In last month’s article, Take Care of Your Self Holistically, we discussed three elements of holistic care of yourself. Meditation is so crucial and intertwined with our life that we will discuss it in a series of two monthly articles; this is the first in the series of two articles.
Just as we get school and college education and learn pleasure and pain of our physical body while growing up, we need to learn stability, non-reactiveness and calmness of our mind from inner consciousness of our soul. Meditation gives us this control over our self which in turn enables us to eat well, exercise and face and embrace even the unpleasant or painful aspects of daily life. The stability and non-reactivity we develop through meditation elevates us to be more compassionate human beings, with pure non-reactive, non-judgmental presence with awareness of the present time in the present time. Meditation gives us the awareness of our thoughts which in turn enables us to disentangle ourselves from our habitual and toxic thoughts, words, and behaviors and connect with our experience, with ourselves, and with others in a healthier and detached way. Twenty three studies conducted in early 2000’s show that meditation is intimately linked to improvements of attentional functions, cognitive flexibility, working memory capacity and some executive functions. These improvements may lead to better grades in school, advancements in your career and better understanding and therefore relationships with family, friends and co-workers!
It is natural for our mind to wander frequently at all times. We are often lost in daydreams about the past or the future, completely oblivious of the present moment. Most of these mental distractions often produce stress, anxiety, fear, worry, and all sorts of emotional suffering. Similarly, have you noticed that sometimes you wake up in the morning all stressed out because of a bad dream? Daily practice of meditation develops our ability to pay attention to our present time – The Now Experience – helping us to overcome pre-occupations and attachments so that we can clearly see what is happening in our actual experience of the present moment. Instead of finding ourselves at the mercy of worry, fear, anger, bad dream and the like, we grow in our ability to choose how we want to act in situations, often in ways that might have been beyond our reach before.
Brahma Kumaris practices meditation with eyes open, being mindful and aware of our thoughts in the same way we practice homework examples of math and science. In meditation, we use Jyotirbindu, the point of light, as an object of awareness and focus. And soon after we focus on Jyotirbindu, all sorts of thoughts, feelings, and sensations are likely to distract our attention and we could find that we’ve forgotten all about Jyotirbindu and mentally moving along with these thoughts and feelings and ready to respond to sensations. When we realize we’ve been distracted, the appropriate response is to simply and gently return to awareness of our focus on Jyotirbindu. As for sensations, delay your response as much as possible. As you continue to practice meditation, you will gain enhanced control over localized (alpha rhythms in the primary somatosensory cortex where) sensations from different parts of body (are "mapped" by the brain). Thus you reach a stage when the sensation fizzles away without you needing to respond. In a newly published neurophysiological review, Brown University scientists propose that meditation enhances control of alpha rhythms and helps people overcome persistent stimuli such as depressive thoughts and chronic pain signals.
Practice meditation daily for a few minutes and gradually increase the meditation time to a fixed amount that suits your lifestyle. Meditation will enable you to get more out of your life than you ever imagined! When you teach your children tradition, culture and lessons of life, make Brahma Kumaris' value system, teaching and meditation a part of your teaching.