Meditation as of today comprises and manifests the very core of every effort, religion and faith. Meditation- a concept initiated and heralded by the eastern theological philosophy finds its roots in the Hindu sacred scriptures “Vedas” dating back to 1500 B.C. popularly termed as “Dhyana” in Hindu mythology; it has multiple connotations according to application in varied situations. It means, to pay attention, meditate, remember, recollect, etc. This concept was immediately embraced by the neighbors - Taoist China and Buddhist Tibet. It was thereafter that the other religions also learnt and adapted the concept sans their eastern trappings, per their theological compatibility. With the passage of time meditation acquired a prominent and compulsive feature of every religious sect.
In traditional parlance “Meditation” is a discipline or practice in which person systematically concentrates his mind or attention for inducing a state of consciousness for the attainment of spiritual salvation. However with time the concept of “meditation” underwent refinements and research and its ambit expanded from the realms of spirituality to its inclusion for the betterment of the human fiber of life. The modern day concept of “Mediation” has factored into its ambit a plethora of aspects such as relaxation, wellness, booting internal energy, generosity, compassion, love, patience and forgiveness. It has become a powerful tool for de-stressing and accelerating the sense of wellness of the human psyche.
Meditation-Its types and methods
To put it very simply, meditation – as per its usage can be broadly categorized into religious (spiritual) and non religious (wellness). Meditation with spiritual orientation is compartmentalized to a particular segment of society which pursues it for the intrinsic purpose of furthering their religious faiths and belief, whereas mediation for non religious purposes has acquired the status of the common man’s stress buster. Today its rampant peddling and commercialization has undergone such a high decibel sales pitch that the concentration of subject’s glory has paled to pittance.
Modern day materialism and high octane lifestyles have bereft human lives of ecstasy and exuberance thereby substituted it with trauma, stress, depression, disease and disorders. Social scientists and engineers along with religious sector preachers mooted the concept of deploying meditation engineering as a tool to nullify the impact inflicted on human lives by scorching pace of technology and development. Its mapping was
Anxiety --> Distress --> Depression --> Disorder --> Disease --> Pain
The human brain triggered this personality disintegration and had to nurtured for the purpose of attaining equilibrium. Under the meditative philosophy the man was trained to control the mind instead of the mind which controls the man under normal conditions. With this clearly chalked out the social engineers devised a meditative strategy with a dual orientation.
1. Meditation for the control and resolution of anxiety.
2. Meditation for the control and resolution of pain.
With the initial and end fields defined it became much convenient to control the intermediate variables. Meditative techniques of the various religions were analyzed for ascertaining the therapeutic qualities they provided and adopted as inputs for the resolution of these mental ailments. In view of the above these were classified into
· Concentration Meditation – basically focusing to control the mind by eliminating the negative thoughts and concentrating on personal wellness. Techniques include i) Zen Meditation ii) Transcendental Meditation iii) Om Meditation iv) Shrine Meditation v) Chakra Meditation.
· Reflective Meditation – It is basically an introspective meditation which concentrates on the various aspects of oneself by initiating queries such as i) Who ii) What iii) How iv) Why.
· Mindfulness Meditation – Popularly called “self healing process” trains to treat your thoughts as temporary sensations and help you control your impulses towards them. Techniques include i) Mindful Eating ii) Mindful Breathing iii) Vipasana Meditation iv) Walking Meditation v) Sitting Meditation vi) Deep Breathing Meditation vii) Body Scan Meditation viii) Visualization Meditation.
· Heart-Centered Meditation – Popularly known as “heart chakra meditation”, helps in the resolution of mental negatives by opening up the heart chakra. It is a vital technique.
· Creative Meditation – Helps by strengthening the various wellness faculties of the mind such as joy, happiness, fearlessness, empathy, patience, love, gratitude, etc.
The process of meditating is pretty simple enough as it does not involve any gadgets or implements besides being practically hands free. The process of meditating involves
· Choose a peaceful and serene environment.
· Wear comfortable attire.
· Pre determine the duration you intend to meditate.
· Tone your body by doing some light stretch outs.
· Sit in a comfortable posture.
· Close your eyes or maintain a soft gaze, with your tongue touching the roof of your mouth.
· Ensure tranquility and maintain silence.
· Concentrate and focus.
· Breathe normally and count it for initiating focus.
· Don’t stop but avoid thoughts.
· Let go of emotions – avoid them as well.
· Smile mildly and enjoy the persistent peace generated by creating a mental void.
Meditation - contribution to human wellness
Once a person learns to control his mind, it is easier for him to focus on good aspects and avoid occurrences, thoughts and incidents which are the root cause of anxiety and the subsequent ills. A healthy and virtuous person is one who is anxiety free and the transformation accomplished by the meditative disciplining of the mental faculties reverberates from his personality. The multi dimensional wellness factors accruing to an individual and his society can be in the following forms –
With the individual’s personality
· Shapes a stable and balanced personality.
· Builds self confidence.
· Helps control one’s thoughts.
· Increases emotional stability.
· Helps in improving relationships.
· Heightens intelligence growth rate.
· Improves listening skills and empathy.
· Develops emotional maturity.
· Helps make accurate judgments.
With the individual’s spirituality
· Deeper understanding of oneself and others.
· Helps learn forgiveness.
· Alters attitude towards life.
· Heightened compassion.
· Infuses peace of mind and happiness.
· In-depth spiritual relaxation.
· Creates a broad spectrum of love.
· Completely dissolves ego.
· Inculcates wisdom.
· Attains inner awakening.
With the individual’s health
· Reduces blood pressure.
· Reduces attacks of anxiety by reducing bold lactate levels.
· Enhances the immune system.
· Reduces cholesterol levels, and risk of cardiovascular disease.
· Retards the ageing process.
· Greater orderliness of brain functioning.
· Reduced need for medical care.
· Significant relief from asthma.
· Helps in weight loss.
· Helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis, etc.
With the individual’s society
· Induces impeccable social conduct and behavior.
· Helps in quitting smoking and alcohol addiction.
· Reduces dependency on drugs, pills and pharmaceuticals.
· Develops greater tolerance.
· Abhorrence to road rage.
· Increased sense of responsibility.
· Non aggressiveness.
· Enhanced productivity.
· Increase in the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones.