Read more about meditation and its benefits in this article by Wendy Van Mieghem, European Certified Psychotherapist, writer and teacher. Wendy offers Inspiration & Tools for Conscious Living with her postcards, books, online courses, webinars and a certified education.
What is meditation?
There are a lot of different views and opinions about what meditation is. You can find ideas on meditation in almost every religion and spiritual school; varying from Christianity (praying) to Tibetan Buddhism or Hinduism.
As a teacher and psychotherapist, I work on a daily base with meditation and mindfulness. I developed a vision on working with meditation that stands apart from (and is easy to integrate in any) religion. In this article I’d like to share with you my view on meditation.
To meditate means to draw your attention inwards. Meditation is a state of being in which you think constructively. You use your thoughts to focus your attention. Attention follows thoughts.
Even though the goal of meditation may differ per opinion, spiritual school or religion, there is consensus on two things:
- meditation helps to find rest and relaxation
- meditation is a great tool to stimulate your process of inner growth
Meditation has a positive effect on your whole well-being. On a physical level, meditation helps to:
- lower your heartbeat
- lower your stress
- lower your blood pressure
- improve the interaction between the left- and right brain hemisphere
- fall asleep more easily
- feel more fit and energetic
- increase the awarenes of your body
On a psychological level, meditation may support you in finding your inner balance and relaxation. That is, as long as you keep your goals realistic. Other benefits of meditation on a psychological level are:
- feeling good
- lower anxiety and stress levels
- less intensive depression symptoms
- more self-knowledge
- higher level of well-being and happiness
- improved ability to concentrate
- improved working memory
Meditation may help to gain more insight in the thought-, behaviour- and emotional patterns you’ve built throughout your life. This insight might encourage you to want to get to know some of the blocked or unknown aspects of yourself that nevertheless influence your daily life.
Perhaps you’re not aware of it, but every human consists of energy. On an energetic level meditation helps you to find and restore your inner balance as well. This is called ‘self-healing‘. Meditation activates the natural ability to recover. This natural recover ability brings the attention you give yourself through meditation automatically (and for you at times unconsciously) to those areas in your system where it is needed the most.
On an energetic level, meditation supports you:
- in your personal development
- to build, deepen and maintain the contact with your feelings and thoughts
- to become more aware of what it is you do and do not need in daily life
- to find inner peace
It takes effort
Meditation brings you a lot of good things. And I feel it is very worthwhile to give yourself attention in this way. Yet I do like to make two notes:
- Meditation asks a lot of exercise in the long term: every day half an hour or twice a week an hour. It is not difficult, but it is also not a ‘trick’ that is easy to learn. This may be frustrating, especially when you’re experiencing a desperate moment. It may be hard then to keep the faith and to continue your road in order to reach your goal. In the beginning, to meditate for 10 minutes is quite a lot! Get used to this first, and then slowly expand the amount of time you meditate.
- Everyone who learns to meditate, sooner or later discovers that the road to relaxation and fulfillment is different from what we expected it to be. In our daily lives we’re used to go from A to B. The outcome and workings of meditation are certainly less directive and predictable.
So, meditation always works; but perhaps not directly in the area you focus on or in the way you expect. It is necessary to learn to understand the feedback your system is giving you. Sometimes we may be so focused to reach a goal, that we do not dare to be satisfied with the first steps on our road towards the realization of it.
Practise meditation and mindfulness in your own pace
I am happy to be able to offer you a unique opportunity to practise your meditation and mindfulness skills in your own pace. Spiritual Psychology Basics is an online course with 8 hours of timeless wisdom that covers the how-to-meditate basics and supports you in your process of inner growth step-by-step. It also enables advanced practitioners of meditation to refine and deepen their skills.
Wendy Van Mieghem, psychologist, sociologist and teacher