Article by Chris Jones
Today, many people are discovering meditation as a tool to access their spirituality and to bring harmony and cohesion into their lives. The benefits of meditation are many, including improving clarity and focus; facilitating in centering oneself and assisting in the development of intuition. However one of the key reasons why meditation is taken up is to help bring inner peace, for which there is much empirical and experiential evidence to its success. It is the area of meditation and inner peace I would like to concentrate on in this article.
An exciting study on children and meditation has been carried out in the Australian State of Victoria by Monash University. Working with the students from two Primary Schools, who had been taken through a ten week ‘mindful meditation course’ they were able to conclude that it had a significant impact on their mental health.
The study which was published in the April issue of ‘Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, reported on an improvement in concentration, emotional control, socialisation skills and the ability to relax.
Teaching staff noted how much the children enjoyed meditation and that it focused and prepared them for the day ahead.
Eminent Political Journalist Candy Crowley told the Los Angeles Times of recent positive changes in her life, citing the taking up of meditation as being the ‘most significantly transforming.’
Two or three times a day Miss Crowley breaks from her demanding schedule with CNN to practice meditation. This has resulted in viewers and colleagues alike noticing that she is looking ‘slimmer, healthier, and a little more serene.’ She told the newspaper that she is feeling lighter in lots of ways now.
According to a recent report set up by the Mental Health Foundation, meditation therapy should be routinely available on the National Health Service to treat depression and to facilitate in combating the growing mental health problems in the UK. This would radically reduce the rapidly increas ing bill for drugs which are now considered to be ineffective in addressing recurring bouts of depression.
The Buddhist influenced Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy trains people to concentrate their thoughts rather than to allow them to be affected by more negative influences such as regret and worry.
A study carried out ten years ago indicated that amongst patients offered MBCT there was a relapse rate of 37% against 66% amongst those not offered it. A second study in 2004 was even more convincing. This time the relapse rates were recorded as 36% and 78%. A further study from last year confirmed these results.
To find out more about meditation, simply type meditation into google or consult a local directory to find out about meditation courses near you.
Here is a simple meditation that you can try.
1. Sit upright with your back supported. Ensure that your neck is not supported as this induces sleep.
2.Close your eyes, soften and relax each part of your body.
3. Breathe evenly through the nostrils and observe the inhale and exhale.
4. When thoughts arise notice them and gently return to observing your breath.
Be easy on yourself and avoid meditating for too long in the beginning. It is rather like physical exercise, build up gradually. For an absolute beginner five minutes at a time would be plenty long enough.
About the Author
Chris Jones is a researcher and writer of information on Spirituality and the Law of Attraction.
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