The fast-paced times that we live in come with their own set of demands making us wrought with stress. External stimuli bombards the senses, be it outside our homes or inside it. Today even our minds are not spared, all thanks to the onslaught of social media. Recognizing the way it disturbs the mind, people are now increasingly turning to activities that help them to slow down, calm down and feel anchored within themselves instead of getting carried away by the compulsion to do more, achieve more and buy more. Meditation is one of the most recommended routes to finding one’s stillness.
Meditation can be defined as the act of focusing one’s awareness on their breath or a fixed object in order to achieve a state of thoughtlessness thereby inducing relaxation, calm and clarity of thought.
There are many techniques to meditate but they all dwell on the aspect of learning to overcome the mental clutter and getting to the source of all consciousness.
A sustained meditation practice can reap great results including a positive state of mind. This, in turn, is reflected in the form of good health as the cells in the body reciprocate through rejuvenation or the anabolic process of growth and repair which would have become even more active after meditation. This slows down the decaying or catabolic process.
A host of problems majorly caused by today’s lifestyle can be resolved through meditation. Long-time practitioners have noticed a marked reduction in anxiety, depression, high BP, high cholesterol and many more severe problems like insomnia and substance abuse.
Emotional equilibrium is achieved through meditation, with practitioners developing patience, compassion, love and forgiveness.
This experience, often called a spiritual one, has a scientific structure.
But before we get to that, one first has to understand the different states of the mind. These states are determined by the speed at which the brainwave signals flow. There are four predominant brainwave states or frequencies: Conscious or beta; sub-conscious or alpha; super conscious or theta and cosmic conscious or delta. The speed and frequency is measured in Hertz and an Electroencephalogram (EEG) machine is used to obtain the figures. The states are as follows: –
This is a state where one is fully aware of their surroundings and brainwave cycles are measured to be at 15 to 40 Hz (cycles per second). Increased cycles are attributed to stress. It could also mean overthinking resulting from the conscious mind being misguided or having a negative reaction to a situation.
This is a state which is highly useful for absorbing information. The brain is in a light state of relaxation, and operates in cycles between 9 and 14Hz, simultaneously showing predominance of partial conscious awareness and partial subconscious. Mild day-dreaming may occur in this state.
The conscious mind is almost always switched off in this state of deep relaxation. It is the subconscious that truly grows here as the person is more withdrawn from their surroundings. Brainwaves from 5 to 8Hz are noted.
This is a deeply relaxed state of sleep where the physical body supposedly experiences healing. Here, the sub-conscious is in operation. The brainwaves are slow at 1 to 4Hz. It is this state of mind that meditators associate with ‘Kundalini’.
Meditation: The Scientific Structure
At the Beta state one begins with breathing. The next step is Progressive Muscular Relaxation. This is followed by the Alpha state where the practitioner feels forgiveness, gratitude and unconditional love and is able to focus thoughts and deepen the meditation practice. At the Theta or Delta state, one is able to use the techniques of visualization, affirmation, thoughtlessness and a sense of unity with the universe.
A Simple Meditation Practice:
1) Switch off your mobile phone and make sure you do not have to converse with anyone during the meditation. Find a comfortable spot where you can sit or lie down for about 20 minutes.
2) Keep your hands in a relaxed position. Make sure the spine is straight but not tensed. Gently close your eyes.
3) Inhale, focus on your breath and exhale.
4) Repeat this cycle 6-9 times.
5) Stay focused on your breathing. Gradually, the mind will become quiet.
6) After a few minutes, bring your awareness back into the room- your body and then your consciousness.
7) Rub your palms together and press the heat to your eyelids. Gently open them.
8) You will feel rejuvenated and energetic.
Many a times people wonder as to why do they get negative results in spite of visualizing their goals. This happens when there is doubt about the goal materializing. Goal-setting affirmations are to be done in full faith that the universe is listening and reflecting what you send out. Negative thoughts and emotions act likewise, attracting people and circumstances of the same frequency. Change your signal and enjoy a peaceful state of mind!