Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty – Albert Einstein
When we talk about meditation, it’s inherent in us to give it religious coloring, but before we assign such labels, it’d be worth our while to understand the psychological benefits accrued over time with a sustained practice.
Meditation makes the mind more conscious about the day-to-day life we lead and it also puts us in touch with the mystical, the unknown and activates the imagination. This practice is common to many faiths like Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Baha’I faith and others and whether groups believe it is a form of prayer or it gives wisdom, none can deny or ignore the potency of this practice. Many indigenous traditions have learnt that meditation is the key to open up the mysteries of the brain, making the practitioner wiser thereby more compassionate.
What mysteries you ask?
Have you ever felt something deep within your gut (your gut is after-all your second brain!!!), like a force asking you to reconsider your decisions. Sometimes we get subtle gut-feelings and often they’re strong, like visions or flashes of insight, vivid renderings in dreams, meeting our ancestors, all these are signs and hints from our intuition. When we face obstacles, we need to decode and comprehend these signs as they often help in solving personal issues. This connection with synchronicity deepens with meditation and we listen to what the Higher Self has to say. The Higher Self teaches compassion, for one own self and for all of creation.
Scientists have discovered that meditation has a psycho-somatic benefit and in many cases, it also imparts spiritual benefits (like ancestor connections, psychic capabilities, healing attributes etc. etc.) and helps one manage the ego-driven personality. It gives us equanimity and fosters a sense of well-being and when we’re not operating solely from the ego, we tend to develop an attitude of gratitude. It makes us whole; it makes us compassionate.
A regular practice can build up to an enhanced conscious state of the mind which can have a direct impact in the cognitive performances of individuals as each meditation reveals layers of the hidden unconscious to the conscious mind. With such deep revelations, we grow exponentially in spirit and knowledge. As a technological culture, we are bombarded by an immense flow of information through Youtube and other social media.
This is the age of multi-tasking and we consider ourselves superhuman to do this when in fact we could not be more far removed from the truth! We’re no supermen and women, we’re overloaded zombies, addicted to caffeine and social stimuli(media!) that we can barely comprehend and catalogue because we’re experiencing information fatigue. Yes, that’s a real thing!
When we multi-task, we lose specific attention with regards to the task at hand and this inevitably affects our performances. Try this in the office. Watch your favorite movie and listen to your favorite track while writing your report or presentation. See what happens!
When our attention gets diverted or divided by multiple videos, posts, articles, ads, messages and Facetime, we lose focus and this can have a detrimental effect on our executional abilities. We’re so preoccupied with our phone at the dinner table that we miss out on interacting with our families who feel abandoned because of that phone in your hand and you’re too busy to even notice them or the effect your behavior has on them. This shows you’re disconnected from your family and addicted to technology.
If you think about it, attention skills are central to successful learning and implementation; it’s central to our interactions with other people and in our level of involvement with the world. Attentiveness is key!
How can we truly be attentive when our environs are pitfalls of distractions. To begin with, as we open our eyes and check our phones, we’re woken up with a sensory overload from the material world, so it’s best to never interact with technology till you’ve woken up with either a short meditation or self-affirmations. You can palm your eyes before you open them and then gaze into your palms for a few seconds. This will augur you into mindfulness and you’ll be able to accomplish so much more and also remain compassionate with yourself and others.
The practice of meditation is known to be effective for students as recent findings show that meditation is important in boosting sensitivity of the mind to stimulus and subsequent procession of information, which in layman’s terms translates to an expansion in the cognitive ability of the student to analyze their environment critically and objectively. Simply put, meditation helps our brains grow! Wisdom brings humility and humility fosters compassion.
What do we do all day?
Our worldly success largely depends on our ability to process information depending on our cognitive capabilities and then processing and storing it in a meaningful way. Ah, meaning!
A successful meditator knows that emotions are not like thoughts. Thoughts are in your head. But emotions arise because of embodiment in matter. You feel sad, angry, abandoned because you’re going through these situations in real time, they’re not concepts. Although it is entirely possible to also get affected by one’s thoughts and self-image. Mindfulness teaches you to discover yourself through the feelings and sensations that arise in your body. Don’t hold onto toxic baggage, release and purge. The mind’s turbulence is still.
Meditators perceive the world with more openness and compassion and why is that so? Compassion is a by-product of the individual’s mental awareness and sensitivity to the social stimuli, which is an important aspect of socialization. If everyone in society meditated regularly, we would collectively create a whole new world where war and strife would’ve lost their meanings.
We’ve lost all control of our minds and bodies as we’ve become more and more enmeshed in the quagmire of life. But now is the time to take back that control. Let us gain control of our minds, bodies and thought-processes by engaging with meditation. We’re taught to believe that we cannot change once we’ve reached a certain age, but that is not correct. We can take back control at any age, all we need to do is give up the self-limiting belief and assumption that we cannot control our minds and bodies, when in fact all we need to do is practice mindfulness. The thing with meditation is that with constant practice we can remove all psychological interruptions. It is invaluable when dealing with stress, anxiety and depression, the holy trinity of psychological illnesses.
Meditation acts as a psychophysiology mechanism, which opposes the stress mechanism; it results in the calming of the mind and body thus restoring relaxed mental status which is optimum for functionality and it also enhances the development of human attributes such as creativity, self-love, healthy interpersonal-relationships and empathy.
We need to inculcate self-empathy which is an integral component of human development and it creates a healthy space for wisdom, optimism and happiness and teaches us to nurture human relationships. What can be more beautiful!
The article has been authored by Tina Mukerji, a soul guide working with Astrology, Tarot, Psychism, Yoga, Tantra, Breathwork and Mantras. She works to discover the inherent archetypes, by studying astrological charts.