Meditation: Science vs. Spiritual

Meditation at its core is an exercise for focusing your mind to achieve a specific effect. It has been around for literally thousands of years; as such, so many people have brought their own amazing and unique contributions to it. You’ve probably heard of people using it to relax or achieve higher states of mind, but some mediations have even been proven to help you block out pain, fear, and even make everything taste like strawberries.  All that to say, there is no right way to do meditation, especially since it is an act of such a personal and spiritual nature. I am simply showing you a method I enjoy over the course of this series. 

woman facing lake with mountains in background

Before we even begin, however, I first want you to understand a few hallmarks of meditation and how they work: both scientifically and spiritually. That way, wherever you specifically fall on the spectrum of belief in all things spiritual you will still get something out of this. From a full-on skeptic to a big-time fan of new age, to somewhere in between; I am confident I can show you a meditation that will be of use to you.

Mindfulness

ScienceMindfulness is the ability to bring your conscious/attention to the present. Think of it as a soft reset for a computer; your brain needs to take the time to rest and just simply exist without judgment. Think of all the extra processes you put your mind through at any given hour: thinking about how best to do your next task at work, what you’re going to have for lunch, how much you want to go home; the list only piles up more when you consider people who aren’t neurotypical with things like racing thoughts, anxiety, depression, etc. only straining their minds further. It’s certainly easier said than done, and most of the thoughts I mentioned earlier are so normalized you probably don’t see them as an issue. But taking the time to give yourself a little break can make your mind all the more powerful.

SpiritualMindfulness brings you an inner peace that helps you focus your spirit to a purpose. Sitting still with yourself only helps you notice something as subtle as the energy that constantly flows through you often unnoticed in your daily life; the more you notice your spirit, the easier it will be to use. 

Breathing

Science – It evens your breathing, reducing stress and anxiety, lowering your blood pressure, and introducing a constant and consistent flow of to your brain so it will work at its best.

Spiritual – Air has many spiritual properties let alone benefits. It is a pure life given form, it’s what keeps you alive and well. Bringing said life to your body invigorates your being and blows away any latent negative energy hanging around.

Stimulating Your Nervous System/Chakras

ScienceA combination of suggestion and imagery are used with focus to bring attention to specific parts of the body in order to stimulate them. Say for example you bring a lot of your attention to your vocal cords in order to sing better: it’s not just that you are listening for a more “correct” sound, your nervous system is stimulating them thereby making it easier to change them accordingly.

SpiritualChakras are spiritual waypoints in your body where certain types of energy tend to congregate. Think of your spirit like a great river, with lakes and great bends along its path. Sometimes these areas can grow stagnant if newer, cleaner water doesn’t rush through to purify it. You will be taking in positive energy to cleanse out any negative energies that have gathered in your chakras.

Diagram of the central nervous system

Practice

Set aside some time and space where you won’t be disturbed. Sit down in a comfortable spot in the lotus position, or Indian style as some people call it:

man in meditative position

  1. Set a timer for 8 minutes and close your eyes. Breathe deeply through your nose, and out your mouth and continue to do so for the remainder of this mini session. Try to bring your mind to focus only on your breathing. Don’t beat yourself up if it wanders away from it: It’s natural for your thoughts to wander to other things if you’re not used to sitting still like this for extended periods of time; gently remind yourself to keep thinking only about your breathing air in, and out.
  2. Once your timer is up open your eyes. You should feel a subtle effect and concentration and calm to help you through the rest of your day.

I hope breaking this apart helped you to understand one of the world’s most tried and true methods of finding inner peace; or at the least, gave you a new tool to bring calm into your daily life. This is just the beginning of what I have to teach you, and maybe the beginning of your journey to finding inner peace.  Stay tuned for our second exciting step in the world of meditation in our next blog in the series.