Health benefits of meditation - body and mind
“Nothing can be as rich
As the silence of the heart.“
–Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 15
5:50 am. Eyes blink. Rays peak through the curtains. And as I turn and reach for the alarm clock I feel the thunder in my head. An instantly demoralizing feeling of expanding, glowing pressure encaged behind my forehead. “What a start!” Next is the routined motion towards the battle seasoned package of pain killers and another hour of hopeful sleep.
My personal history with headaches goes back to early childhood days. They would appear several times a week. Sometimes a spirit-lifting walk through nature followed by some recreative sleep would solve the problem but on other occasions it would last for a very wearing week.
It’s not just physical
At one point I read something in a newspaper which was the first part of a bigger breakthrough in my understanding of health problems. There was an article saying that 90% of all the issues patients go to a doctor with actually have a mental component. 90! Unfortunatly, it wasn’t saying to what extent the patients mentality influenced their ailments but I awoke to the fact that what we carry in our minds also forms our physical condition. So what is physical suffering? If so much of it is mental, is health also a choice? Even inner health?
“It’s all just thoughts“
One day a friend of mine invited me to come over to his place to distract me from another headache. I hesitated but went. His mother also happened to be there and as she saw me she asked about my well-being. I said that my head was torturing me but other than that I was fine. She looked at me very closely and intensly, then she emphaticly said “It is all just thoughts”.
I was perplexed. In my mind I tried but struggled to form an explanation of my history with this burden, but frankly, the power of her words were stronger than my pain. She finished the silence by a nod and my friend started to talk about something else. But I was captured by a feeling that what she said was simply true. For the rest of that day I felt a bit shaken and unmasked but also incredibly relieved and intrigued and most importantly: the headache was gone! Later I heard that for decades she was one of the very closest disciples of a Chinese meditation master. Going beyond projections, thoughts and their conditionings torwards the very depth of her heart formed the ever-guiding principle of her spirituality.
“What do you want?
I want good health.
Meditate on a vegetable garden.
Meditate on a dancing child.”
–Sri Chinmoy, from the book Meditate On
Pain, what now?
From then on whenever I got headaches or any kind of discomfort I called it a distraction, tried to focus and expand inner, deeper harmony and let the distraction fade to the state of background noise. Or, as meditation master Sri Chinmoy might put it, I tried to identify with my own higher self. Sometimes it works out well enough to navigate through my day but usually I simply forget my burden.
“Right! I was in pain!“ I admit, it always helps but not always 100% at the touch of a button but nonetheless it is simple. And honestly, I do not mind that the meditative effect for the physical varies a little, because each time I am applying the described method I am getting in contact with something very beautiful und fulfilling. And this is the most important part. It always feels as if at least for a moment I am growing into a happier and lighter version of myself. And in the nature of this state I automatically allow the subtle life energy to flow freely and to harmonize all the little and not so little tensions of mine step by step. The deeper I can let this process take place the more things are promising for my outer state. This is the pathway of all benefits of meditation, including the health benefit.
A practical exercise
If that resonates with you, here is a simple technique:
While you are letting the music surround you, go through the following steps.
*First breathe calmly and focus for a brief moment on the body and let all tension leave. Relax your hands and limbs. Relax your neck, your upper body, your head. Breathe.
*Next is to calm the mind. Let thoughts become distant birds crossing the sky without leaving traces. Withdraw any importance from the thoughts.. Treat yourself to a little place between the hectic times and the tense spaces. All tension is being let go. Here and now.
*Now bring all attention to the center of your chest.
*Embrace and enjoy the harmony of it.
*It spreads. Let it slowly fill your whole body.
*Feel your whole being getting enlighted.
*Experience an expansion of peace.
*Stay there for as long as possible.
The mind rightfully calls God “energy”
The health benefits of meditation actually have a most simple base. Science is saying that atoms consist of no less than 99.999% of emptiness! So all those laws and discoveries are actually based on “nothing“! The legendary physics pioneer Albert Einstein though, saw the pretty much 100% as something much more valuable than nothing. He viewed it as energy (see picture above). And that can be called the big bridge between the scientific and the spiritual world.
“Silence is nothing short of
–Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 37
Everything is a higher energy
I asked dozens of people what God is to them and I probably got the same amount of different answers. “Love“, “Light“, “transpersonal Harmony“ and many, many more. But everybody agrees that the synonym that is the easiest to grasp is energy. And energy is never static, it is dynamic. A spiritual term often used to describe the state of energy is “vibrating”. Omnipresent and if you look around, it’s omnipotent, too. You can also see it like an endlessly positive and progressing river. Powerful and gentle at the same time. The question is not if it exists, for we consist of nothing else but this very energy. The question is are we ready to consciously embrace this truth and include this reality in our lives.