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The Power of Your Mind
To Achieve Your Goals
Finding Peace Within: The Life-Changing & Transformational Benefits of Relaxation & Meditation
From Clearing Blockages to Increasing Health and Wellbeing - Influencing Every Area of Your Life
Though many people meditate for one or two particular reasons, it actually impacts positively upon every single area of your life, just the same - such as your personal life, business life, health, success, spiritual growth, and many others.
As your mind is connected to everything you say and do, and influences how you are feeling physically, this pretty much covers our entire everyday life experiences as a human being.
But what exactly are the various different influences and benefits meditation and relaxation have upon your life?
In your physical health, it allows your body's inner functioning at the deepest cellular level to run more efficiently, as it removes stress which is known to inhibit these inner bodily functions.
It also strengthens the 24/7 functioning of your powerful immune system, which co-ordinates countless tasks throughout every second of your life, such as your heart beat, your breathing, elimination, metabolism, digestion, healing, cell regeneration... and the list goes on, virtually forever.
For this reason many hospitals now have meditation programs to teach to cancer sufferers and those with stress-related physical symptoms - as science is constantly discovering new ways the mind is able to help accelerate the healing of the body.
In turn, your entire scope of mental powers are also strengthened with relaxation.
The deep relaxation clears your mind and increases your ability to focus, concentrate, recall information, communicate clearly, make better decisions.
While remaining motivated and emotionally balanced, solving problems more easily, increased intuition and creativity, and a sense of inner confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Needless to say, it enhances our entire personal development and personal abilities, which has a positive impact upon our self esteem, personal relationships, business career, and even our spiritual growth (regardless of whether you are a religious person, or not - or if you follow your own personal path of spirituality).
Basically, meditation allows every area of your life to be more connected, integrated, to function more efficiently, and to flow.It opens up the non-functioning or frozen areas of our life and gets them circulating again.
It brings all the thousands of physical, mental and spiritual aspects of our life into alignment, so that we can become the best version of ourselves that we can be, and help us to realize our own inner potentials and achieve goals we may desire.
And arguably, possibly even above all of these things - putting some time aside for meditative practice helps us to simply experience a heightened and pure sense of joy. Even for that reason alone, I know that the time I allow for this scheduled quiet time in my schedule is truly worth it.
Some of the most well-established benefits include:
• Reducing stress and anxiety:
With regular practice, it has been found to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and decrease symptoms of anxiety
• Improving mood:
Improves overall feelings of well-being and increases positive emotions, such as happiness and contentment
• Enhancing attention and focus:
Enhances attention, concentration, and cognitive flexibility
• Improving sleep:
Can increase the quality of sleep and feelings of relaxation, which can lead to better sleep
• Reducing chronic pain:
Effective in reducing chronic pain, and reducing the need for pain medication
• Improving heart health:
Lowers blood pressure and improves heart rate variability, which can reduce the risk of heart disease
• Improving immune function:
Enhances immune function, which can help the body fight off illness and disease
• Increases self-awareness and introspection
- Increases clarity of mind and self-awareness
• Boosts immune function and lowers inflammation
- Reducing stress boosts immune functioning, and along with increasing activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, reduces inflammation
• Reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders
- Deep relaxation helps to cleanse away anxiety-based or related issues
• Lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health
- Benefits derived from improved relaxation skills and the emotional wellbeing which stems from them
• Enhances cognitive function
- including memory and attention, and general congnitive sharpness
• Reduces symptoms of chronic pain and fatigue
- via reducing stress and anxiety, changing pain perception of its intensity, activating the body's natural painkillers such as endorphins, improving sleep and reducing inflammation
• Improves social relationships and emotional intelligence
• May reduce symptoms of PTSD and trauma
- known to have a cathartic effect with regular use, which releases past traumas
• Enhances feelings of compassion and empathy
- shown in recent scientific studies.
