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  • Writer's pictureRennie Maguire

Why Meditate?

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

In the last decade or two, much has been written about the practice of meditation. Medical science embraces the wisdom that meditation is indeed a healthy discipline. In fact, research acknowledges that meditation, with its focus on the breath, particularly diaphragmatic breathing, has a tremendous impact on our physical health. Stress relief, lower blood pressure, increased vitality, emotional harmony and aid in digestion are just some of the benefits attributed to diaphragmatic breathing and meditation practice. It even slows the aging process.

The evolving discipline of Neuroscience contends that meditating on a regular basis can begin to change our brains, restoring some of the gray matter we’ve lost though our lives. As early as 2011, an

article in Newsweek titled, Can You Build a Better Brain, stated that, after exercise; The second form of overall mental training is meditation, which can increase the thickness of regions that control attention and process sensory signals from the outside world.” This change in in brain structure makes brain processes more efficient.

Given all this data, the question might be instead, why not meditate? But before we pursue the additional benefits of meditation, it may be helpful to define what meditation is. And conversely, what it’s not.

First, the “nots.” Meditation is not a prayer; it’s not a religion; it’s not hypnosis or mind control. Quite the opposite. In meditation, you are in charge. Progressing at your own pace, you learn to regulate your breathing and gently focus your attention. Meditation does not want to interfere with your life. Its purpose is to enhance it.

Meditation has been described in many ways but one of the best explanations is that meditation is an inner journey through silence to our ‘’center,” to our Spirit, to our True Self. As such, meditation is an exploration of who we really are. The vehicle for the journey, the magic carpet that carries us inward, is our breath.

Meditation smoothes our rough edges. It renews and restores harmony in our lives – if we let it, and if we practice. In the silence, we begin to notice our thoughts and feelings.

We begin to realize we are not our thoughts or feelings. We just notice, without judgment, and keep focusing on our breath. Meditation, then, helps us release some of the stress of “drama” in our daily life – and helps us see that this drama is a story line to which we become attached. Meditation helps us “unhook” from the drama. That alone is enough reason to meditate.

A little peace in our lives, just by sitting in silence every day for 10 or so minutes, watching one’s breath, certainly seems worth it. In the words of poet, Mary Oliver, “Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

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