If there ever was a topic where there is significant confusion this is the topic of Meditation. it has become a ‘buzzword‘ in recent years, with more and more people talking about its benefits and incorporating it into their daily routine, even if they have little clue of what it actually means or how to do it. Despite its growing popularity, the term ‘Meditation’ is so broadly misused that it just feeds the generalised confusion. Each person seems to have their own interpretation of what meditation is and what it entails, and as a result, this simple technique that can have so many powerful benefits slips away from the people who need it most.
Despite the confusion surrounding ‘Meditation’, the good news is that meditation is relatively simple (although it does require some training), accessible to everyone and can be practiced in as little as two minutes per day. This is where this article comes in. We are going to demystify Meditation by learning what science has to say about Meditation, then explore its origins and objective, how it changed over time, and then I am going to teach you what you need to do to. Finally, the last section of this article is dedicated to helping you understand how you can tell if you are succeeding.
Why is Meditation important?
Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was one of the first scientists to examine the effects of meditation on the brain.
In her research, she reported: Our data shows changes in the brain after just eight weeks. We found differences in brain volume after eight weeks of practice. Some impacts have been proven:
- In the brain area related to mental wanderings and self-relevance.
- In the left hippocampus, which helps with learning, cognition, memory, and emotional regulation.
- The temporo-parietal junction, or TPJ, which is associated with empathy and compassion.
- An area of the brain called the Pons, where a large number of regulatory neurotransmitters are produced.
- The amygdala, responsible for the fight or flight feeling and also responsible for anxiety, fear, and stress in general, decreased in size in the group that underwent the mindfulness-based stress reduction program. The change in the amygdala also correlated with a reduction in stress levels.
Other scientists, such as Dr. Richard J. Davidson, have also conducted extensive research on the effects of mindfulness and meditation on the brain and body. He has found that regular mindfulness and meditation practice can lead to changes in brain activity patterns and promote emotional regulation, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve physical well-being.
Additionally, Dr. Britta K. Hölzel and her team have conducted multiple studies on the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. They have found that these practices can improve cognitive abilities, such as attention and focus, and reduce stress and anxiety. The studies also showed that mindfulness and meditation can have positive impacts on physical health, including reducing chronic pain and improving sleep quality.
These are just the tip of the iceberg where it comes to demonstrating the powerful effects of mindfulness and meditation on the brain and body. But more important than any of this is your own personal experience. What I would encourage you to do is to try out for a couple of weeks the exercise below. All you need is 1 minute in the morning, 1 minute at night…. then you can share your experience and how you feel.
Personally, my experience in training meditation for over 23 years has been amazing. It has allowed me to cope with tough challenges, helped me to have insights that led to many successful ventures and allowed me to draw satisfaction from the simple things in life, such as a ray of sunshine, the song of a bird or the feeling of the breeze on my skin. This is why I feel it is so important to educate and teach others about Meditation.
So what is meditation and where did it come from?
Meditation was first mentioned in very ancient scriptures in what is today India, the earliest mentions date back from 1500BCE. The original term was named dhyána. No doubt this had existed for much much longer, possibly in texts that have not survived time and certainly in oral teachings. In its origin, the objective of meditation was to stop the instabilities of the mind so that more subtle levels could be perceived. One of the best definitions I have encountered of meditation is “linear intuition”.In other words, the technique which allows you to gain access to your intuition at will.
From its humble, primitive, beginnings meditation started to be influenced by different cultural movements that swept the territory we refer to India today. We can find evidence in ancient texts that this technique was restricted, then incorporated into spiritual and religious practices, then diluted and adapted to Western culture, and finally muddled and commercialised in our app-fyed modern world. Any semblance of the original has been almost all lost.
Professor DeRose has been teaching for over 60 years and he has conducted exhaustive research to rescue this original, primitive, version, and the entire DeROSE Network of schools globally is committed to teach this original version. This is what I will share with you now.
So how do you meditate?
As the objective of meditation is to stop the instability of the mind, the way to achieve this result is through saturation. Saturation takes place when you give your mind a single task and maintain it on this task for a significant time. As your mind is saturated by this task its instabilities stop and you enter the state of meditation. In other words, all you need to do is to concentrate.
But, beware, this is not concentration like shown in TV and movies. This type of concentration is all about maintaining the focus of your mind on a single thing. Our Method teaches students two ways to train this process, concentrating on an image or on a sound.
Therefore, in order to achieve meditation you need to concentrate. You concentrate on a symbol, an image (I suggest one below, although there are thousands of possibilities here), or a sound (short, repetitive sounds are best). The concentration needs to be consistent for some time — for the purposes of this article this time can be as little as 1 minute in the morning and 1 minute at night. You may increase this time if you wish, but going beyond 5 minutes may be counterproductive.
This is it. This is the technique of meditation.
In order to make this technique more effective there are some other considerations you may wish to add. Especially for people who never have trained this before, there are more and more aids to improve this process. In a way, you could see every technique taught in the DeROSE Method as a support to help to increase your success rate in Meditation.
For the purposes of this article we are going to concentrate on some basic, but important, aids I will describe below.
Now it is time to experience this technique with a very short exercise.
First we need to be in a position which allows for comfort and which will help you to concentrate. So sit up on your chair or sofa, or better sit down on the floor with your legs crossed. For the remainder of this exercise try to inhale and exhale slowly and deeply using your nostrils exclusively.
Next, click on the image and make it full screen.
Observe this image for a few moments and then close your eyes. The imprint of the image should stay in your eyes allowing you to observe the image even with your eyes closed.
For the next minute simply focus on this image, without judgment and without analysis. Observe this image almost as if you were a two year old who is seeing it for the first time and contemplates this image.
Was it easy? Hard? Did your mind wander and wonder? Did you think of the bills you have to pay, of the temperature of the air or any other mundane thing? That was your mind trying to distract you. Don’t worry, stay disciplined and try again tomorrow. Training is the key. If you want to learn more about this or you want to talk about your experience just fill the form on your left and we can connect or click here.
How do you know if you are succeeding?
When you succeed at stopping the instabilities of your mind, when you meditate, there are some some interesting side effects that allow us to determine if you are successful or not. I dive deeper into this subject in courses and workshops but for now I want to draw your attention to one aspect.
This aspect is related to your perception of time. If you succeed at meditating the minute that you trained this technique will feel like it was much longer. In other words, you will sit to do the technique for one minute and at some point you are going to feel like you’ve been here too long and you have blown past the minute mark, only to open your eyes and notice that maybe only 15 or 30 seconds have actually gone by. When you have this experience you are meditating.
On the other hand, if the opposite is true… you feel like you spent 1 minute meditating but you open your eyes to find you have been meditating for much longer, then you are on the wrong path. If this is the case you are welcome to contact me and i can offer you some tips on how to reset the process so you can get back to the right path!