This is the second of a three-part series on Mediation. The first blog covered original meditation as it was performed by Buddhists, and now we are going to learn about how the West has popularized meditation and how it has changed throughout the world.
The West is very good at changing authentic tradition so it can be useful for everyone. It tends to make it bigger and better, and with variety, so we all can make it our own. Meditation started to popularize in the West in the 1960’s and was introduced as Transcendental Meditation and Hatha Yoga. It wasn’t until 1979 that meditation started to take on a new form when Jon Kabat-Zinn from the University of Massachusetts developed an eight-week meditation class called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. This class was developed to help patients cope with living in chronic pain, but it was expanded to also help with stress. Science has studied the effects of meditation based on this class, and it has proven that there are many physical and emotional benefits. Studies from this class also show that 20 minutes a day of meditation for a two-week period changes the brain structure. The part of the brain impacted is the region that involves sharper memory, focus, attention and sensory. I personally took this eight-week class and consider it to be what has revolutionized meditation. As meditation continues to gain momentum with famous spiritual guru’s leading the way, the latest statistics are now showings 1 out of every 10 people have a regular mediation practice!
Meditation has grown around the world to be much more than just going within to find enlightenment. The following are what I call non-traditional styles of meditation or Westernized meditation.
Audio Meditation: This is similar to the original meditation performed by Buddhists, but is much easier to perform for longer periods of time. Instead of focusing on your breath, you simply listen to some form of relaxing sounds while sitting or lying in a quiet place. The idea is to mindfully listen to the sound so that you are not lost in thought. The sounds help you to “not think” by focusing your attention on the sound only. This type of meditation is excellent for anyone looking to reduce stress and slow down your thought process.
Another form of Audio Meditation that gives profound testimony and evidence to healing is listening to a certain type of music frequency. There are two primary frequencies that strongly resonate within the body and they are 432Hz and 528Hz. Specifically, the 432Hz resonates with healing and the 528Hz resonates with the frequency of love. Both have been known to heal at all levels. I personally experienced this healing first hand with the 432Hz frequency when I awoke one morning with a violent case of vertigo. After just 10 minutes of listening to this, I was able to pick myself up from the chair and move to the bed to rest comfortably! This is a type of meditation that I often recommend for both physical and emotional healing.
Guided Meditation: This involves someone guiding you toward a purpose or intention, and in my opinion is the most popular and widely used form of meditation today. It can be self-guided but most people prefer to sit back and be guided. The possibilities are endless and the availability of these meditations are free and plentiful. The most common instructional meditations are used for the following:
To help one connect more on a spiritual level.
To help obtain higher states of consciousness.
To aid in physical or emotional healing.
To help attract something into your life.
Spend some time searching and trying to find the one that is right for you because it is a proven fact that guided meditations pack powerful results!
A good meditation practice should embrace two principles and that is to “quiet the mind” and to “set intentions”. The authentic meditation of Buddhists is learning to “quiet the mind” while the West gives us added choices to set intentions and specific outcomes. Both methods of meditation continue to accel with the benefits we gain from scientific and spiritual perspectives. There may be a day that comes when a physician will prescribe you with meditation as a form of treatment!
The last of this three-part blog series will be called Mindfulness Meditation. This is a tool that can be used in the busiest of schedules, and it proves to stop the clutter going on in your head. If you find it hard to sit still or your thoughts are going lightening fast, then you will NOT want to miss this last blog!