Much has been written and discussed about the benefits of meditation. Meditation has been around for millennia and is unlikely to go away. Long thought to be an activity limited to hermits, monks, yogis, and hippies, it is now a mainstream activity practiced by millions. And recently, there have been a number of extensive studies into the benefits and effects of meditation.
In 2007, as a lifelong practitioner of yoga and meditation, I was invited to participate in one study and spent time in a souped up MRI machine while I meditated. Studies now have confirmed that meditation increase blood flow to the brain as well as increases the grey matter.
This is significant in that it shows that the benefits of meditation are not simply related to some religious, esoteric, or mystical process. Rather, it shows that meditation can improve one's mental capacity.
I don't meditate daily hoping to find God. I meditate daily because it simply makes my day better, improves my creativity and productivity, and keeps me stable mentally and emotionally.
In addition, I have found that my intuitive capacity has increased over the years due to my meditation practices.
One interesting thing that was found in the various studies is that the method of meditation seems to make little difference, that what is important is the act of sitting quietly and allowing the mind to become calm. The oldest form of meditation is simple breath meditation, the act of following the flowing out and coming in of the breath, eventually making the breath long, slow, and deep. However, the study also showed that people who simply sit quietly on a daily basis, perhaps watch the sunrise, perhaps listen to soothing or uplifting music, or the recitation of affirmations, all had similar results.
There are thousands of different techniques of meditation. There are meditations to produce specific results. There are thousands of mantras and other methods of meditation. Ultimately, as the studies show, they all have similar measurable benefits for the brain. And by benefitting the brain, the general happiness, well-being, and overall health of a person improves.
There are many illnesses that can be immunized and treated. The global pharmaceutical industry spends billions researching and developing medications to prevent or cure those illnesses and millions have benefitted from those medicines. Yet the disease of depression is, perhaps, the most widespread and most disregarded disease.
Although there are many drugs to treat the symptoms of depression, no immunization for depression exists. However, the research on meditation shows that a regular meditative practice has significant influence over the prevention of depression. This is not to say that if you meditate you won't have a bad day or experience those depressing moments, but that is not depression. Depression is severe despondency and dejection, sustained over an extended period of time, accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. And it is the long term, day after day aspects of depression that meditation seems to assuage.
Meditation can be done anytime, anywhere, but the most effective times seem to be early morning upon arising or at night before bed. Try this simple technique:
Sit in a comfortable position and with the fingertips of your right hand, find the pulse of your left wrist.
Close your eyes and breathe long, slow and deep. As you do, mentally and silently recite "Thank - You" to the rhythm of your pulse. Do this for 11 minutes.
Next, inhale deep, hold, and then exhale completely 3 times.
Stretch your arms up, lock you fingers, invert your palms and stretch.
Twist to the right, then to the left.
Shake your entire body then let your hands drop.
Try it for a week and see how you feel. An effective practice is to try it for 40 days. I meditate because it makes my day better, my spirits brighter, and aligns my heart and head. See what you experience.
Gurutej Singh Khalsa
Author of "Rajni"
Gurutej Singh Khalsa is an ordained minister of Sikh dharma and a yogi, warrior, entrepreneur, poet, healer, and teacher. He has been a personal bodyguard and aide to Yogi Bhajan, a founder of an international security firm, and a worldwide yoga and meditation teacher. Khalsa was born in Atlanta and now lives in Singapore with his wife and son. For more information, visit http://www.rajniofgoldentemple.com/.
By Gurutej Singh Khalsa
Aug 23, 2014