The Quiet within the Storm

Meditation is a practice that has been with us for thousands of years.

It is defined, in its simplest form, as the intentional attention to the present moment.

Tantras, or scriptures from India, mention it over 5000 years ago.

Buddha, the most famous advocate of meditation, makes mention of this practice as far back as 500 B.C.

The benefits have been well documented over time.

Many attest to the overall sense of calmness, relaxation, clarity of mind and more.

Today, this practice is more structured and has a wide variety of techniques used for specific purposes.

To simplify though, all forms are divided into two categories:

1) Concentrative - An example of this form is Transcendental Meditation (TM).

This form focuses on one point, or a single image or sound.

It inevitably creates a sense of vacuum or stillness because of its redundancy.

Most individuals focus on their breathing, or the flicker of candlelight.

Many others, focus on a Mantra, such as the sound of Om.

This form is best practiced in a quiet space.

2) Mindful - This form does not have a focal point but rather, the focus is on being aware.

It's a practice whereby the individual intentionally remains a witness to his surroundings.

The person does not judge or quantify his environment.

Instead, the person observes the present moment including the sounds, smells, and images.

This form can be practiced in a quiet space, although many actually practice while walking their dog, or strolling in nature.

This form is best for individuals with some physical limitations.

For example, those who can not sit quietly for too long a time period.

Both forms of meditation, Concentrative and Mindful, are often facilitated by using breathing as a focal point.

Click here to learn about the physiology of breathing. Discover Home Remedies for Breathing.

This complete discipline is thought to work by affecting the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system.

The autonomic nervous system regulates many of our organs and muscles, as well as other vital functions such as heart rate, respiratory rate, etc.

The sympathetic nervous system regulates our "fight or flight" response.

In this state, a person may sweat profusely, have elevated blood pressure, and elevated heart rate and respiratory rate.

This can be a toxic state if it lingers or is not managed properly.

This discipline is believed to slow down this process.

The parasympathetic nervous system causes the heart rate and respiratory rate to slow down, inducing a calm state.

This discipline is believed to enhance this state of relaxation. Studies have shown this practice to be beneficial with various health problems:

*Depression *Pain *Anxiety *Stress *Insomnia *Physical and emotional symptoms stemming from chronic health problems

Search here to find tools and aids to teach and facilitate your TM experience.

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