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Meditation: Benefits of Meditation

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Which benefits of meditation do you need right now – peace of mind, a calm heart, easier breathing, less pain, a fresh perspective or renewed control of fragile emotions? Just a coffee break’s worth of breathing can lighten your load and reverse the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual effects of stress. Come with me now and let’s explore this together.

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Physical Benefits of Meditation

According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation can prove helpful in alleviating symptoms related to:

  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Sleep problems
  • Tension headaches

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Emotional Benefits of Meditation

In Beth Shaw’s book, Yoga Fit, excerpted by Human Kinetics, meditation can lead to:

  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • Better decisions and critical thinking
  • More self control over thoughts
  • Peace from centering in the present moment, versus past of future

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Mental Benefits of Meditation

The Medical Daily states that meditation is like exercise for your brain, with results including:

  • Improved memory, self esteem and empathy
  • Altered gray matter, which helps process information and deliver nutrients and energy to neurons

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Spiritual Benefits of Meditation

The Brainwave Research Institute shares that many seek out meditation for:

  • Relief from life stress
  • Inner peace
  • Deeper spiritual connection
  • Understanding of one’s true essence
  • Silent mind
  • Pure bliss

Well, that’s the scientific evidence. Time to see what my friends have to say about the benefits of meditation, starting with the numbers:

  • 100% reported rest, relaxation or stress relief as a result of meditation.
  • 40% said they meditate for focus and clarity.

Now let’s dig a little deeper and explore their individual experiences.

Lesfic author Elle Hyden says her practice of meditation helps her “let go of the outer world.” Reviewer Ameliah Faith agrees, “the outside world melts away.”

Boston-based author LJ Cohen and artist Jennifer Lynn Mattka both utilize meditation beforehand to enhance their creativity.

Oregon editor and Reiki Master Toni Rakestraw seeks out meditation for “insight into who I am and becoming one with everything.”

Dance teacher Jan Floyd, also a Reiki Master and ordained minister, reports her stress, sleep and health issues have faded into distant memories. “Now I meditate to increase my vibes, improve productivity and remain in receptive mode. Ya never know when great things are coming your way!”

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Mary, another kindred spirit in the adventure department, uses meditation benefits “to travel into the past to seek out information about former lives, and further answers from the astral plane for self and others.”

What benefits of meditation do I seek and receive? For starters, the rest, relaxation and stress relief, quiet mind, focus and clarity all happen for me. I’ve done many forms of meditation for anxiety, sleep, pain and past life research.

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I’ve also used it to significantly lower my blood pressure before physical exams. But shhh – don’t tell my doctor!

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The astral travel bit I kinda stumbled into. I’ve also meditated to find out what happened to lost pets and help distant friends with their health.

One night in Hot Springs, AR, after a Full Moon Drumming (and dancing) double session atop the Golden Leaves Bookstore, it felt like I floated to the car and my entire being buzzed for hours.

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What benefits of meditation have you experienced?

NEXT: Meditation for Beginners

Belinda Y. Hughes is a lifestyle coach and freelance writer. She is a Certified Yoga Teacher (CYT) and retired Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT). Her vegetarian cookbook, Confessions of a Red Hot Veggie Lover 2, has made the Amazon Top 100 a few times.

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Meditation: What Is Meditation?

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What is meditation? Is it a few minutes of peace, a path to wisdom or a free thing anyone can do for natural health? Let’s find out.

The meditation definition given by the Learner’s Dictionary is “the act or process of spending time in quiet thought.” That fits with the popular image of a Buddhist or yoga teacher sitting on the floor, legs folded, fingers touching, eyes closed or gazing at a candle. But is that all there is to it? I decided to reflect on all I’ve seen, heard and done on the subject and ask ten friends their meaning of meditation.

peace-1805573_640.jpgWhat is meditation? The age-old saying “ask ten different people, get ten different answers” holds true. Each friend’s definition of meditation was unique and personal, but they had some things in common. A full fifty percent said it is clearing the mind. For a third, the meaning of meditation is getting centered and focusing. Both of those answers parallel that classic image. Let’s look at the differences.

Jan Floyd, a dance teacher at Soul to Sole Studios in Baton Rouge, defines meditation as “being fully present in the moment with oneself, at peace.”

Freelance editor Toni Rakestraw sees it as “creating space, creating awareness, opening my heart, opening my personal space to the universe.”