• Helps cultivate a sense of inner peace and contentment
- one of the well known advantages related to the practice
Accessing What You Need From The Range of Benefits
As there are almost countless benefits related to the relaxation derived from the technique, there's also many countless reasons why people are using it, every day all around the world.
Stress release, health reasons, sharpening mental skills, overcoming limitations and personal growth, accelerated goal achievement, spirituality, and expanding awareness, intuition and creativity are the most common reasons for people using relaxation.
The technique opens up our link to the vast abilities housed within our subconscious, the sleeping giant influencing every facet of our existence - and silently operating in the background like a computer, simultaneously running hundreds of programs.
This has become common knowledge nowadays, which is why meditation has overcome its initial perception of being a little 'alternative', and has now gained both scientific and public acceptance, and a permanent foothold in many people's everyday routine.
Our subconscious literally knows everything there is to know about us - our entire personal history, all our hopes, beliefs and desires, our current level of health, and our likes and dislikes, ad infinitum.
It's also our natural protector - as it controls our immune system containing thousands of cancer-killing 'T cells', as well as the muscular reflexes that automatically take our hand off a hot stove, and, if required, can even render us unconscious to ensure we avoid a negative experience of mental trauma or serious physical pain.
However, people are often still mystified as to how it delivers benefits which are often quite unique to them and their personal situation, which are often quite different to what others may receive from the very same technique!
Why Do We All Get Different Benefits from Relaxation?
Because your subconscious has an intimate personal knowledge of exactly who you are, and what you need - and so every moment of the day it is trying to move you in the direction that it believes to be for your highest good, even whether you actually even realise it or not.
This is why we often wonder why our life has taken a rather unusual turn or direction, only to find out later that it turned out to be exactly what we had needed.
And so when we meditate, it helps to clear away our own resistance and self-sabotaging habits brought about by day-to-day negativity, and helps us to re-align with our purest essence of who we truly are, and the direction we should take in our lives.
And because we are all different, we all get different results from the same technique!
This is why people often experience rather "miraculous" changes and improvements in their lives when they meditate regularly, as they naturally begin to gravitate back to the directions they were personally meant to be heading.
So whenever you get the chance in your busy day, take some moments of quiet time and allow your own inner-intelligence to gain a foothold upon your life once more.
Clearing Blockages and Re-Activating Frozen Areas of Our Life
Another area where stilling the mind is often credited is with bringing positive new change and movement to previously frozen areas of our life, which may be completely different areas for each individual person - as deep, quality meditation (rather than mere light relaxation) works on the areas which are most personally important to us and our own personal health and development, as it does for each and every person.
So how does it bring about these changes and improvements in our lives, and help us achieve goals which were previously beyond our reach?
Rather than manifesting something magically out of thin air, it quite simply helps us to clear our own resistance to the issues or goals. It is much like 'clearing our path' of obstacles, so we can travel more easily along it and reach our goals.
Blockages can range from simply be an area that is not as strong as the other areas of your life, or they can also be debilitating issues which prevent us from moving forward and developing further.
Most often they have been unconsciously created, either gradually over the years or from major traumas or events (they are not consciously created, so no need to blame yourself ; ) and it assists us with the emotional release, to help clear the issues and allow these areas to begin to function once again.
The blockages people experience may be in any area of life - whether it be in health, love, relationships, money, career, success etc.
Deep relaxation, while it also works simultaneously at multiple levels of our being - tends to also work on 'major projects', seeking out and targeting the specific major issues that each person is personally dealing with at the time.
These are the issues that people tend to notice more than any other - but most often, only once they are gone.
Of course, if the issues are particularly deeply ingrained or long-term issues, releasing of the emotions attached to these can sometimes cause a little initial discomfort, while the issues (or blockages) are 'processing' and releasing.
These are the times when the length or frequency of the relaxation may be reduced to allow the issues to clear a little less quickly and painlessly, at a pace the mind and body are more comfortable with.
Once an issue has been cleared, we can often experience a major shift and improvement in those specific areas of our lives, and a general feeling of happiness or emotional relief sweep over us.
