What are the benefits and misconceptions of Meditation?

Pray or meditate – just be still

Here we are, addressing perhaps a new take on meditation—a source for thousands and thousands of years for improving our emotional and spiritual wellbeing—along with its benefits and misconceptions.

For many of us the term “meditation” instantly transports us to news film footage of hippies smoking dope, dancing around like a whirling dervish with flowers in their hair, and standing with one leg pulled up to their knee, as if doing a Karate Kid Mr. Miyagi impression. In the 1960s there were the declarations, “Make love, not war,” and “If it feels good, do it.” Well, not so much any more when it comes to meditation. It doesn’t even have to include chanting, bells, incense, peppermint, or strawberry alarm clocks (Sorry, a boomer inside joke!).

Some may mentally replay the “pray” portion of the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love,” where Julia Roberts works so hard at quieting herself, focusing on clearing her mind. She is thinking so hard of clearing her mind that she clutters it with those very thoughts. Hey, I do it. Others do it. When I am in a quiet place of prayer and meditation, suddenly my mind will remind me of the e-mail I forgot to respond to, or the fact laundry is still not done. “No! No, I can’t think about that, I have to blank out my mind…” And so it goes.

What are the benefits and misconceptions of meditation? I defer to one of our top news reporters to give you that answer. ABC had an excellent report regarding findings of the value of meditation. Many of us would consider it “getting still before the Lord,” or intense quiet inner prayer. Call it what you will—meditation works. It contributes to mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. I hope you will watch the video of Diane Sawyer’s conversation and observation regarding the values of meditation. You might also look into the work of Rod Stryker, who is well known throughout the “meditation community.” I also find Dr. Wayne Dyer to be an excellent source of direction. Me, personally? If I need a fast fix of meditation, I grab my copy of “Prayers that Avail Much,” find the category that will be suit my need, read the chapter (they are only a few paragraphs each), close my eyes, inhale deeply, exhale slowly, and then just put myself in a thankful place—thankful for the day, for the moment, for the fact I woke up on top of the dirt today.

If we are seeking to find a place of center and balance, we should be open to getting our spiritual selves into alignment. Scripture tells us, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight…”

I think one of the biggest problems with Americans is the getting quiet part. That is easily where the benefits and misconceptions of meditation come in to play. We are basically an A-type personality society, and the vast majority of us find it difficult to turn our brains off, wind down and get centered. Maybe, with more meditation and less talking, we could make this a more peaceful planet by putting into action the words of the Christ, when He simply said, “Peace! Be still!” Or, as my Mama used to say, “Will you please get still and listen to me?” Getting still and listening will almost every instant bring us to a place of peace.

Listen to Carolyn’s interview with Cynthia Brennen, on “Help, Hope & Healing,” or visit her Everyday Health blog, Emotional Wellbeing.

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