Meditation can be defined as a process whereby a person controls his or her mind so that they achieve a state of calmness and clarity. Meditation is intended to give a person concentration and a certain control over one’s mind. In meditation, a person can control his thoughts and perceive only those thoughts that are important and keep away thoughts that are distractive or unhealthy. Meditation is also purposed to help a person gain control over their lives and become more conscious of the inner self. Meditation is also used to enhance creativity and ability to learn. Through meditation, a person clears the mind and opens up more space for new things. This is why meditation is recommended for students. Meditation is also intended to release tension and fear in a quiet way that leads to relaxation. A person can release past traumatic emotions through meditation. This is possible for people like rape victims, people struggling to deal with the loss of a loved one and victims of horrible car accidents. By tapping into their memories, they can release the pain that they harbor in their hearts.
There are two main categories of meditation are based on the technique used. These are insight meditation and concentration meditation. Firstly, insight meditation teaches a person how to focus on one thing or a certain spot to achieve full concentration. In practicing insight meditation, a person gets into mind practices that give calmness through focused attention and reflection. This can be done while sitting or even walking. At first, a person is required to focus his attention on the body by relaxing and becoming aware of the different sensations of the body. Full concentration can be achieved through the help of breathing techniques. By following the rhythm of each breath, a person is able to calm the mind and keep it from wandering to different thoughts that keep on arising. In addition, a person can achieve full concentration by reciting mantras or singing repetitive songs. When the mind is fully calm, reflection is the next step. This is whereby; a person becomes aware of the mind and observes what is going on in it without interfering. An insight meditation process should last at least fifteen minutes.
The second category is called restful or mindfulness meditation. This kind of meditation is aimed at achieving a state of mind that is calm and aware. A person releases all the distractions that thoughts bring. It is noted that while trying to calm the mind, many thoughts may come but the ability to remove one’s attention from them is important. The similarity with insightful meditation is that a person can use breathing exercises as a way of gaining concentration and calmness. In this state, a person acts as an outside observer of the mind. Without being judgmental to any of the mental images, a person gets to observe keenly the happenings of the mind. A person is not required to avoid or discard the thoughts that come, but to examine the mind quietly. This meditation practice creates a state where the mind is totally at rest without giving attention to the daily concerns. It takes time to achieve the deeper states of meditation and sometimes the help of an instructor should be sought. Results may not be immediate but with time and practice, a person can see and feel changes caused by meditation.
Meditation has different effects on the mind and body and varies from person to person. People who practice meditation regularly have a higher concentration span than those who do not. They also tend to have a better memory and react in a calmer way to different situations. Emotionally, people who meditate are stable and can control their emotions easily. Recent studies have also shown that people who meditate have improved immunity against diseases. Besides, they are less likely to be stressed or depressed. Meditation can also help to alleviate pain in all kinds of patients and is helpful for people suffering from high blood pressure and heart problems. It is also recommended for people with tense muscles as it relaxes them. Doctors advise their patients to take up meditation as a healing practice. Meditation also reduces the symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome in women. It has also been discovered that it helps better milk flow in breastfeeding mothers by reducing anxiety and improving blood flow. Meditation helps to improve blood circulation and digestion. It is also advisable to practice meditation with the help of an instructor. This is especially important for beginners to avoid negative side effects. Some people have been found to experience phases of confusion or dizziness after prolonged periods of uninstructed meditation. This usually happens when a person allows their thoughts to roam widely.
The insightful technique of meditation appeals to me most. I have been practicing it twice a day for three days. The first time before I meditated, I felt anxious because I did not know what to expect. I was worried that I would not be able to settle and achieve at least some sense of calmness. After the first session, I still felt a little anxious because there had been numerous distractions from my thoughts. The following days I could not wait to start because I had seen progress. After fifteen minutes of meditation, I feel calm and rested. I also feel very relaxed and can focus on issues that I had found difficult earlier. In the morning, meditation helps me focus and approach the day in a calm way. In the evening, the immediate feeling after meditation is a drowsy feeling. After a few minutes, I feel very sleepy and I sleep deeply soon afterwards. The numerous nightmares that I usually had are no more and I wake up feeling well rested. Over the three-day period, I have learnt that the more I meditate the easier it becomes to achieve calmness. The first day was characterized by numerous interruptions but by the third day, I found it easy to ignore these. I have also noted that I have better moods and can relax easily. Besides, I can focus on a specific thing without getting distracted, thus can finish tasks easily. The experience was interesting and I will continue with the practice. Though I have never meditated before, the whole exercise was beneficial to me and it is should be encouraged.