Meditation is a major part of several religions all across the world. It is a sacred time of reflection that is often quiet and personal. Various exercises of the mind fall under the category of meditation. Each has its own purpose and benefits but all of them relax the mind and allow it to take a break from the busy world.
This is the type of meditation most people relate with religion. Prayer is to give one’s worries up to a deity or nature. It relieves stress by taking problems off of the mind. Prayer also helps run problems through the brain and sometimes the mouth, which helps you think about them. All religions have some form of prayer. They can be ritualistic like Hail Mary’s or free form like personal prayers and confessions.
Quieting the Mind
There is so much going on in the modern world. Busy working individuals need quiet time in their lives to help them concentrate. One of the simpler exercises in quieting the mind is to focus on breathing in and out. You can close your eyes or focus on a single object, but all of your thoughts should be on breathing. After mastering this, practice thinking about nothing and subconsciously take in stimuli with the five senses. This exercise is great practice on focus and concentration. It makes you more aware of your surroundings and promotes better brain control. It is also harder than it sounds.
This form of meditation is the opposite of problem-solving and quieting the mind as it is sort of like daydreaming. The individual allows the mind to wander and processes the stimuli it has taken in previously. Simply allow your mind to think about whatever it wants. Dream meditation stimulates the creative process and relieves stress fast. It can also be a way to problem solve subconsciously by taking the mind off of the problem. Just make sure you don’t fall asleep.
It is hard to think about solutions to hard problems during a stressful time. Meditating to solve problems is common practice in several cultures and religions. Some say prayer accomplishes the same thing. Meditation focuses on the problem by breaking it up into manageable pieces and finding a solution to each one. Having a notepad and a pen to write down the thought process is always helpful. Unlike problem solving with a group, there is no fear of judgment or criticism when meditation on a problem. You are also able to go at your own pace.
Self-help books are full of mantras for every personal problem a person could have. These include low self esteem, phobias, addictions, depression, and confidence issues. People have been known to lose weight through mantras. A mantra is simply a word or phrase you say to yourself repeatedly. Repetition is a big part of the memory process. It not only helps you remember the mantra but it tricks your brain into believing the mantra thereby eliminating negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. They are a great way prepare for a big meeting, but saying them out loud may demonstrate that you are not confident. Try to say them to yourself.
Not all religions use the same types of meditation and you do not have to be a part of a religion to meditate. Anyone can benefit from meditating for even just a few minutes. If you are not familiar with some of these meditation forms, give them a try. They may brighten your day or improve the quality of your wellbeing.