Questions and Answers Page 3
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QUESTION ABOUT MEDITATION AND STRESS REDUCTION:
I'm writing an article for Men's Health magazine about stress relief and I was hoping you could help. Here are some questions: How does mindfulness meditation physically relieve stress? In other words, what goes on in the body during mindfulness? Does it reduce the production of stress hormones? Does it decrease blood pressure? Why and how does it work to relieve stress?
Mindfulness Meditation - as well as other methods of meditation - reduces stress in a number of ways, although the entire process is interconnected.
First, the deep relaxation of body and mind allows the body's muscles to let go of tension, and the mind's "muscles" to release the negatively charged energies of accumulated stress. This also gives the nervous system a break from its constant rapid-fire mode.
Yes, the blood pressure is lowered, and the release of stress hormones are decreased. This is largely due to the relaxation of the fight or flight mechanism centered in the cerebellum.
At a deeper level of this process is the expansion of consciousness, in a very literal sense. Expansion equates with relaxation and release, while contraction equals tension and holding. Energy follows consciousness, so when consciousness expands in meditation, the entire body-mind system follows suit, letting go of both surface and deeply rooted stress.
As mindfulness develops in meditation, the practitioner begins to bring a greater degree of the calm mindful state into daily life, which is a major key to stress prevention.
QUESTION ABOUT LEARNING TO MEDITATE ONLINE:
Is it possible to learn to meditate just by using the internet, and if it is, could I receive the information needed to do so.
Meditation can be very simple to learn and practice. Although a class setting is very helpful, you can most certainly learn to meditate via instructions on the internet. I have created the World Wide Online Meditation Center for just that purpose, and have included all the information necessary for beginning meditation.
I suggest you first read the section... General Information & Getting Started. Then try one of the Core Meditations... the Inner Light Meditation or the Mindfulness Meditation. After you have tried one of these methods, read the information in the FAQ's section.
If you go step by step, and thoroughly read the simple instructions, you are likely to find meditation surprisingly easy. The important thing to remember, is to put aside your pre-conceptions about what is supposed to happen in meditation. Simply follow the guidelines and allow for whatever you may experience. Then give it some time.
QUESTION ABOUT SELF MASTERY:
Hi, my name is Shessvy and I want to know which meditation is for mind and body becoming as one. I want to be one with my body to know how to control it, and do what my mind wants it to do. Please help me. I want to become very good at this. I feel like I should meditate because I want to know myself.
It is important to understand that the goal you are seeking may take some time to achieve. It's also important to understand the difference between being one with your body in the sense of being fully present in it, and identifying with your body.
If you are seeking to control the body, rather than becoming more identified with it, it will be necessary to dis-identify with it, i.e. realize experientially that you are not your body... rather, you are a spiritual being that has created that body for this earthly sojourn.
To do this, I suggest you begin practicing the Mindfulness Meditation described in the Mindfulness Meditation Room here at the Online Meditation Center. With continued practice, you will begin to realize that your real Self is, in fact, Spirit... pure, spacious awareness, and everything else you may have identified with - body, mind, and emotion - is arising at each moment within that field of awareness.
As this practice deepens further, you will begin to realize that you are creating your body, thoughts and emotions. The more fully you realize this, the more you will gain mastery of not only your body, but your mind and emotions as well.
QUESTION ABOUT FINDING A MANTRA:
How can I get a mantra that suites me?
There are a few of ways to find a suitable mantra. The first is to take a meditation class in which mantra meditation is taught. The mantras given will probably be fairly general, but there is a good chance you will find a suitable one.
The second way is to find a spiritual teacher who is truly enlightened, who gives students mantras according to their soul's unique potential and learning needs. By truly enlightened, I mean one who has become permanently established in the highest state of consciousness, who has attained complete Spiritual Self Realization. A teacher of this caliber can tune into the student to discern which mantra will resonate with his or her "soul's note".
Another way to find a mantra is to look through a book of mantras and their meanings, and try one that resonates with you. Work with it long enough to see what the results are. I recommend a book titled, "Words of Power" by Brian & Esther Crowley. It includes mantras from several different cultures and spiritual traditions.
As you grow spiritually, your learning needs may change as well, and you may "outgrow" a particular mantra. If this occurs, and a new mantra is needed for your continued unfoldment, you'll be guided to it.
QUESTION ABOUT BODILY MOVEMENTS AND SENSATIONS:
I've been practicing meditation for the past 2 years, but recently I feel there are alot of changes happening to me. Here are some questions for which I need clarification.
1. In meditation, my hands start moving by themselves, but if I want to control it, I can. My hands perform certain gestures.
2. When I do pranayama, kumbhaka (holding the breath) happens by itself, and my body, especially my head becomes very hot.
3. When I sleep at night, I cannot move my body and I feel sensations all over my body, especially in the ajna chakra. (brow chakra)
Let's go through your list and address these questions.
1. At times in meditation, when the inner spiritual energy is moving, the body will naturally assume certain positions to facilitate this movement. When the hands form such positions, they are called "mudras." There are specific mudras that are deliberately repeated, and represent specific qualities, such as peace, wisdom, etc. In your case, these mudras are occurring naturally, which is how the traditional mudras actually originated. I suggest allowing this to happen when it does occur naturally. Enjoy the dance, and remember it is part of your transformation process.
2. Your pranayama is triggering the movement of Kundalini. You are probably aquainted with this spiritual energy. If not, please read the description of Kundalini on page 2. If your pranayama is gentle and not forcing anything, then the natural movement of Kundalini is quite positive. As Kundalini raises the consciousness, sometimes the body's processes, including the breath, slow down dramatically, and may, at times, stop briefly. If this is unforced, it is safe and helpful for spiritual growth. However, if it is the result of forcing Kundalini, through radical breathing exercises, then it can lead to negative and uncomfortable consequences. For example... overly-intensified purification, magnified emotions, and throwing the chakras out of balance.
3. This, again, can result from movement of the Kundalini energies, especially if there are sensations in the ajna. In this case, it would be that phenomenon, along with being partly out of the physical body... more in the astral body. You can be in the body enough to feel it, and out of it enough to not have much control over it. It's perfectly safe... nothing to worry about.
QUESTION ABOUT DEPRESSION:
For the past 14 years I have been suffering from Clinical Depression, the cause of this depression seems to have been caused from being alone/feeling left out... If you could offer any advice as to places to look on your site, or things to do it would be most appreciated.
Thanks for your inquiry. It would be misleading to claim that meditation will provide a total cure for depression. However, it would definitely serve as an extremely effective part of an overall treatment program. There are several reasons for this.
One tangible reason is that meditation increases the amount of fuel to the brain, and sufficient brain fuel is essential for well being. This energizing of the brain that occurs in meditation can elevate the mood very quickly, although it may be temporary.
Another reason is that meditation gradually helps to clear our system of the stress, tension, and "emotional toxins" that weigh heavy on our hearts, and when extreme, can pull us into depression.
Finally, meditation re-connects us with our Spiritual Source... the place inside where we are all one, and when we are connected to the Source, we feel more connected to all other beings... humans, animals, plants, etc... and more connected to life as a whole.
Here is a simple meditation you can try:
Imagine a very bright sun.
Imagine that this sun is the spiritual source... the source of aliveness and joy.
As you inhale, breathe in the light and joy from this spiritual sun, letting it saturate your entire being.
As you exhale, let go and relax.
Do this with a "relaxed effort" for 10 - 15 minutes a day, and give it some time to work.
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