Clarity, peace, heightened compassion, stronger immune system, quality sleep, confidence, happy relationships, heightened intellect, emotional stability, focus, happiness and increased intuition.
Meditation is the practice of internal balance and when we have balance we have peace.
Meditation occurs by cultivating an alert and focused mind whilst the body and senses completely relax. It is often practiced sitting in a comfortable, upright position whilst the mind is concentrating on a point of focus, such as observing the motion of the breath or a mantra. Scientific studies have shown that when we practice meditation on a regular basis the part of our brain that keep us calm (Frontal Cortex) gets physically bigger and the part that contributes to stress (Hyper Thalamus) reduces in size.
Meditation practitioners claim that they have more clarity, feel calmer, happier and it appears that they are able to gain more control over their lives.
Mindfulness is meditation in motion. It is essentially about becoming more present in our daily lives.
It has been observed by philosophers and gurus alike that the only moment that truly exists is the present moment. We cause unnecessary stress having our minds jumping from past, present and future events, ending up torn with worry between life's episodes tainting our perspective of what is really happening. Mindfulness is about looking at what is really there with a fresh outlook without the hangovers from the past or dwelling on the future.
By letting go of unhelpful belief systems we aim to establish a more beneficial or positive outlook into the future.
In the west today we have found ourselves living in a society full of demands, expectations and media overload. Many people have become ill with worry and stress related illnesses or are simply dissatisfied with their life. A simple solution is to take a leaf off the Buddha tree and decide to construct our own ‘mindfulness practice'.
Meditation practice is so ancient it is difficult to establish how and when it began. There is talk that it came about through the Vedas and Hindus in the North of India around 1500 BCE, although traditionally it has been practiced by religions and spiritual people throughout the whole of Asia. Buddha and the bodhisattva are accountable for spreading the word.
The story of Buddha (around 450 BCE)
Buddha was a Hindu Prince who grew up in a confined paradise. Throughout his childhood he was never able to leave the palace walls and was only exposed to a life of privilege and complete luxury. When Buddha came of age and he was expected to marry, he decided that in order to be worthy of such an honour and to position himself as the future king, he had to know what life was about beyond the palace walls.
So Buddha climbed up the palace wall and took a look over the top. To his shock and horror all he could see was people suffering, living in poverty, sickness and misery. He insisted that he must leave the palace and find out more about reality. Faced with more of the same, he took himself off into the depths of the forest and sat under a tree and practiced meditation for many years. He underwent a process looking for answers as to how all beings can become free of suffering. When he became enlightened he presented the teachings of 'Dharma' and Meditation. The Dharma teachings are how to recover ourselves from inevitable suffering and gaining permanent happiness, and Meditation is how to obtain internal balance, clarity and peace.