The Amazing Power of Meditation
It always surprises me that when I allow myself to get knocked off my daily meditation schedule when things get super busy or when we go out of town to visit friends, I notice the difference pretty significantly in many areas of my life. The most noticeable is in my overall sense of well-being and calm, which takes a dip. I become more reactive when I don't meditate. Meditating usually gives me a clean, bright feeling and makes me feel connected to everything and grounded. The physical spaces around me seem to stay pretty effortlessly organized and clean when I meditate every day. I also get things done more efficiently on my to do list. Actually, everything flows more smoothly when I meditate.
Daily meditation is truly a life changer. Hundreds of studies have proven that meditation radically improves our well-being physically as well as psychologically. Meditation has been proven to increase your performance in everything that you do. Scientific research has shown that meditation slows down the aging process, leads to better brain performance, better decision making, better attention, better memory and makes you less reactive so you are less likely to get pissed off at the guy who cuts you off in traffic. The list of benefits goes on and on.
When you meditate, as your attention goes within you expand your awareness to encompass everything else so you cannot help but feel more connected to the rest of humanity, to the rest of the world. You start caring more about the world. Scientific studies show that eelings of kindness and caring open the learning centers of the brain and release chemicals in the body that feel good.
In the article, “Benefits of Meditation” by Giovanni Dienstmann, he said that studies have proven that meditating 20 minutes a day for a period of several weeks was enough to show a significant change in brain scans. He grouped the benefits in three main categories: emotional well-being, super mind and healthy body.
I remember living and working for a summer in Thailand when I was 18 while I was visiting my father who lived there, and being surprised to see so many people meditating early in the morning upon waking on an overnight train to Chiang Mai from Bangkok.
The best time to meditate is in the morning because when we wake up we are naturally in Alpha brain state. It’s great to start with 10 minutes and work up to 20 minutes or more. Taking that time will actually make your day much more productive and better in so many ways so it is more that worth it.
A great thing about meditation is that it allows you to bypass the ego and connect with the unconscious or the higher self, the part of you that knows what is best for you. It is the still, small voice that will speak through inner stillness.
A great way to tap into the unconscious is by getting into Theta brain state while meditating. There are also many benefits of getting into Theta state while meditating. Theta state is a deeply relaxed state when the brain releases endocannabinoids that facilitate a “cleansing” and healing process. One of the main endocannabinoids released in Theta state is anandamide, whose name is derived from the Sanskrit word for “bliss”. Anandamide diminishes stress and physical pain and produces a wonderful feeling of well-being. Anandamide has the same chemical structure as marijuana.
In the book, The Worry Free Mind by Kershaw and Wade, it states that the neuro-association process that happens when you hover in Theta for a while allows you to automatically let go of worry, release mental baggage, troubling thoughts, and ruminating thoughts that have frozen your mind in the past. Kershaw and Wade found that Theta state dissipates fear and transforms problems into doable challenges. In Theta there's a deep pool of self-compassion and a calm quiet center that “knows” everything will be all right, no matter the difficulty. Theta gives guidance from the deepest level about which fork to take and how to move into the future you would like to experience.
I found an easy way to get into Theta state with a Youtube video. It is a 10 minute guided meditation called “Easiest Way to Get into Theta State of Mind” by MindBodySpirit. It is done by a young man in India who has been meditating since he was 8 years old. It's easy to find if you google Youtube..
I think some people are wary of meditating because they think they can’t do it. There is a misconception that you have to stop all thoughts. All that is necessary is that you take your attention from the physical world and turn your attention within.
I also found a free meditation from Mindvalley called “The 6 Phase Meditation”. It is 15 minutes long and a guided meditation. I really like it. It is free on the Quest section of mindvalley.com and also free on omvana.com. It is great for beginners and also seasoned meditators. It puts you in a great space to start the day.