Saturday, 21 February 2015
From Tulsa's Channel
Why do people meditate?
Improved health, improved performance, deepened creativity, deepened spirituality, decreased anger, curiosity, managing depression, reduced anxiety and fear, pain management, stress reduction.
Can anybody meditate?
Yes. No special skill or equipment is necessary.
Does meditation conflict with my Christian beliefs?
Not at all. Christians find that meditation is an excellent supplement to their spiritual practices. While Protestant Christians have lost sight of meditation, many Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians have maintained a tradition of meditation.
Here are some facts for Christians to consider:
-Christian meditation is rooted in the Bible and is directly mentioned twenty times.
-The Bible recommends meditation. "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10 (see also Joshua 1:8).
-Moses spent forty days meditating and fasting (exodus 24:18).
-Jesus went on a private forty-day silent retreat before starting his ministry (Luke 4:2)
Do I need a meditation teacher?
You can learn meditation on your own from books and videos. Along with those, a meditation teacher can greatly help you master the basics, refine the process, and eliminate mistakes.
Do I have to sit on the floor with my legs crossed?
No. The Buddha taught that meditation could be done sitting, standing, walking, and lying down.
Should I meditate with my eyes open or closed?
Meditation traditions vary on this question. Some say to keep the eyes closed to block out distraction. Others say to keep the eyes open to prevent drowsiness and sleepiness. Most people who begin meditation find it helpful to gently close the eyes. If you prefer to meditate with eyes open, then follow the Zen practice of sitting and facing a blank wall. This will keep visual distractions from weakening your meditation.
What do I do to keep from falling asleep during meditation?
When you're having trouble remaining awake during a meditation period, there are three things you can do:
1) Open your eyes and focus your sight on some object.
2) Reposition your body and sit more upright.
3) Stand up and meditate.
Is meditation what I think it is?
Yes and no, probably. It does entail quiet time with yourself, focus on breathing, and stillness, both mentally and physically. But there's no belief system, no chanting, and no dogma. You can wear whatever you want and do it wherever you're comfortable. But not while driving, because you have to close your eyes.
Why do I need to meditate?
Because if you're like most people, you are overworked and stressed out. "People wake up in the morning and go full charge until they sleep at night. Their automatic nervous system is going all day, which leads to what's called 'sympathetic overload,' " says Dr. George Kessler, an osteopath, attending physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and clinical instructor at Weill Cornell Medical College. "Testosterone goes down. Cholesterol goes up. The thyroid is affected." Kessler routinely recommends daily meditation for high blood pressure.
How, exactly, does it lower stress?
"For one thing, meditation lengthens telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that contain genes," says Kessler. "So when you have a genetic illness, to have the disease, you have to express that gene. For certain illnesses, the longer the telomeres are, the less likely you are to express it. For people who have high blood pressure, up to 80 percent of what we call central hypertension can be regulated and controlled by meditation. Anxiety attacks, panic attacks, autoimmune diseases like lupus, asthma — all can be helped by meditation. It's not a matter of mind over matter. It's a matter of the mind does matter. The body listens to the mind."
Does it take long?
Ten minutes a day. But you have to do it every day.
Do the benefits extend beyond those ten minutes?
"Meditation can put a stamp on your brain that remains active when you're not meditating," says Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist and the coauthor of Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment. "That is, there are physical, functional, metabolic changes that happen in the brain not only during the process of meditation, but remain residual after the process has been completed."
Brain cells used or affected in a certain way can affect the cells around them, forming what are called neural networks. "It's not just how does one nerve cell work but how does it get along and communicate with its neighbors?" says Perlmutter. "The changes we've seen on the brain scans of the individuals who meditate are observable manifestations of that process of forming new networks — of nerve cells joining to other nerve cells, which is by definition neuroplasticity. The more you watch bad things on television, or read the evening news about all the horrible things that are happening around you, the more your brain becomes a conduit for negativity. The corollary is also true. The more you decide to look at things in a positive way, the easier it will be to stay positive."
Do regular people do it, or just monks and women?
Jack Dorsey, cofounder of Twitter and Square, meditates. Jack Dorsey is a billionaire. In fact, a lot of successful men meditate. Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, has written about it. At least three editors at Esquire probably meditated today. "Meditation allows me to focus. It removes the clutter that interferes with the actual thought process," says Roger Berkowitz, CEO of Legal Sea Foods, which has thirty-two restaurants, four thousand employees, and revenues of more than $200 million. "Before, I could wrestle with a problem for a long time. After I started meditating, I could zero in on the solution almost instantaneously. So meditation doesn't make me smarter, but it helps me connect the dots faster. You see the problem clearly, and you see a solution clearly."
I have a lot on my mind. What if I can't concentrate?
Don't worry about it. You cannot mess this up. Thoughts will enter your mind (see "Thoughts I Hope Don't Creep into My Head While I'm Trying to Meditate," right), and that's okay. Meditation is the least stressful activity a man can engage in, and much cheaper than blood-pressure medication.