For many people, meditation is the best way to create peace and happiness in life. And it benefits many aspects of our health and well-being in many ways. In this meditation wiki, we will tell you about the practice, how it works and how it is good for you.
First and foremost, it is a practice. A person who meditates trains the mind into a mode of consciousness. Meditation may be practiced with various techniques, but all of them aim to make you relaxed, build your life force and develop positive thoughts and feelings. It fosters love, patience, kindness, and forgiveness.
Meditation has been practiced since ancient times and is a vital component of many religions and traditions. It involves self-control of one’s mind and producing a positive emotional state. It’s a form of mind training among Buddhist monks and may involve posture, breathing or repeating a certain mantra. Meditation is also related to mindfulness, focus, and sensations.
Meditation and Brain Waves
Each thing that we do relates to certain mind states or brain wave patterns. And there are five major levels of brain waves, each with a certain frequency:
- Delta waves (0.5 – 4 Hz)
- Insight, intuition and deep unconscious
- Theta waves (4 – 8 Hz)
- Deep relaxed state, subconscious creative mind
- Alpha waves (8-13 Hz)
- “Dreamy” or “spacey” state
- Passive and receptive
- Beta waves (13-30 Hz)
- Conscious thought, external focus
- Gamma waves (30 – 100 Hz)
- Linked to alertness, anxiety, and perception
- Not well understood
Meditation takes a person in one of two states: we are running our mind or the mind is running us. Often, a practitioner starts with high beta, then goes to alpha, then theta, and finally, delta, the deepest level. Meditation allows us to move from higher frequency to lower frequency brain waves.
This allows us to calm our minds and achieve a higher level of awareness. If meditation is successful, you can feel more awake and refreshed when you go back to the beta state. Often, good practice allows you to gain more insights.
The Science behind Meditation
There is scientific evidence of the effects of meditation. With modern technology like MRI scans, experts are gradually uncovering what’s going on in our brains when we meditate. Even if you’re doing a 20-minute session for the first time, studies reveal that the brain stops processing info and goes into other brain wave states.
Here are the effects of meditation on the different parts of the brain:
- Frontal lobe – This area tends to go “offline”, and there is decreased function with reasoning, planning and the self-conscious.
- Parietal lobe – Meditation slows down this area that controls sensory info. Thus, there is decreased awareness to time and space.
- Thalamus – This part is the gatekeeper for the senses and focuses our attention. Through meditation, we can reduce the flow of information.
- Reticular formation – Meditation decreases the arousal signals brought about by this area. In essence, it rests your brain from too much stimuli that always put you on alert.
The Good Effects of Meditation
As part of this meditation wiki, it is important for you to know the many benefits of meditation:
- Better Focus – When we meditate regularly, we learn to focus our attention and heighten our sense of awareness. This will also improve the way we focus on things around us.
- Better Memory – Regular practice does improve mental function and greatly enhances our memory. The ability to ignore distractions allows the brain to remember more clearly and absorb new info.
- Less Anxiety – Meditation is a drug-free, natural way to relieve anxiety. The more we practice, the less anxiety we have. Our brain does get wound up from stress, and meditation helps loosen connections of certain neural pathways in our brain.
- More Compassion – As you focus your attention, you improve your ability to control your emotions. This allows you to channel more positive emotions and increase your sense of empathy and compassion.
- Boosts Creative Thinking – Studies show that those who perform meditation perform better on a task that requires them to come up with new ideas. This is perhaps due to the insights we gain when we rest our minds.
Some people who haven’t tried meditation would think it is a hard thing to do. But just like any other thing we do, this involves practice, and practice makes perfect. Meditation can be simple if you want to transition from beta waves to deeper states. All you need to do is have your breath and mind work together.
Here are the basic steps of meditation:
- Sit comfortably in your chair or mat. Keep your back straight and relax your shoulders. In a mindful manner, place your hands on your lap. Close your eyes and try your best not to think of anything. Such stimuli will distract you on your practice.
- Breathe slowly and deeply. Notice how your breaths flow in and out. Keep you breathing constant and concentrate on it.
- Cite the mantra. Each mantra may vary with different techniques, but the essence is the same. A simple mantra would be “Breathing in. Breathing out.” Silently repeat this. As your mind begins to travel, draw it back to your breath. Keep doing this and you’ll notice how your breath lengthens and fills your body. In time, your mind will begin to calm.
- Repeat the exercise. Keep in mind that consistency is your key to successful meditation. Do it regularly and adhere to your practice schedule.
How Prayer Beads Help in Meditation
Prayer beads are not mere art pieces. They work well for people who would like to improve their practice. Prayer beads are commonly used in order to keep track of your progress. They are symbols of your connection with your inner self and your companion towards enlightenment. Prayer beads also help remind you about aspects of your training.
Most religions have a long history of using prayer beads and ritualistic objects, because they use it as tools to improve their devotion to their practice. Hindu and Buddhist religions use the “japa mala”, a set of 108 prayer beads. For them, this number has a deep spiritual meaning.
How are prayer beads used in meditation? Often, one bead is counted as one mantra is recited. Just like a Christian rosary, it will help you focus on your practice. It serves as a powerful reminder for you to practice meditation in a diligent way.
Many people today are stressed about many things in their lives. Meditation is a natural way to soothe your mind, and this meditation wiki has presented its good effects on your mind and body. Also bear in mind that meditation is not hard to do. Keep on focusing and practicing, and soon you’ll have a meaningful experience with it.