Harnessing the benefits of meditation
Meditation has many forms, and many faces. It can be done for a few minutes, or hours. Some Indian gurus have been known to meditate for years in caves. Meditation can be done alone, or in groups.
There can be calming music, or no music at all. It can be done with prayer, or without. It can be guided by a lead, a minister, a master, or you can do it yourself. It can be done sitting in a Yoga posture with palms upward, or just sitting in a comfy chair. It can be done during Sunday church service, or in your own home. You can find it as a portion of some Yoga classes.
Some have described meditation as slowing down or stopping the incessant chatter of the mind, but some say it is a state of thoughtless awareness. Most agree that it is a feeling of profound, deep peace. Some experts say that the term meditation is used frequently but inaccurately in today's modern world, and that is why there is so much confusion surrounding it. Many agree that it is not part of any religion, but is more accurately described as a science. Describing it as a science brings it home, since it has definite principles, and produces results that can be quantified.
In a meditative state the mind is inwardly focused, not attentive to the external world. Some styles have you focusing on your breath to help you get calm. It may seem hard to believe that the mind's endless churning can be calmed, but it can, and the benefits will emerge.
So what are the benefits of meditation? For starters, it has been shown to reduce stress, and that can be very beneficial to one's health. Since its focus is not the world out there, it turns you inward, and helps you to get to know your own inner dimensions. It shows you that "inside" can be a peaceful, not a scary place. Be patient and gentle with your progress, and don't be surprised if you uncover different levels of yourself.
If classes, and group meditation is for you, Unity Spiritual Center of Westlake offers a half-hour meditation every Wednesday starting at noon. Sunday services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. include a short guided meditation. Find us at 23855 Detroit Road or online at unityspiritualcenter.com.
I enjoy writing about USC's events. Everyone is welcome at Sunday services, or at our numerous classes, and worshops!