I was contacted today by a blogger writing about meditation. He asked me, in my opinion, what the number one benefit of meditation is.
In my experience this would have to be is clarity of thought, even for those who feel that their mind fills with a million things as soon as they start to relax!
When we quieten the body and sit/lie still for a short while, the mind throws everything at us as it finally has our attention. Even though this feels like overload, and the opposite to relaxation, we are actually giving ourselves time to mentally and emotionally process everything we have experienced up until that point in our lives, both superficial and profound. We cannot relax and find a state of calm if we don't allow our million and one thoughts to process first.
Just like a computer processor gets overloaded when we run too many programmes, likewise our mind and body does too! Eventually, the more time we allow in our lives for this "processing" or meditation, the easier and quicker it is to find a peaceful state of being, with clarity of thought and clear direction for our lives.
We live in a world that is constantly demanding something from us, constant working, thinking, planning, worrying about what we have and don't have, but we are never taught how to cope with this lifestyle, and how our mind and body actually works. We are never taught the power of positive imagination, transporting the mind to a beautiful place of stillness.
I constantly meet people that are frustrated because they "can't meditate" as they criticise themselves for not being able to relax...and that in itself doesn't help!
What many people do not understand is that the brain has to process information before it can let go and calm itself. Therefore, if THAT happens whilst meditating, and your mind fills with thoughts, then that's a GOOD THING! Soon after there will be less thoughts to process and more space for the mind to relax. Do this a few times a week, and eventually this spills over into your conscious life, your day to day existence.
The build up of thoughts and feelings that were left unprocessed which caused your body to feel stress, gradually gets less, and you start to feel calmer.
We all know how it feels to have a problem “on our mind!” The more space you create by processing the masses of unimportant information your brain is bombarded with everyday, everything from the radio and TV to what you hear and see others doing, the more clarity of thought and peace you will have for those really important decisions that need your attention. Decisions don’t have to be stressful.
A sub note here would be, be careful what or who you expose your mind to. It doesn't take long for unimportant clutter to accumulate and it has to be processed sooner or later. You could be using your energy instead for creating wonderful things in your life.
My experience working as a Sound and Singing Therapist leads me to combine Sound and Meditation for people more and more. Therapeutic Sound distracts the left side of the brain that keeps us constantly busy and chatters away like a monkey! Sound Meditation helps us bypass the chatter by entraining (changing) our brain patterns to help us enter a meditative and calmer state, naturally. The left side of our brain can continue to process all that we need, but we are not aware of it. Instead of the mind filling with a million thoughts, it feels suspended in time, allowing the body to relax and heal if it needs.
A similar effect is created when we sing, which is why people often feel great after a singing session and why the ancient art of Toning is combined with meditation. See http://www.soundrelaxationcentre.com/sound-meditation.html for workshops on Toning and Sound Meditation.
Very often when I have finished a Sound Meditation class, people say they can’t believe they have been lying there for an hour, that instead it feels like 20 minutes. They feel time has literally altered its pace, and they feel calmer.
Anyone can access this type of relaxation. It’s not for the special few and it is not something that is ego lead. There is NO right or wrong. There just IS. If you find it harder at first, stick with it. Gradually the clouds break and the blue appears, and before you know it you have found a slice of inner peace, even if just for a moment. Next time, you will find more…..and the time after that a bit more, and....you know where I'm going with this..... :-)
Alexandra Rigazzi-Tarling, my journey into Singing and Sound for healing body, mind and spirit of all beings.