Image source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
Author: Article from our student – Maaike (Netherlands).
Meditation, a tool for transformation?
So is meditation a tool for transformation and what do you find by meditating? We are living in days where technology rules and a carrer and good appearance in wealth and beauty seems to be ruling. Everything is in a fast pace and the exterior rules. How important is it still to meditate and know ones inner self?
What is it really to meditate? And again how can this tool transforms us?
To know more about meditating we first need to start by explaining what the mind is. According to Swami Satyananda Saraswati;
Our subconscious and unconscious mind consists out of three layers, (1) the lower mind; responsible for activating and coordinating various activities, (2) the middle mind; which concerns itself with data in waking state and it analyses, compares and reaches conclusions from incoming data. And then there is the Higher mind (3); which is the realm of rational or intellectual thinking and the source of deeper knowledge.
Next to that there is the collective unconscious mind; in where we have records of our evolutionary past.Behind all these different parts of the mind is the self or the very core of existence.
When meditating we are able to take our consciousness to the different parts of the mind.
In this sense meditation can be utilized by everyone for mood control, to switch off negative states and replace them with states off well being.
Source: ‘Meditation from the Tantras’ by Swami Satyananda Saraswati;
But also science is coming by to study the effect that meditation can have on our lives.
Meditating can change your brain.
A study done by Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School did various studies of the brain on test groups meditating each day over longer period with an outcome of more positiveness and mindfulness and al ultimately possibility of changing your brain waves.
Meditation can increase your focus and concentration.
Another study shows that meditation, in this particular case open monitoring meditation, can reduce the grey matter density from in areas of the brain related with anxiety and stress. Meditators were more able to “attend moment-to-moment to the stream of stimuli to which they are exposed and less likely to ‘get stuck’ on any one stimulus. ”
Meditation can help reduce anxiety.
In a research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, 22 patients diagnosed with anxiety disorder or panic disorder were submitted to 3 months meditation and relaxation training. As a result, for 20 of those patients the effects of panic and anxiety had reduced substantially, and the changes were maintained at follow-up.
Source: American journal of psychiatry.
Meditation can change your brainwaves.
In a study with Tibetan Buddhist monks, conducted by neuroscientist Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin, it was found that novice meditators “showed a slight increase in gamma activity, but most monks showed extremely large increases of a sort that has never been reported before in the neuroscience literature”.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
In other words; being able to meditate and to visit the higher realms of the consciousness can lead to being able to actually alter your mind.
Our human mind has the tendency to always think or be drawn to the negative, but if you would have the power to consciously change this to positive you would do it right away.
And this is what meditation does in a kind of way. Through meditation you are able to silence the stream of thoughts, you will be able to silence the mind, you become master of your own mind and therefor will have all the power to decide how you want to perceive things.
It is not something done over night, but it has been suggested that even a short meditation every day can alter your mood in the right direction. But eventually becoming master of your own mind is something you need to learn and train, just like you do with all other things in life.
Leading us to the fact that when you control your mind in the end, it is you who decides the way you want to perceive things. Leading ultimately to transformation of the inner self. That’s a journey I definitely will be trying!