I have been practicing mindfulness meditation for over 30 years. I started in 1979 when I discovered that mindfulness meditation was a way to deal with anxiety. Since then, the simple act of closing my eyes and emptying my mind has completely transformed my life!
Not only has it helped me reduce fear and negative thinking, it cleared away many of the limiting beliefs and feelings of unworthiness and low self-esteem that prevented me from achieving the happiness and success I saw for myself.
Meditation awakened my creativity and inspiration. I became more focused and my thinking processes became more coherent. I began to realize that I could do anything I set my mind to and that I could face any challenge.
Meditation was instrumental in helping me become successful in business, real estate, audio engineering, song writing, teaching, public speaking, coaching and my 30-year successful relationship with my wife.
The Problem of The Mind
The mind is a powerful form of energy. It is designed to think and generate thought. If you feed it with knowledge, it repeats the same knowledge, over and over again. It is merely an object of perception — a mechanism.
The mind is often confused, fearful, agitated, rebellious, and subject to innumerable conditioned mindsets and automatic patterns. It disengages itself due to so much thinking, but you do not have to be a slave to your thoughts.
There’s nothing wrong with thinking – it’s when you get lost in the mind’s dysfunction that you become dislodged from the intuitive source of the mind.
If you have the tendency to continually ask questions, or if it refuses to quiet down, this is a sign that you may have become a slave to your mind, and that it is time to transcend the mind and emotions to get to that place of equanimity or silence.
Imagine a pendulum as it swings between two poles. Can you see how the power that makes the pendulum move rests at the center point in between the alternating swings? At the still point of your mind is the source of thought. At the source of the mind is where you find your true power.
Learning to meditate brings you to the still point between the gap between two thoughts and practicing mindfulness meditation is how you tune into your power.
What is Meditation?
Imagine a cloudless sky. This is your mind on mindfulness meditation. As you notice and observe your thinking mind and the thoughts or “clouds” that arise, you become aware of simply being. This heightens state of awareness is mindfulness meditation.
When the mind is silent, concentration is increased and you can experience inner peace in the midst of worldly turmoil.
I love the Anais Nin quote, “ You don’t see things as they are, you see things as YOU are.”
A regular practice of mindfulness meditation can help you embody your inner peace to the extent that it becomes so contagious that it spreads to your friends, family and planet.
Your Brain on Meditation
Researchers at Harvard Medical School used MRI technology on participants to monitor brain activity while they meditated.
The sections of the brain that lit up during mindfulness meditation were the sections of the brain in charge of the autonomic nervous system, which governs the functions in our bodies that we can’t control, such as digestion and blood pressure.
These are also the functions that are often compromised by stress. It makes sense, then, that modulating these functions would help ward off stress-related conditions such as heart disease, digestive problems and infertility.
Other research indicates that mindfulness meditation increases the size of the hippo-campus, the portion of the brain that controls learning and memory. It also decreases the density of the amygdala, the part of the brain that stores stress and anxiety.
Studies show how mindfulness meditation and mindfulness practice has success in enhancing mental agility and attention by changing brain structure and function so that brain processes are more efficient, the quality associated with higher intelligence.
Research at Harvard University has established that mindfulness meditation actually increases the pre-frontal cortex of your brain, the part of the brain responsible for positive emotions, and the production of neurotransmitters that help us feel happy and relaxed.
In addition, people who meditate show dramatic increases in “whole-brain thinking” and learning, providing far greater comprehension ability and dramatically increased retention of various types of data received.
More Benefits of Meditation
In a study, published in Psychosomatic Medicine, taught a randomized group of 90 cancer patients mindful mindfulness meditation. After seven weeks, those who had meditated reported that they were significantly less depressed, anxious, angry and confused than the control group, which hadn’t practiced mindfulness meditation.
The meditators also had more energy and fewer heart and gastrointestinal problems than did the other group.
Meditation can also boost your immune system.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that people who completed eight weeks of mindfulness meditation training produced more antibodies to a flu vaccine and showed signs of increased activity in brain areas related to positive emotion than people who didn’t meditate.
It is the nature of the mind to magnify small things and turn them into serious problems. The judging mind has a tendency to dwell on the minor faults of others resulting in conflicts.
This mindset is a common source of unhappiness and division for many humans. Adopting a mindfulness meditation practice allows us to see good qualities while minor faults seem unimportant.
Meditators are less angry, self-reflective and more loving. When you spend time with yourself in contemplation, you become aware that you are interconnected with others and that all humans want happiness and to suffer less.
You begin to see yourself in others, and you become more self-accepting and compassionate toward yourself.
Folks who practice mindfulness meditation find themselves adopting optimistic mindsets and are less depressed. They have fewer negative thoughts and show a decrease in chronic and acute anxiety.
Meditators are less reactive and have longer fuses. They exhibit reduced aggression, and less emotional agitation in response to experiences or situations.
There is a reduced reliance on prescribed and un-prescribed drugs, or alcohol. They are better able to cope with life’s circumstances and they enjoy better sleep.
Mindfulness is bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis, non-judgmentally, just as it is.
If we stop and look at the thoughts that go through our minds, we would find that many of our thoughts are in dealing with the past or future. We are either fearful or worried about what will happen in the future or we are ruminating about the past.
By dwelling on the past or future, we are unable to live in the present moment.
As the mind approaches a state referred to as, “least excitation,” the mind is no longer influenced by the obsessive mental state, from which worry and stress is generated. Instead, the mind is naturally absorbed in present moment awareness. As the mind deepens in this state of harmony, worry and stress cannot survive.
Meditation is about expansion of awareness. This probably has more value than anything else. When you clear your awareness, you expand your range of choices, make better decisions and gain a better understanding of your life’s purpose.
What The World Needs Now
When I look at the research and the sheer weight of all the benefits that one can realize through the simple act of closing your eyes, being still and quieting the mind – it becomes clear that it’s almost foolish not to meditate.
From the inside out, the practice of mindfulness meditation has completely galvanized my life. It has changed my emotional and psychological nature and freed my mind from limiting beliefs, negative mindsets, fear, anxiety, restlessness and mood swings.
It has made me more forgiving of myself and others. It has opened my heart and helped me find joy in appreciating the simplicity of life, and cultivate a real abiding happiness.
Meditation teaches us acceptance and to appreciate life just as it is; we learn to value our present circumstances.
If mindfulness meditation expands awareness, brings peace, patience and compassion, with less fear and more joy – these are worth bringing into the world. I believe that mindfulness meditation has the power to change everything and everyone, one mind at a time.
In our age of “Infobesity” and digital distraction, corporations and small business owners are looking for ways to help cope with our addiction to digital distraction. Focus is needed more than ever.
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