Paranormal romance author Kerry Adrienne offered her meaning of meditation as “bathing myself in positivity by going through my gratitude list and morphing them into affirmations.

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LJ Cohen, author of the Halcyone Space series, takes “time out of the driven nature of daily life.”

Minnesota lesfic reviewer Ameliah Faith sits peacefully, goes to a happy place in her mind and just tries to feel.

A longtime practitioner said, “I don’t so much define meditation as just do it.”

Jennifer Lynn Mattka, an artist, healer and advanced practitioner, shared the broadest definition of meditation. “Meditation is not a simple answer; it’s a lifelong journey. In order to fully define meditation, you would need to look at every reason and country that participates in the practice. If a person seeks to easily define what meditation is, they’ve never done it or never taken it seriously. There are literally thousands of ways to meditate.”

man-2396320_640.jpgWhat is meditation to me? It’s a free, easy, natural way to take personal responsibility for my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, rather than handing control over to doctors and drug companies and expecting them to fix everything.

In the language of recovery and air travel, it’s “putting on my oxygen mask first,” so I have something of myself to give when helping others. As a spiritual seeker, it’s an empowering way of tapping into my own wisdom and that of my creator, guardian angels, ancestors and Higher Self when I don’t know the answers or my earthly way isn’t working.

As a human being, it’s a way of recharging my batteries when my to-do list is long and I’m ill, injured or feeling fatigued. Just a few minutes alone to be still and breathe, or whatever works for me at that moment, and I’m ready to face the world again. As a New Age adventurer, when my fingertips and soles are touching, I become a flux capacitor, and time and space travel are possible. Pretty exciting stuff!

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What is meditation to you? I want to know. Answer in the comments below.

NEXT: Benefits of Meditation

Belinda Y. Hughes is a lifestyle coach and freelance writer. She is a Certified Yoga Teacher (CYT) and retired Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT). Her vegetarian cookbook, Confessions of a Red Hot Veggie Lover 2, has made the Amazon Top 100 a few times.

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MEDITATION: Japanese Tea Ceremony I

The Japanese tea ceremony is a wonderful way to practice meditation. It’s a great idea for coffee breaks at home or work. This is a quick and easy version for one person I’ve adapted using things you already have on hand: a drink (ideally something bitter, such as tea or coffee, but water’s ok, too) and finger sweets (ex., cookies, fig bars, brownies, Rice Krispies Treats).

Take your things to a quiet sitting area.

Your quiet sitting area could be a table and chair or a pillow on the floor in your office, home, patio, gazebo, garden or poolside. Whatever works for you to face the cup, focus and relax, free of distraction, which is the ultimate goal of the Japanese tea ceremony and any meditation.

  • Get settled and focus on your breathing.
  • Slowly turn your drink three times clockwise.
  • Lifting from the elbows, bring the drink to your lips and sip slowly.
  • Balance the flavor of your drink by enjoying your sweets.
  • Continue to focus on your breathing while drinking and eating slowly.
  • On the last sip, make a slurping sound to acknowledge the glass or cup is empty.
  • Take this time to admire the beauty of the drink container.
  • Slowly turn your drink container once counterclockwise to conclude that serving.
  • If the situation allows, you may refill your beverage after each counterclockwise turn until you are done with the Japanese tea ceremony.

To enhance your meditation and comfort, you can play conducive music during your ceremony. Look into the massage, meditation, nature, Zen and space music genres. There is actually Japanese tea ceremony music, too.

While this ceremony is designed for solo practice, if you have a friend who’d appreciate joining you in this celebration of peace, go for it.

Enhance this contemplative time by embracing your faith or a positive affirmation. Many, if not all, world religions have ideas and practices which lend themselves well to meditation. This is a golden opportunity to unite with friends of like faith or create your own inter-faith circle, honoring this commonality in your creeds and celebrating the differences as flowers in a garden or coffees and teas.

In time, I’ll add more in-depth Japanese and English tea ceremonies, meditations and maybe even some music, recipes and equipage recommendations. Stay tuned and thank you for reading.

RELATED:

Meditation: What is Meditation?

Meditation: Benefits of Meditation

Belinda Y. Hughes is a lifestyle coach and freelance writer. She is a Certified Yoga Teacher (CYT) and retired Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT). Her vegetarian cookbook, Confessions of a Red Hot Veggie Lover 2, has made the Amazon Top 100 a few times.

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