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Meditation, a golden silence

Silence has an anagram:license. I believe we need a license (called meditation) to practice silence.

What is meditation?

Silence has an anagram: license. Interesting, is it not? I believe, we need a license called meditation to practice silence. Meditation is a license, God has gifted us to practice silence, a process by which we can still the physical body, tame the monkey mind, heal the loving heart and energize the inner soul. Through meditation, we can self-help and self-heal ourselves from the day to day challenges of our stressful living.

Maslow'sTheory (41K)The word meditation has its origin from the French word meditacion meaning thought, reflection, study and the Latin word meditationem meaning a thinking over. As per the oxford dictionary, to meditate is to think deeply or focus one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation. Wikipedia describes meditation as a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.

As crown of all creation, man, with all his developed faculties, has the potential to reach the peaks of Self-realization and God realization. In 1943, Abraham Maslow in his paper "A theory of human motivation" listed the hierarchy of needs with self-actualization as man's top most need. In Christianity, this need is "Man know thyself". In the East, emphasis is on the Atman (Soul), the drop of God's ocean. In the West, scientists are daily conducting research in the areas of self-knowledge, knowledge that transcends the body and mind. Both spirituality and science tell us that to know the self, one needs to search God within one-self. We can know the truth, become non-violent, overcome our fears and strengthen our faith, only with the stillness of the mind. This is possible only when we meditate and practice daily silence.

Role of religion

Both in the east and the west, many people meditate in different forms that include breath meditation, transcendental meditation, light & sound meditation, chanting & repetition of the name of God, visual meditation and many more.

The Sanskrit word Yoga means to yoke or unite the soul (the real Self) with God (the higher Self). Yoga has two facets - Knowing (God) and Unknowing (material world). At the physical level, man is surrounded largely by the material world or Maya (sleeping - unknowing) and has forgotten his real identity as part of God. Lord Krishna in the holy Bhagavad Gita, mentions three ways to unite the soul with God: concentration on God, detachment from the material world and transcendence from the outer self to the inner self. Sitting in a quiet place, a Hindu follower recites holy mantras to focus his attention on God, thereby performing sound meditation while chanting the name of the Lord. Prayer beads are used at times to enhance the concentration level.

Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion teaches three things, one of which is Naam Japna. A Sikh does his daily Simran, sound meditation on the name of the Lord in the wee hours of the morning from 3am to 6am (known as Amritvela.) In Christianity, the Old Testament says "Be Still and know that I am God." A Christian follower meditates by the divine reading of the Bible and focusing his thoughts on the love of God. Meditation here gets related to four Latin terms lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio (i.e. read, ponder, pray, contemplate.)

As a path towards enlightenment (Nirvana) followers of Buddhism meditate daily through methods that develop mindfulness and concentration and include visualization. In Islam, meditation is interpreted as the remembrance of the name of God and involves breathing control and repetition of holy words.

Benefits of Meditation

Spiritual benefits
French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin proclaims us to be spiritual beings having a human experience and not human beings having a spiritual experience. Meditation helps us to connect with our real self and help us realize the truth beyond the body mind complex. Law of Karma or the principle of cause and effect states "As we sow, so shall we reap". Meditation helps us to keep a watch on our thoughts we think, the words we utter and the deeds we perform.

Health benefits
Meditation as medication is a preventive mechanism that keeps us away from dis-ease. A regular meditation of a few minutes helps us in coping with our negative emotions like anger, frustration, guilt, grief, fear, anxiety, depression, doubt, worry. Medical studies have proven that meditation can create a better hormonal balance thereby preventing alopecia (sudden hair loss), reducing blood pressure levels, preventing cancerous diseases, reducing heart ailments, curing migraines and increasing brain's processing power.

Mental benefits
Daily meditation improves our concentration and capabilities to focus our attention towards key activities in life. We are able to accomplish life's goals in a successful manner by focusing on one activity at a time. Meditation brings a balance in our work and life. Our performance, efficiency and productivity at work increase. Our attitude towards life is a positive and constructive one. Our relationships at home and outside with others are full of compassion. Our mind feels relaxed without any kind of tension.

Emotional benefits
Human beings are emotional. Positive emotions or joy givers are peaceful. Negative emotions or fun killers are disturbing. Emotions like affection, compassion, love, faith, happiness accelerate our life. Emotions like fear, worry, anxiety and sadness retard our life. A regular meditator is always a lover, never a hater. He is successfully able to bury the worry. Meditation in solitude brings in gratitude. Meditation in devotion unravels the mystic emotion.

Social benefits
A regular meditator forgives a truth fabricator. With the practice of daily meditation, we start to practice the mystic emotion. We begin to have love for all, oneness with all and compassion towards all. With selflessness, our hands do the task of service, with our heart aligned towards God, our unfailing companion. We begin to feel a state of unity with the entire creation. Nature, animals, birds now become a part of us and we, as human beings a part of them.

Practical Suggestions

  • Pray God to grant you the strength to meditate
  • Set aside some time to meditate every day. Try the eleven minute meditation rule. Meditate at the same time, same place. Increase meditation time gradually. Take the 40 day meditation challenge. Meditate as frequently and as regularly as possible.
  • Track progress using a meditation diary or meditation app meditate with a group, attend meditation retreats.
  • Review the behavior at home and work, on body, mind and soul, on health, relationships, attitude, reactions, communications, stress, risk handling capabilities.
  • Never be disappointed nor expect results overnight. Determine the form of meditation that suits you. Identify the challenges and ways to overcome them. Keep meditating. Never give up. Make meditation a habit.
  • Use meditation aids like a silent, peaceful, place, warm clothes, mats, pillows, alarm clock. Listen to soothing music before and after meditation. Read meditation books.
  • Maintain a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Tarun Karani
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