For thousands of years, people have used meditation to move beyond mental and emotional turbulence into profound peace and expanded awareness. As scientific research reveals, when you meditate, your breathing slows, your blood pressure decreases, and your stress hormone levels fall. Even as your body is resting deeply in meditation, your mind is awake, though quiet. The term restful awareness captures the unique combination of physical relaxation and an alert yet calm mind.
The most important benefit of meditation is how it affects your daily life. When you end your meditation session, you take some of the stillness and calm with you as you move through your day. Therefore all of your thoughts, actions, and reactions are infused with a little more love and mindful attention. The result is a deeper appreciation and a profound awareness of the divine quality of existence.
What happens during meditation?
There is a common misconception that meditation is about forcing your mind to be perfectly quiet, getting rid of all thoughts. This myth leads many people to try meditating once or twice, then give up in frustration when they can’t stop the flood of thoughts.
In reality, noticing your mind’s constant activity is the first important step in meditation. As the Chopra Center’s co-founder David Simon often tells new meditators: “The thought that ‘I’m having thoughts’ may be the most important thought you ever thought, because before you had that thought, you may not have even known you were having thoughts. You probably thought you were your thoughts. “
When you cultivate a meditation practice, you start to notice that thoughts arise and fall away against a backdrop of pure consciousness. You get fleeting glimpses of the space between thoughts – the peaceful state sometimes referred to as “the gap.”
As you continue to meditate, your experience of the space between your thoughts expands, allowing you greater access to the unbounded awareness and silence within. In this state of pure presence, you begin to realize that you aren’t a skin-encapsulated ego-mind . . . that your true Self is eternal spirit.
There are countless ways to meditate, including focusing on the breath, visualization, and vipassana. The Chopra Center recommends and teaches the timeless practice of Primordial Sound Meditation – a natural and powerful process that’s also easy to learn.
Rooted in India’s Vedic tradition, Primordial Sound Meditation (PSM) is a mantra-based technique, which means that you silently repeat a specific mantra to access the peace and stillness within. When you learn Primordial Sound Meditation, you receive your own personal mantra based on the time and place of your birth. The Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California, offers instruction in Primordial Sound Meditation, and there are also Chopra-certified meditation teachers all around the world.
Find a Primordial Sound Meditation instructor in your hometown.
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