Mas India Posting Page
Monday, November 30, 2009
Someone asked me the other day was meditation only for so-called spiritual people. I laughed at that remark, thinking that to even think of meditation, one becomes spiritual in that very moment. What it speaks of is a desire through meditation to experience something deeper than a physical reality. It is as it were an effort to climb beneath ordinary sensory awareness into an experience of meditation that some might call mystical. Then the question arises, is this only a practice for mystics? Well, while meditation might in the past have been only a practice for those aspiring to become religious or spiritual, it is now seen as not only having a spiritual benefit, but having physical benefits as well. In fact, the other day I read about meditation being considered as a neuroscience. Apparently brain studies show that the pre-frontal cortex of the brain was especially affected by intentional contemplative practices. Of course, we all know the main benefit of meditation as being able to balance the parasympathetic and sympathetic systems in the body. When one is engaged in arousing the fight or flight system, one increases the outflow of many stress hormones. When one is under stress, the body contracts and constricts thus, in some cases, producing not only heart attacks but also circulatory problems in general. If only producing relaxation, meditation is a worthwhile tool in the progress against stress. In fact, one could consider oneself a true success in meditation if relaxation were the only benefit gained.
However, there are many other physical and physiological benefits of meditation. Many seasoned meditators have claimed to have improved their psychic relationships within their family, becoming more attuned to the wishes and sensitivities of family members. Deborah Rozman in her book, Meditation for Children, speaks of how meditation creates this close, loving bond amongst family members.
However, even the most comfortable and harmonious families are no longer insulated by the family unit, but are constantly subjected to the stressful news ever emanating from the television and newspapers. We are not only treated to a constant barrage of stressful news within our own locality, but are forced to encounter and watch stories around the globe. In days past, we could just turn off the television sets and remain relatively insulated, but now hearing about the starvation of one child in Africa affects us deeply and instantly. But the world is moving too fast and we are forced to keep up with it through our engagement. Therefore, for psychological health and survival, one must build a base of harmony and peace to cope with these stressors, and that is where meditation enters.
The Chakra Balancing Meditation with Painting by renowned spiritual leader Ma Jaya teaches that all chakras or energy centers within the body must be experienced and balanced to allow an even flow of spiritual energy.
Another tool for increasing balance and awakening the spiritual energy is Layne Redmond’s Chakra Breathing Meditation CD, guiding you through the seven chakras through breathing exercises combined with movement and music.
Meditation is not just for the hippies or those inclined to be monastic. There are of course, meditation centers where one may retreat to for a time. But there doesn’t seem to be as many opportunities or desires to escape from the world’s problems and just retreat into monasticism or spirituality. Now people are becoming more conscious of bringing a new awareness into the world through meditation. Paradoxically, instead of bringing a desire to retreat, meditation brings about a renewed connection or global empathy towards all. We are awakening to the fact that we are interconnected by virtue of our spirits to humanity all over the world. Meditation then, while enabling us to connect from a deeper place inside ourselves, is also at the same time enabling us to connect to a global empathetic response to the troubles of the world.
Discovering Jewish Meditation by Nan Fink Gefen is a reminder to all that meditation within the Jewish religion was an ancient spiritual practice and not just as is popularly believed, consigned to only the Hindu and Buddhist traditions.
Another example of interfaith meditation is Sufi Meditation by Lex Hixon who shows how meditation is used in traditional mystic Islam.
A true benefit of meditation is the ability to pause before one acts. Instead of reacting mindlessly to an external influence or stress, one realizes a stronger sense of the self that does not wish to engage in harmful reactions. In the past it was always thought that one should be able to express anger and that somehow would reduce stress. I remember reading that the true way to cure ulcers was to express your feelings of anger or dislike to whomever you considered a problem. That was really quite wrong advice. Now as serious meditators we are taught to look within for the solution of our problems with relationships and other matters.
Meditation teaches one to take responsibility and cultivate compassion, and more than that, to be not afraid of taking responsibility. Jean Yves Leloup in his book Compassion and Meditation speaks of awakening spirituality through the love of Jesus and the compassion of Buddha.
The benefit of meditation is that one feels an ever- increasing and emerging strong sense of self. Through meditation one develops a keen awareness of that non-reactive state and is able to see one’s emotions through meditation as if they are actors watching a movie in which they are the main actors and therefore responsible in a more profound way for the way the movie ends. Unlike fundamentalism, which feels that if one does not ascribe to the so-called truths of the Bible, one would lose one’s morality. One finds this to be far from the truth with meditation. When one becomes a serious meditator, one is given the gift of tuning into an ever-present and deep morality, not bound by conventional strictures of a religious belief, but a morality that springs forth by virtue of one’s connection to one’s Self or Spirit. This is the true religion to which meditators aspire. We have heard of stories of people struck by disastrous diseases who through their immobility caused by their diseases were forced to go inside and reconnect with that wisdom which told them what their body needed. Many surprising anecdotal stories of miraculous healings have occurred in this manner. It seems that a number of people who were limited by their doctor’s diagnoses were forced to bypass almost their everyday belief in the doctor’s wisdom to find their own. The body’s wisdom is waiting to be re-awakened through meditation and when one becomes quiet enough, the Soul is waiting to speak.
Lastly, in meditation, there really is no higher or lower self. There is just the Self, which wait with its divine wisdom for us to hear what it has been trying to convey to us through our lives. Meditation is the voice of the free self, unencumbered by conventional thought and desires and speaks the true desire of the spirit.
The Meditation Kit Traditional Tools to Awaken the Soul is for both the novice and experienced practitioner of meditation. It comes equipped with a sandalwood mala, incense holder, bell, tilak, 4-track CD, sacred water holder and 28-page instruction booklet. This kit, together with a Meditation Pillow Cushion, will bring an ease and comfort to your meditation practice, no matter where you travel or reside.
Remember, the best way to heal the world is to heal our own spirit and to bring peace to wherever we are. OM NAMAH SHANTIH KI JAI!
Visit Ma’s India to find other meditation products that will help you in your practice.
by: Mas India