Meditation: An Investment in Yourself
In our busy professional and personal lifestyles we often find ourselves under pressure to meet deadlines, attend lengthy stressful meetings and fulfill the ever-growing expectations of others. Although we may not be aware of it until it has grown to dangerous levels, all of these outside demands on our time cause stress. Everyone has some level of stress in his or her life. Even a happy carefree person, at some time will experience situations that are stressful. Meditation is a valuable tool for finding a peaceful oasis of relaxation and stress relief in our demanding, fast-paced world.
When meditation is mentioned some may visualize a serene aged man sitting cross-legged in deep concentration on a pile of pillows. Although this picture may be true in some areas of the world, it is now common to find top-level executives, company managers and yuppies taking classes and enjoying the benefits of meditation. Corporations are realizing that after arranging meditation classes for their staff, that they have reduced stress levels, are less irritable, more focused, more productive and happier over all. Because of the fast-paced schedules of the modern lifestyle, meditation is quickly becoming an essential key to a healthy lifestyle.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a technique or practice that allows you to deconcentrate and relax. The mind is an amazing organ. Our minds are always thinking; even in sleep the mind is working through our dreams. The mind never rests. However, with meditation, we can learn how to slow the mind down and relax it to such a level that your mind has a chance to rest.
In times of stress and serious illness people are constantly worried. This worry puts pressure on our minds and bodies. These two factors can lead to more illness and ever increasing levels of stress. Meditation allows the physical problems in our body to heal themselves through correct breathing and mind set.
Ms. Manju Kishinchand, a senior instructor with Yayasan Seni Kehidupan (Art of Living) and Javana Spa, on Mount Salak south of Bogor, explains, "Meditation is extremely easy to practice once a professional teacher has instructed you. It is important to learn from a qualified instructor because although it seems easy, if not done correctly you could be missing out on all the benefits that meditation has to offer. Apart from the most common goal of meditation, stress relief, it can also aid in balancing emotions, developing intuition, unlocking creativity, exploring higher realities and increased alertness. Perhaps the most important reason to learn meditation is your health. Mediation brings you to an awareness of what you are doing to your body, improves your mental state of being and makes you a happier person”. A recent article published in the “Indian Times”, offered scientific evidence that meditation could also help cure depression and alcoholism.
As Manju explained, our bodies must breath. A human can last for long periods without food and for shorter periods without water, however we can survive only minutes without taking a breath. Even though we unconsciously perform this simple function from birth, most people utilize only 30% of their lung capacity. This limits the amount of oxygen and energy that we supply to our body and therefore deprives it of functioning at full capacity. Without these basic raw materials our bodies struggle to rebuild and heal. Meditation increases the flow of oxygen and energy levels back into the body and its immune system, strengthens it and keeps it healthy.
Meditation can be practiced almost anywhere. You could be meditative on a bus, in a park, or even at the office on your lunch hour. It does not matter where you are, if you have a spare five minutes you can meditate. Most experts agree that it is best to meditate early in the morning and then again in the late afternoon. Just 20 minutes of meditation anytime during the day will offer great health benefits.
If possible, choose a place that is soothing and peaceful and meditate in the same place every day. Some people like to burn incense while meditating. Although clean air is the most beneficial to breathe, incense can help some people achieve relaxation and provide a pleasant aroma in the room. Soft, relaxing music can also be played while meditating. With the use of soft or rhythmic music we are able to focus on something that does not need intense concentration. Music enables us to slow down our thought processes, which is one of the goals of meditation. Even though there may be benefits to using incense and music to set the mood, they should not develop into a crutch or a necessity.
It is suggested that you should sit on a soft mat or pillow on the floor. Some people will be more comfortable with a slight back support. This is fine and should be used if needed. With your eyes partially or fully closed, basic meditation will enable you to focus on breathing correctly and becoming aware of the rhythm of your body. Through this directed focus concentrations of anger, anxieties and worries get flushed out of your system. Your body and mind will feel totally relaxed, yet energized.
The possibilities of personal experiences during meditating are limitless. They range from extraordinary to ordinary; from blissful to boring; from peaceful to disturbing; from astounding insight to incredible nonsense. There may be periods of no thought and periods of intense thoughts; you may feel energy flowing or energy blocked; you may feel tired and sleepy or quite alert. All of these experiences are correct and perfectly normal. Sleep is the lowest form of meditation, so basically everyone does some form of meditation even if they are unaware of it. The point is to accept whatever occurs in meditation.
On the other hand you should avoid trying to force something to happen. The goal is to relax the mind and erase unwanted thoughts. Meditation is so natural to human beings that with some practice and the right teacher it is not difficult for anyone to learn. It is not necessary to put too much emphasis on “doing it right”. Experts will tell you that the perfect way to meditate does not exit.
Meditation has been described as a trend. But with the continual presence of stress in our lives this effective and simple relaxation and stress relief method becomes an essential part of our day. Inside each one of us is a strong, wise and loving individual that is capable of dealing with and healing any negative situation we are facing. Meditation lets us listen to our natural body language, and emphasize and use the great qualities that are already there.
Sincere thanks to Ms. Manju Kishinchand of the Art of Living and Ms. Endah Sucupto of Javana Spa who shared their expertise for this article.
The Art of Living
The Art of Living Foundation is an international nonprofit educational, charitable, and humanitarian foundation. Organized by a group of volunteers and dedicated staff from various cultures, ages, backgrounds and religions, their classes are inspired by the Sudarshan Kriya breathing techniques developed by Sri Ravi Shankar.
The Art of Living holds 6-day courses at their facilities in Sunter but will also arrange classes for groups in other locations . For more information on how the Art of Living can offer you immediate and tangible health benefits contact them today.
Art of Living Center
(Yayasan Seni Kehidupan)
Jl. Danau Indah Raya Blok A1 No. 2
Sunter Podomoro, Jakarta Utara
Tel. (021) 651-3123
Fax (021) 651-3124
Located near the summit of Mountain Salak, 90 minutes drive south of Jakarta, Javana Spa has been called the only “total spa destination” in Indonesia. Other facilities throughout Indonesia offer daily spa treatments or programs, but only Javana Spa offers its clients a total package program including menus, classes, adventures, treatments and massages that are customized to the individual client. Based on a questionnaire filled out on arrival, Javana Spa customizes a schedule based on individual client's requests, health condition and fitness abilities.
on 123 hectares of beautiful mountain rainforest with a facility that
covers 23 hectares, it is easy to see why Javana Spa is a favorite getaway
destination within the expat community.
Javana Spa offers yoga and meditation classes, providing a great introduction to their benefits. Programs at the spa range from overnight getaway to a full two-week rejuvenation program. For more information contact Javana Spa.
Plaza Bisnis Kemang Building II
Jl. Kemang Raya No. 2
Kemang, Jakarta 12730
Tel. (62-21) 719-8327, 719-8328