Group regular, Claire, has written a guest blog post this new years eve, aimed in particular at those who may be new to meditation and extolling its virtues:
Regardless of what spiritual beliefs that you may, or may not have, meditation has been shown by scientific research to have a positive effect on your well being. Emotionally, mentally and physically.
Research on Meditation: Meditation is shown to reduce heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety levels and it even changes the patterns of activity within the brain. All of these have positive effects on the body & contribute towards maintaining and regaining a healthy body, as well as a healthy mind.
If you’re going to make ONE new years resolution to improve the quality of your life, I recommend meditation.
I write this for those of you that may know little or nothing about meditation, so that, if you haven’t yet considered it as a positive habit to cultivate in 2011 that you might do so after reading this.
I first learned how to meditate in 1996, and have been on various different meditation courses, and read different books on the subject over the last almost 15 years. I’ve also practiced meditation, sometimes regularly, sometimes not so regularly and I’ve known many people who integrate meditation into their daily lives.
Why do they meditate? What are the benefits of meditation?
For me, the most important aspect is self awareness. Many people believe the aim of meditation is to have an “empty mind” to let go of the chattering thoughts, to discover pure bliss & peace. Although this certainly is an experience that many people who practice meditation have, it’s not necessarily something that most people experience every time they meditate, and for some it’s a rare or fleeting occurrence.
The trick to meditation is to be aware of one’s thoughts - recognising that we are not our mind, we are not our thoughts, but that our thoughts are only a part of who we are. Allowing the thoughts to go each time they arise, like we would allow muddy water in a glass to settle, rather than reaching in with our hands to separate the mud from the water.
I love the way Eckhart Tolle describes the fact that you are not your thoughts, and I recommend “The Power of Now” if you’d like some further reading on the subject.
In the mean time, Google your local meditation group, if you’re in London why not come along to the Open Meditation Group in Camden every Thursday, starting at 6.30pm. After a short introduction we sit in silence for 20 minutes and have tea and a chat afterwards, there is no charge to attend and you will be made very welcome.
Here’s wishing you a Happy, Healthy, Joyful and Prosperous 2011!!
If you would like to be a guest blogger on this site please get in touch. We welcome submissions from group regulars and others who would like to share, either poetry or prose.