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Meditation is the art of clearing the mind of all mundane thoughts, feelings and the general noise of day-to-day living. It is a state of relaxation and peace, a state where you can control what you deal with and which thoughts and feelings you allow to pass through your consciousness.
Usually during meditation the brain enters an altered state of consciousness - known as 'alpha' - a state also entered during deep relaxation and dreaming. In the alpha state the brain waves register at between eight and fourteen cycles. This is close to the background energy cycles of the Earth itself. It is in the alpha state that we are able to enter and explore the other planes of reality that include the astral and spiritual planes creating a situation where we are much more open and receptive to the energies that exist all around us, rather just those on the more commonly recognised physical plane.
Alpha is a state where we can expand into the vibrationary rates of the other planes of existence. Meditation is basically the means by which we gain access to the quantum reality; a greater sense of the breadth of reality than we are commonly aware of as a young adolescent, or even as an adult if we haven't looked or explored beyond the materialistic physical plane.
Brain Wave Activity
There are four different levels of brain wave activity and these four levels represent the stages of activity, which change as we go from being mentally alert to a relaxed state and then from sleep to deep, dreamless sleep.
Electroencephalography (EEG) is the study of changing electrical potential of the brain. According to their frequency, brain waves are divided into the following four main groups:
Beta:- 14hz plus
Although we operate in all these frequencies throughout the day, and various parts of the brain can and do operate at different frequencies all the time, we can assume a generalisation of the dominant frequencies. Although one frequency may be dominant, at a given time, depending on the activity of the individual, there will be still trace levels of the remaining three at all times.
Beta, 14hz +
Most adults are operation in this frequency when we are fully awake and alert. This is generally associated with left-brain thinking. The logical, critical, analytical thinking mind, the fully conscious mind. Associated with increased alertness.
Generally associated with right brain thinking or the subconscious mind. This is a relaxed state of day dreaming, also associated with accelerated learning. Children spend more time in the Alpha and Theta stage than adults, which probably explains their accelerated learning capabilities.
Deeply relaxed, dreaming, again associated with the subconscious mind, but the deeper subconscious that bring forth insights and bursts of creative ideas.
Generally associated with being unconscious, no thinking, a state of regeneration and rejuvenation. Also a state of super conscious in meditation, body asleep, mind awake.
When the brain is entrained to lower frequencies and awareness is maintained, a unique state of consciousness emerges. This is typical of people meditating, but what is also evident in deep meditation is the two hemispheres of the brain synchronize in frequency.
Music and meditation can be an ideal combination to take you into higher states of consciousness. Studies have also shown that vibrations of rhythmic sounds have a profound effect on brain frequency. In shaman traditions the periodic beating of a drum at 4.5 beats per second was the key to transporting the shaman to a higher consciousness. The Buddhists chants are designed for the same reason.
What are the physical benefits of Meditation?
Meditation has the effect of slowing respiration and decreasing the heart rate, thus lowering blood pressure. Because it creates a state of deep relaxation, meditation has several health benefits including strengthening the immune system and improving circulation, as well as increasing perceptual ability and decreasing anxiety. It is particularly effective in managing ailments aggravated by tension, eg: insomnia, pain, and breathing difficulties.
When you are tense, anxious or feeling out-of-kilter, you are usually not breathing fully, cutting off oxygen, which facilitates energy flow in the body, which in turn perpetuates further tension, anxiety etc. It is amazing what simply stopping and breathing will do to alleviate stress and create a clear mental and emotional atmosphere in which to proceed.
Breathing and visualisation go hand in hand. The brain cannot tell the difference between reality and visualization. We are stronger, physically and mentally, when we relax. If we concentrate on making ourselves larger than the illness, we are able to rise above the problem. If we focus on the illness, then we become enmeshed in the illness, if we focus on the desired outcome or the solution to our daily problems, then we become involved in that solution or outcome. We are able to move ourselves forward, mentally through meditative techniques.
Visualisation work during meditation is a vital element in improving your relaxation state, for healing & spiritual purposes or other intentions. Having mastered basic meditation techniques which may take months or even years - the next step is to start working on simple visualisations. Starting with creating simple images in your mind such as an image of a tree, or an apple, and gradually you can start building up quite complex images and actions.
To take the meditation one stage further, one can begin to develop concentration more by putting some words as the focus of the meditation on the sheet of paper. Repeat the words over and over and gradually concentrate fully on the meaning of the words, their significance and implications. Continue doing this until the meaning is clear and you find that you are no longer actually looking at the form of words themselves.
You will find that trying to rush meditation will lead to disappointment. It is something that you need to develop over a long time scale, but perseverance is the key. Benefits will be felt from the beginning, but the deeper revelations may take a little longer.
At the end of any meditation it is important to ensure that you are properly and fully grounded. Grounding is a way of ensuring that any excess energies that have been accessed through meditation are returned to the earth rather than left buzzing around ones system - it works in a similar fashion to a grounding wire in a electrical system. After bringing oneself out of the meditation, move your fingers, arms and legs. If you still feel ungrounded one can simply visualise excess energy flowing into the earth for a few moments. If this does not seem to be enough, then kneel on the floor and put your palms flat on the ground and do the same or simply go hug a tree. Eating and taking a drink can also help this process considerably.
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