Meditation has become a hot topic in recent years, partly due to lifestyle gurus who swear by it. I’ve been practicing meditation for a little over a decade now, and while I haven’t always been great at maintaining a daily practice, I still aim to get in at least 1-3 sessions per week. From personal experience, I can definitely say that it has helped improve my overall wellbeing.
Over time, I’ve noticed that I have a better grip on stress levels whenever I do stay consistent with my meditation practice. I feel more focused while working on projects, less bothered by little annoyances of everyday life, and more self-aware of personal tendencies. I’m also able to maintain a positive mindset for longer periods of time.
As a plus, meditation has been one of the key components that have helped me make steady progress in my intuitive development, since stillness is essential for connecting and working with the Spirit realm.
Anyone can learn how to meditate, the most difficult part is probably getting started. Where to begin?
At the beginning, you can meditate for 5 minutes, then increase it to 10 minutes, and so on. You don’t need to meditate for a full hour to reap the benefits. Let your sessions slowly build up. If you start small, you’re more likely to have a sustainable meditation practice in the long-term.
Whether you’re new to meditation or you’ve been practicing it for many years, it always helps to understand the science behind it. Thus, I’ve decided to demystify the practice of daily meditation with scientifically proven research that emphasizes its effectiveness.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are many different types of meditations ranging from guided imagery to mindfulness, all with different purposes, but no matter which meditation style you explore, they all train your brain to focus your attention as well as become aware of when it wanders.
Scientists have been using modern technology such as fMRI scans to measure and understand the changes taking place in the brain during meditation.
When you meditate, your brain reduces the amount of information it usually processes. Beta brain waves decrease and Alpha/Theta brain waves increase, which is a primary indicator that your brain’s activity has slowed down, even after a single 20-minute meditation session.
A lot of scientific research has been done on two types of meditation; mindfulness meditation, which is when you focus on one particular mantra, image, object, etc. and constantly bring your attention back to the center whenever it drifts off; and open-monitoring meditation, which is the practice of paying close attention to everything going on in your surroundings without becoming involved. This second type of meditation increases creativity and paves the way for new original ideas to emerge.
The act of focusing your attention during meditation boosts concentration levels even when you’re not in a meditative state, its effects are long lasting and works just like training a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes.
The medial prefrontal cortex is a section of your brain that processes information relating to yourself and your experiences. The neural pathways from the physical sensation and fear centers of the brain to the medial prefrontal cortex are strongly connected.
When you experience fear or something upsetting, it offsets a chemical reaction in this part, making you feel threatened. This is also known as fight-or-flight mode which dates back to our human ancestors who needed this trait for survival. Clearly, this inherited trait is no longer useful in modern times.
Meditation weakens this neural connection. As a result, the brain doesn’t react as negatively to experiences that might have once sent your medial prefrontal cortex on overdrive, which can also lead to anxiety.
The more you weaken this connection, the more you reinforce the pathway between the Assessment Center (the part of your brain responsible for reasoning) and physical sensation and fear centers. In turn, when you experience negative sensations, it becomes much easier to view them from an objective perspective rather than react impulsively.
As you deepen your meditation practice, you learn to detach yourself from life’s dramas. You become an observer and are able to watch unpleasant experiences unfold without letting them consume you.
Those who meditate regularly have higher levels of compassion and empathy towards others. Strong emotional reactions to both positive and negative events are greatly diminished, even when they’re not meditating. The amygdala, the section of the brain that processes emotional stimuli, is responsible for this activity. During meditation, activity in this part of the brain decreases.
Meditation increases gray matter volume in the hippocampus and frontal areas of the brain, which leads to improved cognitive function, long-term emotional stability, and enhanced memory recall in everyday life.
On the spiritual side of things, meditation helps quiet your left brain, your rational mind, which can get in the way of tapping into Higher consciousness. Your left brain will always try to talk you into discarding any intuitive insight you may receive as just your imagination. This is how self-doubt creeps in, don’t give into it.
In order to tune into your Higher Self and the Spirit realm, your brain needs to transition from Beta brain wave state to Alpha/Theta State which can be achieved through meditation. Your mind chatter won’t go away on its own since this is your brain’s default state, so you need to consciously train it to switch gears. Stillness makes you more receptive to Spirit.
If you’re a beginner and commit to meditating daily for 30 days to see what kind of results you get, you might not feel like you’re making much progress at first. The first few sessions might feel uncomfortable and awkward. You’ll probably fidget, move around, scratch an itch, and have random passing thoughts. Don’t judge yourself, just release it all as it enters your awareness and come back to your center. You’ll be doing this frequently until you get the hang of it.
However, if you stick with it, you’ll begin to notice a positive shift in your demeanor. The mind chatter will die down. You’ll feel more energized during the week. You might even meet your Spirit Guides, experience energy sensations, feel immense peace, or obtain more clarity regarding a life situation.
Other days you won’t feel like meditating, your ego will get in the way, but do it anyway. Don’t become discouraged if one of your sessions is “uneventful”, this is completely normal. Some meditations will be more revealing than other ones. Remember that the purpose of meditation isn’t to feel sensations or wait for something mystical to happen.
Detach any expectations you may have about what you will or won’t achieve by meditating, regardless of whether your primary goal is to hone your intuition, improve cognitive function, or release negative behavior patterns.