Written by Mita Majumdar, M.Sc. | 
Medically Reviewed by dr. reeja tharu, M.Phil.,Ph.D on Jun 14, 2018

Why Do We Meditate?

We meditate to discover our inner self, the real ‘I’. In the process of self discovery, meditating helps us grow personally, and brings us emotional and physically benefits too.

Meditation is, perhaps, one of the most inexpensive and universal lifestyle choice we can make to keep ourselves well and positive. Our lifestyle constantly instills negative energy into us. Negative emotions like jealousy, fear, anxiety, hatred, anger, hostility, or even apathy, are fueled by the underlying fear of unknown, something we feel we can’t deal with, and the fear of being harmed or hurt. We become unhappy with our life and look for ways to cope with this feeling. Meditation is one way of coping with tension and getting out of this awful state of disorder.

What is meditation? Why do we need to meditate? Meditation is a very personal thing. Its meaning and purpose varies from person to person. It can be defined as a devotional exercise of, or leading to, contemplation of spiritual matters especially as a religious practice.

Meditation

In other words, meditation is a discovery of self. Again, it can be defined in medical terms as a ‘self directed practice for relaxing the body and calming the mind’. Be it a yogi or a doctor, everyone agrees that even five minutes of meditation can get us through the whole day without stress and negative emotions. But is that the only reason for meditation? The answer is a frantic “no”!

Some people meditate to simply calm the mind and create a peaceful state of being. For others it could mean escaping from the stressed environment related to lifestyle. Still others meditate to become one with the Higher Consciousness or the Infinity. It is a spiritual awakening for them. Many of us meditate to keep ourselves well and to free ourselves from chronic diseases that are directly or indirectly related to stress.

Practicing meditation on a regular basis can improve your quality of life. It can reduce lifestyle related chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels, stress and anxiety, and many other conditions as well. Apart from these benefits, meditation may help you cope with psychological and emotional problems.

Sri Swami Venkatesananda rightly points out, “The most important thing in meditation is not to try to solve the outside problem, but to taste the present mood of peace and joy and happiness that is flowing inside. Then when you come out you are able to face this problem”.

References:

  1. Slagter H. A., et al. Mental training affects distribution of limited brain resources. PLOS Biology, June 2007.
  2. Bormann JE, Carrico AW. Increases in positive reappraisal coping during a group-based mantram intervention mediate sustained reductions in anger in HIV-positive persons. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 2009;16(1):74—80.
  3. Nidich SI, Rainforth MV, Haaga DAF, et al. A randomized controlled trial on effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping in young adults. American Journal of Hypertension. Dec 2009;22(12):1326–1331.
  4. Bonadonna R. Meditation''s impact on chronic illness. Holist Nurs Pract. 2003 Nov-Dec;17(6):309-19.
  5. Bacci Ingrid and Richman Meryle. Fibromyalgia and the Sympathetic Nervous System. Advance News Magazine for Physical Therapists & PT Assistants. February 18, 2002, Vol. 13 . Issue 4. Page 33
  6. Meditation and Brain Function: A Review - (http://www.eubios.info/EJ141/ej141j.htm)
  7. Effect of Compassion Meditation on Neuroendocrine, Innate Immune and Behavioral Responses to Psychosocial Stress - (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2695992/)
  8. Lutz A, Brefczynski-Lewis J, Johnstone T, et al. Regulation of the neural circuitry of emotion by compassion meditation: effects of meditative expertise. PLoS ONE [online journal], March 2008. Accessed on May 28, 2008.

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