They say that to pray is to speak to the divine, and to meditate is to listen to the divine. Both are mandatory for spiritual wellness.
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Engage your right brain with meditation
In The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, a book that explores the question of how and why the patriarchy formed at such a rapid rate and at such a scale, the author asserts that literacy caused a fundamental change in the human brain.
This changed caused human beings to function primarily from their left brains hemisphere (in order to read and write) and the soft skills in the right brain hemisphere diminished in the human consciousness.
This change in the human consciousness and the human brain has left us with the unbalanced world we have today. I believe that meditation is one of the keys to a spiritual shift in our culture that will bring balance to the masculine and the feminine.
This is because meditation is primarily involved with the ‘right brain’ approach to life, which is holistic rather than reductionist. In the Buddhist tradition the word ‘vipassana’ which can be translated as ‘deep seeing.’ This kind of Meditation is based on watching, waiting, listening, witnessing and allowing. Deep seeing is also related to the ancient spirit of ‘tantra’, which is based upon an all-embracing view of the universe (Gene Keys).
What is meditation?
It is a practice that transitions the brain from Beta or Alpha to the Theta State by focusing on the breath. As breaths become longer, brain waves begin to slow down and we go into a theta state.
It is a practice of becoming witness with our thoughts rather than identifying with them. As a result of meditation, the mind becomes quieter over time. When your mind is quiet from meditation you are more able to do what counts, choose where you put your attention, and become more aware of the tapes that auto play in your brain: those thoughts that are so well-ingrained you can’t help but think them.
Becoming a witness of your inner experience and your thoughts will support you in being able to control your mindset, thoughts, and reactiveness, which are essential for productivity and achieving your goals.
Science has proven that meditation has a host of mental health benefits.
- Reducing stress and blood pressure. In one study, 60 percent of meditators were able to reduce their blood pressure medication. That’s because when you relax, nitric oxide opens up your blood vessels.
- Improving concentration
- Slowing aging because it increases grey matter. People who meditate 40 minutes a day have thicker cortical walls. This improves muscle control, seeing, hearing, memory, concentration, emotions, and speech.
- Leads to neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to control thoughts and reactiveness.
- Increases the blood flow in your brain, and according to one neurophysiologist, “rewires the circuitry in your brain.” (Zen and the Brain)
- Meditation makes it much easier to focus and achieve flow, that feeling of being completely immersed and energized by something. It also allows you to procrastinate less, and get more done in the same amount of time.
- The practice has been even shown to boost students’ test scores (by 11% in one study)!
- Meditation helps your mind defragment your thoughts so you can make better sense of them, and step away from them to gain perspective.
Alternatives to sitting meditation
Women I work with often have a lot of resistance to meditation as part of their practice. Meditation is sort of like flossing or brushing your teeth. It’s essential for maintenance and self care, but it’s not enjoyable for everyone. We meditate because it keeps us spiritually and mentally healthy.
You can meditate in a variety of ways.
The classic way that you have probably tried is sitting meditation. It’s sitting with your eyes closed. The benefit of this is that since your eyes are closed, there is very little stimulus for your brain besides only witnessing your thoughts. Still if you are not a fan of sitting meditation, you can start out with something else like
Movement meditation can be in the form of dance, and the focus is on how your body feels with each movement. When you do a movement meditation, make sure every move you make is intentional, and really notice how every move feels.
Walking meditation is taking a walk mindfully. Much like a movement meditation, feel each step, from your heel to your toe. Keep your eyes downcast in order to block out extra stimuli. It works the best if you are walking in a quiet place like in nature or in a quiet neighborhood.
Guided meditation You can work with guided meditation if you are wanting to have a certain focus for your meditation. The voice of a guide can help guide your thoughts and keep your mind on track for the task at hand. This is a great option if you’re just starting out with becoming a witness to your mind’s thoughts. There are lots of guided meditations in the resource library.
Coloring – -Mindful and meditative Coloring books have become a trend for good reason- coloring allows the brain to relax, thoughts fall away, and we focus on what is happening in this moment. The secret ingredient to the meditative quality of creative activities is that there is a predictable result, and this is another reason why the brain can relax. This is a wonderful option if you feel the need to be “doing” something while you’re meditating.
Begin your practice with just five minutes today, and see how it evolves over time. You might even begin to like it!