activity, and killing any species.
Loving Kindness Meditation
The word “Metta” has been derived from the Pali, an ancient Buddhist tongue, which means “goodwill” or “kindness”. This practice essentially advocates harmony and intentionalize good wishes for oneself as well as others.
It primarily consists of a silent repetition of words and phrases such as “ May I be happy”, “ May you be happy” etc. This in turn brings in a sense of euphoric contentment inside oneself and mindfulness of empathy for self and others. Brotherhood and unity of emotions can also be experienced through this.
One may start with oneself, chanting phrases foe self-motivation and elation, and culminate in the unification of virtues and blessings for all human beings. “ May all being beings
everywhere be happy.”
Tracing its roots from the Sanskrit scripts, ‘Chakras’ means ‘ spiral’ or ‘wheel’. It finds credence in ancient Indian history that the human body is made up of 7 chakras situated
along the spine from the sacrum to the crown, each transcending to a centre of energy and colour.
Chakra Meditation comprises of relaxation and equanimous techniques to bring balance among these chakras. The process also demands the visualization of such Chakras in the body, with utmost concentrative attributes and thereby pave the way for composure and tranquillity in the body and mind.
Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices, which are directed towards the relaxation and tranquility of body and mind. It is a process of promoting the concept of living at the moment, through various body postures and thus attaining salvation.
The body postures require balance and concentration, lest being oblivious to all distractions. This has been the most popular form of meditation lately.
BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
Reduced Stress Levels
The challenging dynamics of the modern world have proven to be tormenting for people to cope up and thereby leading to anxiety and stress. A generous serving to physical and mental anxiety has become the new normal of today.
Meditation has proven to be the greatest stress-buster of all. It helps to reduce hormonal cortisol (stress hormones) which are detrimental to sleep cycles and blood pressure.
Meditation promotes a sense of harmony and oneness through its practices. Various techniques to mediation help to develop the cognitive skills of bringing in affinity and brotherhood for fellow beings. The deep state of flow facilitates to build social connectedness and make us more affectionate and generous.
A relaxed and lightened mind has always proven to be a prudent decision-maker in most cases. Research has proved that those who practice meditation in their daily routine are prone to witness improved cognitive skills, which in turn, boosts their professional career.
Promotes Emotional Well being
Mental health proves to be an indispensable part of the entire health. Self- awareness and self-worth are very important aspects of life, which need to acknowledged by every individual.
Meditation envisages various self-actualization techniques, which helps in abandoning various depressive and mood-related complications.
Increases attention span
A complete state of self-awareness, coupled with a high level of concentration, helps a person to absorb at the moment. Meditation provides for such experiences and
reaches a ‘flow state’, where the mind is entirely in harmony with itself. Studies show that even people who meditate for shorter span exhibited more focus than individuals who didn’t meditate at all.