From that moment onwards the issue should be cleared, and any future sessions tend to automatically seek out other areas to focus upon, and improve.
The deep levels of peace and relaxation continually sweep throughout our mind and body seeking out any areas of discord, and slowly but surely transforming them back to strong and healthy levels once more.
No Matter How Many 'Thoughts' You May Have, Meditation is Always Beneficial
Regular relaxation at the deepest levels eventually becomes such an automatic response to our mind, it no longer matters whether you feel some sessions are better quality than others, or not - in regard to the amount of thoughts you may have had.
Your mind becomes so attuned to the regular session, it reaches a point where it virtually begins the relaxation process before you have even begun for that day, as a conditioned autoresponse which builds up from the regular use of the technique.
Needless to say, meditation builds up accumulatively, and this is what lengthens the flow-on effect of the relaxation - ie. how long the after-effects of each session continue.
For those who now meditate regularly at advanced levels, it eventually reaches the point where the flow-on effects from your session are only beginning to wear off just as you are preparing to meditate again, the following day.
When you reach this stage, it means you are now experiencing every day, including your entire working days, in a permanently powerful state - of mental relaxation, enhanced sharpness, increased physical benefits, and all the other countless aspects that come from deep relaxation.
This is the optimum mental state which brings synchronicity into our lives - where our brain is operating at its most powerful brainwave rhythms, and our mind is constantly seeking our highest possible outcomes for any situations we are dealing with.
When this happens, we see an unfolding of powerful improvements occurring, as well as a falling away of the issues we are no longer finding useful to our daily existence.
It is a time of enormous possibilities and potential - a true 'natural high' that seems to let go of negative emotions or negative emotional attachments, and you begin to see your existence through a powerful, positive new filter, or lens.
Meditation During Times Of Unusual Stress
Everyone experiences particular times when life simply delivers greater amounts of everyday stress than usual. For some it might be the end of the year, for others it might be from the loss of a job, a relationship, health issues, financial pressure, etc.
During these unsettling times it is easy to let the good habits, particularly regular relaxation, slip away and become lost in the external busy-ness and confusion. But these are the very times when you need it most.
When you meditate regularly, you create a core of inner peace which flows through your mind and body at the cellular level - and this deep inner relaxation is the very thing that sustains you, whenever things are getting a little crazy externally in your life.
When you meditate, it minimizes, absorbs and evaporates stressful situations. While stressful situations can still have an initial effect upon us while we are coming to terms with it, there are usually no long-lasting effects from the stress - as our core of inner peace quickly re-establishes our equilibrium so we can think clearly once again.
This means that you reach a point where stress virtually bounces off you, much like "water off a duck's back".
Of course, if the stressful situation is particularly difficult or extremely emotional, then it may be necessary to increase the regularity of your sessions during that period, even if it means adding an additional shorter version at the other end of your day.
This will make it easier to move through the situation more quickly and easily, and being able to think more clearly and eloquently throughout the event. Emotional issues dissolve and disappear far more quickly for those who meditate.
External stress cannot affect you for very long when you have internal peace - and this is why it is important during these times to maintain your meditation.
If a life situation puts you under extreme time pressure where it becomes difficult to fit a relaxation into your day, then simply reduce the length of your session, but increase its frequency.
For instance, this would mean that, rather than doing a longer session once a day, you might do a shorter one twice a day, instead.
Once the crisis has passed (and it almost always does), you simply revert back to your regularly routine once more.
Taking time out from the stress reminds us that these issues are simply temporary, external and often perceived to be worse than they actually are. But the peace we have inside of us is real, internal, and permanent - we just need to access it, when we need it.
So whatever you do, keep it up - in whatever form you can. The deep inner practice is your insulation and protection for dealing with stressful situations that life throws at us from time to time.
