Meditation is commonly understood as deep concentration on any object. We all meditate in with varying degrees of ability and it would be difficult to survive in this world if this were not so. We need to have a certain amount of focus to accomplish our goals. Through concentration we gain knowledge of a subject. Our mind becomes like a lens and becomes focused on one object. By focusing more and more on this object and using different meditation techniques, we are able to see the true nature of the object. Apple have been falling from trees for a long time but it was Newton’s reflection and concentration on this fact that resulted in the formulation of the law of gravitation.
However in the Yoga and Vedanta philosophies meditation and concentration have two different meanings. Concentration can be associated with the Sanskrit word “Dharana” and is the beginning stages of meditation. When this concentration becomes effortless and continuous then it becomes meditation or “Dhyana”. In this state the mind is flowing continuously towards one object and the seen and the seer become one. The culmination of meditation is total absorption in the object of meditation. This is the ultimate goal of a yogi – “Samadhi.”
The mind is like a mirror and the impurities of the world dirty and sully the mirror. The world that we see and believe in, is reflected to us by this mirror, our mind; because this mirror is dirty and dusty, the reflection we see is distorted. We must cleanse and polish this mirror to see reality; this is achieved through spiritual disciplines and austerities, which include control of the senses and various forms of meditation. The human mind is known for its restlessness. The Buddha refers to it as the drunken monkey. Swami Vivekananda goes further and compares it to “A restless monkey that is not only drink with wine of desire but simultaneously stung by the scorpion of jealousy and overtaken by the demon of pride.
The Bhagavad Gita Says: “The man whose mind is not under his control has no Self-knowledge and no contemplation either. Without contemplation he can have no peace; and without peace, how can he have happiness.”
How exactly do meditation and yoga help with stress relief?
In today’s world yoga and stress relief are closely associated. How exactly do meditation and yoga help with stress relief? Our minds are built to receive rest and rejuvenation; this is vital for a balanced and healthy life. Fatigued minds, wander round and round in circles and are unable to rest and restore, even in sleep. In the English language, the word meditation is derived from the Latin word “Meditari” which derives from the same root as the word meaning “to heal”. The practice of meditation sets in motion a process that leads to the restoration of our well being – physical, mental and spiritual.
Humans are constantly allowing the life energy of their bodies, or prana to dissipate. This happens because our focus is constantly outwards – what car is your neighbor driving, what new phone has your colleague bought, what are others saying about me? If you begin to become aware of the flow of thoughts in your mind you will see that most of them are
negative and are about the outside world. Our minds become more and more attached to external activities; even in our sleep, our minds are restless. These over activated minds are prone to be stressed and yoga and meditation is the only solution for this stress. Meditation is a technique of withdrawing the mind so that it will receive rest and rejuvenation. As the mind moves inwards, less energy is wasted and we find ourselves feeling rejuvenated.
Yoga philosophy believes that are natural state is one of peace, bliss and joy. Meditation will help you control the mind and reach this state of mind.
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