Sharpen Your Mind, Soothe Your Soul
When someone mentions meditation do you picture Buddhist Monks sitting in a temple, sitting on the floor with their eyes closed? That is a real good depiction, but it is what you can not see that is important. Meditation has a positive influence upon the brain. It promotes mental discipline and regular meditative practice can change the workings of the brain and allow people to achieve different levels of awareness.
It used to belief by scientists that connections among brain nerve cells were fixed early in life and did not change in adulthood. Through intense research and experimentation, that outdated belief is changing. A new term of "neuroplasticity" has been developed. This means that the brain is much more elastic and can be shaped and developed even past childhood, and that meditation is a way to do this.
How It Helps
So what can regular meditation do for you? There are different electrical waves that the brain gives off when performing different activities. Regular brain meditation regulates and increases gamma waves in the brain. These waves are associated with mental activities such as focus, memory, learning and consciousness. This ability is not only developed for the short term, but can have more long term positive effects as well.
In addition to the ability to focus and having increased memory, meditation has also been shown to have a positive affect on mood and emotions. People who meditate regularly report having more positive thoughts and having an overall feeling of happiness when compared to those that do not meditate.
How To Meditate
So what is meditation? In our normal state of mind we often are thinking about money, job, family, kids and many other thoughts. They come and go through our mind, just to be replaced with another thought. We shift to a state of concentration. If you are doing a specific task, taking a test, or doing something that requires we focus our attention, we are in a state of concentration. In this state of mind, you can become distracted and often have to bring your awareness back to the task. This is close to a meditative state, but not quite.
In a meditative state, you are concentrating on one thought. It can be anything. The difference is that your mind stays with that thought and is not broken or distracted. Your total consciousness becomes filled with that object. No other thought can intrude.
There are different forms of meditation. One common one is prayer. When a person is concentrating on God or some other holy idea or concept. They repeat this thought over and over until their mind slips into a meditative state. There are different types of Yoga that incorporate meditation. Some forms have you sit in a quite immobile way such as Zazen or Vipassana Yoga. Then there are some forms of meditation found in yoga that are mobile and include movements such as Siddha Yoga. There are forms that are less formal and include meditation in the accomplishment of daily activities.All of these techniques help to slow down and quiet the mind. This helps change the state of consciousness. It also stops the “mental movies” that are going through our minds in normal and concentration states of mind
Keep At It!
Whatever technique you use, you should find that after regular practice that your thought patterns and moods will begin to change. The outdated notion that our brain is stuck, has been replaced with the ancient practice of mediation and what Monks have known for years; brain meditation can help quiet the mind and bring joy to the soul.
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