The Different Forms of Meditation
While it has been practiced in many different cultures and religions throughout history, there are a few key forms of the practice used today. These include:
• Mindfulness - This involves focusing on the present moment, being aware of thoughts and sensations without judgment. The goal is to become more aware of the present moment and to learn to observe thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them. It can be practiced anywhere and at any time, making it an easy and accessible form of the practice.
• Body Scan - involves paying attention to physical sensations in the body, often starting at the feet and moving up towards the head. The goal is to develop awareness of physical sensations without judgment or distraction. Body scan can be helpful for reducing tension and stress in the body, and can be particularly useful for individuals who struggle with chronic pain or illness.
• Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) - MBSR was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 1970s, involves bringing non-judgmental awareness to the present moment, and can be done through a variety of practices, such as breathwork, body scan, and mindfulness of thoughts and emotions. The goal of MBSR is to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
Loving-kindness - cultivating feelings of love, kindness, and compassion towards oneself and others.
Transcendental - using a mantra, which is repeated silently to help focus the mind and achieve a state of deep relaxation and awareness.
Chakra - focusing on the seven energy centers in the body, known as chakras, with the goal of balancing and harmonizing these centers.
• Vipassana - is a type of Buddhist practice that involves the development of mindfulness and awareness through focused attention on the breath, bodily sensations, and mental states. The goal of Vipassana is to gain insight into the nature of reality and to free oneself from suffering.
• Zen - sitting in silence and focusing on breathing to reach a state of calm and clarity. The goal is to let go of distracting thoughts and emotions, and to focus on the present moment. Zen meditation is often practiced in a group setting, with practitioners sitting facing a wall for extended periods of time.
• Yoga - combines physical postures, breathing techniques to achieve a balance of mind, body, and spirit. The physical postures, or asanas, help prepare the body for relaxation by releasing tension and promoting relaxation. Breathing techniques, or pranayama, help to calm the mind and bring focus to the present moment. This is often practiced in a group setting, and is a popular way to improve physical and mental health.
• Visualization - mental imagery to create a sense of calm and relaxation. Visualization can be used to create a mental image of a peaceful setting, such as a beach or a forest, or to imagine oneself in a happy, peaceful state. Visualization has been shown to reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve overall well-being.
• Mantra - the repetition of a word or phrase, or mantra, to help quiet the mind and promote relaxation. The mantra can be repeated silently or aloud, and may be chosen for its meaning or simply for the sound of the word. This has been shown to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and improve overall well-being.
• Qigong - a combination of breathing exercises, physical movement, and mental focus. Qigong is an ancient Chinese practice that is believed to promote physical health, mental clarity, and spiritual connection. The practice typically involves slow, gentle movements and deep breathing, and can be a helpful way to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
• Sound - using sound, such as singing bowls or chimes, to help quiet the mind and promote relaxation. It can be practiced individually or in a group setting and is often used as a way to reduce stress and promote overall well-being.
• Walking - walking slowly and mindfully, paying attention to each step and the sensations in the body. It can be practiced indoors or outdoors and can be a helpful way to reduce stress, improve focus, and promote overall well-being.
• Art - the use of art, such as drawing or painting, to help focus the mind and promote relaxation. It can be practiced individually or in a group setting and can be a helpful way to reduce stress, promote creativity, and improve overall well-being.
• Mindful Eating - the practice of eating mindfully, paying attention to the taste, texture, and sensations of each bite. Mindful eating meditation can be a helpful way to reduce overeating, improve digestion, and promote overall well-being.
• Guided - the use of a guided audio or video recording to help lead the practitioner through a meditation practice. It can be helpful for beginners who are just starting out with meditation, or for individuals who want to focus on a specific goal or intention. Guided meditations can range from a few minutes to an hour or more in length.
• Crystal - this involves using crystals or gemstones to enhance meditation and promote healing. The practice involves placing crystals or gemstones on specific parts of the body, or holding them in the hands, while meditating. The goal of crystal meditation is to improve energy flow, promote healing, and achieve a state of inner peace and well-being.
