Meditation for Beginners
Posted in Nourishment for the Mind » Meditate on Saturday, March 27, 2010
I interviewed Roberta Lee, M.D., author of "The Superstress Solution" for a podcast (click 'Listen') and in her book she gives a very simple instruction on how to meditate. From her book....
For people with 'SuperStress', the greatest benefit of meditation is the way it allows the mind to reverse the physiological effects of the stress response. It ensures that you use oxygen more efficiently, and it diminshes the amount of cortisol produced by your adrenal glands and slows the rate at which your mind ages. Meditation has been scientifically shown to energize people who are sleep deprived, to improve concentration, and to strengthen the very structure of our brains as we age. It can restore your body to a calm state, encourage self-repair, and prevent new damage due to the physical effects of stress.
The three most popular approaches to meditation in the U.S.......
TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION. It originated in India and uses mantras (a word, sound, or phrase repeated silently) to prevent distracting thoughts from entering the mind. Meditators who engage in this practice are given a mantra by a teacher (or select their own) and repeat it while letting their minds drift naturally and effortlessly into a heightened state of awareness.
MINDFULNESS MEDITATION. It is rooted in the teachings of Buddhism and is based on the concept of awareness and total acceptance of the present. While meditating, you're directed to bring all your attention to the sensation of the flow of the breath in and out of the body. The goal is to focus attention on the present and the sensations you're feeling in that moment.
FOCUSED MEDITATION. It is just as it sounds. You focus intently on a single object as a way of staying present in the moment.
HOW TO MEDITATE
1. Find a quiet place and sit in a comfortable position. Progressively relax all the muscles in your body, and if it feels comfortable to you, close your eyes.
2. Choose a word, phrase, prayer, or object that has special meaning to you or makes you feel peaceful - or just concentrate on your breath.
3. Breathe slowly and naturally. Inhale through your nose then hold the inhalation a few seconds. Exhale through your mouth, again pausing for a few seconds at the bottom of your exhale. Silently say your word, phrase, or prayer as you exhale. Repeat.
4. As you finish, continue to focus on your breathing as you sit quietly. Becoming aware of where you are, slowly open your eyes and get up. (If you have to keep track of the time, try using an alarm or timer set on the lowest volume, so you don't have to keep looking at your watch or clock.)