• Yoga Nidra - a state of deep relaxation and conscious awareness. The practice involves lying down in a comfortable position and listening to a guided meditation that leads you through different stages of relaxation and self-awareness.
• Trataka - involves gazing at a single point or object, such as a candle flame or a picture, to develop concentration and focus. This practice can help improve eyesight, memory, and overall mental clarity.
• Zazen - central to Zen Buddhism - sitting in a particular posture and focusing on the breath or the present moment, while letting go of thoughts and distractions. The goal of zazen is to cultivate mindfulness, awareness, and insight.
• Tonglen - developing compassion by visualizing the suffering of others and breathing in their pain or negative emotions, and breathing out positive energy or healing. This practice helps cultivate empathy and compassion towards oneself and others.
• Taoist - practiced in Taoism, a Chinese philosophy and religion, cultivating internal energy or qi, through breathwork, visualization, and movement. The goal is to cultivate health, longevity, and spiritual growth.
• Sufi - practiced in Sufism, a mystical Islamic tradition - involves chanting, music, and movement, and can be done individually or in a group. The goal is to cultivate a closer relationship with God, and to experience inner peace and harmony.
• Kriya yoga - a combination of physical postures, breathwork. The practice is based on the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, and is designed to awaken spiritual energy and consciousness.
• Vijnana yoga - focuses on awareness and understanding of the body, mind, and emotions. The practice involves slow, mindful movement, breathwork relaxation, and can help cultivate physical and emotional awareness, as well as inner peace and harmony.
Overall, there are many different types that can be practiced, each with its own unique benefits and techniques. Whether you're looking to reduce stress, improve focus, cultivate inner peace, or promote overall well-being, there is likely a type of meditation that can help you achieve your goals.
The Role of Meditation in Modern Society
As our society becomes increasingly fast-paced and stress-filled, more and more people are turning to this technique as a way to manage stress, improve mental and physical health, and find deeper meaning in life. In recent years, mindfulness meditation has gained particular popularity, with many companies and organizations offering classes and retreats as a way to improve employee productivity and wellbeing.
Meditation has also been used in the treatment of various mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, as well as chronic pain and other physical ailments. In fact, the American Heart Association recently released a statement recommending the use of meditation as a way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
While meditation has traditionally been associated with religious and spiritual practices, it is increasingly being viewed as a secular practice that can benefit people of all faiths and backgrounds. This has helped to make meditation more accessible to a wider range of people, and has helped to remove some of the barriers that may have prevented people from trying meditation in the past.
History of Meditation
The practice of meditation has a long and complex history that spans many cultures and traditions. Here is a brief overview of the history of meditation:
The earliest known records come from ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts, which describe various techniques for achieving states of deep concentration and contemplation. These texts date back to around 1500 BCE, although the practice of meditation is believed to be much older.
It is a central practice in Buddhism, and the Buddha himself is said to have achieved enlightenment through this deep mental technique. The earliest Buddhist texts describe a number of different techniques, including mindfulness of breath, loving-kindness, and the body scan.
Itis also an important practice in Taoism, a Chinese philosophy that dates back to the 4th century BCE. Taoist meditation techniques emphasize breathing, visualization, and movement.
Christianity also has a long history of contemplative practices which include this technique as well as prayer. The earliest Christian monks and hermits practiced a form of meditation called hesychasm, which involved focusing on the Jesus Prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner").
Sufism, a mystical tradition within Islam, also has a long history of meditative and other contemplative practices - include chanting, repetition of sacred words, and visualization.
In the 20th century, it became more widely known in the West, due in part to the teachings of Indian spiritual teachers such as Paramahansa Yogananda and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In the 1960s, the Beatles popularized the method through their association with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the Transcendental movement.
Today, the technique is widely practiced in a variety of contexts, from mindfulness-based stress reduction to the secular practice of mindfulness. Research has shown that it can have a range of health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood, and enhancing cognitive function.
Keep meditating - and don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions along the way!
"The best of health, inner peace and success" Craig Townsend
Article © MindTraining.net
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