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 Explore Meditation Practices

Ellie Meditating by River

Published October 25, 2015

The earliest written records of meditation, around 1500 BCE, come from the Hindu traditions. Today meditation is being practiced in our Western culture because of its physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits.

Mindfulness meditation is the practice of being in the present moment fully. The meditator's mind expands in an openness to embrace each unfolding moment. As the meditator deepens their practice, they gain more wisdom, truth, compassion, and interconnection with all things. These insights guide the meditator in living their daily life in ease and love.

Emotional / Mental Health Benefits

The psychological benefits of meditation vary based on the technique. Some practices produce long-lasting changes in attention, emotion, cognition, and pain perception, and these correlate with both structural and functional changes in the brain. It improves immune function, blood pressure and cortisol levels; it reduces anxiety, depression, neuroticism and emotional reactivity. It also leads to greater behavioral regulation. This field of research is growing. Excerpt from Waking Up by Sam Harris

The emotional and mental health benefits of meditation include:

1. Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
2. Building skills to manage your stress
3. Increasing self-awareness
4. Focusing on the present
5. Reducing negative emotions

Physical Benefits

A study published May 15, 2013 by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health revealed that $28 billion could be saved annually in sick days and medical costs from colds and flu if more people meditated.

Mayo study: Meditation might also be useful if you have a medical condition, especially one that may be worsened by stress. While a growing body of scientific research supports the health benefits of meditation, some researchers believe it's not yet possible to draw conclusions about the possible benefits of meditation.

With that in mind, some research suggests that meditation may help people manage symptoms of conditions such as:

Anxiety disorders
Binge eating
Heart disease
High blood pressure

Societal Benefits

Meditation has the potential to stop many of our societial ills like bullying, domestic abuse and addiction.

When we learn how to release our past, harmful energies and live in the present moment there is no need to harm ourselves or others. We come to understand our true nature and more easily align with it. When this occurs, we change how we behave. Our compassion for ourselves and others increases.

 Meditation Techniques

Here are three popular meditation techniques that I have tried. It is important for you to experience the technique and decide for yourself. Let me know if you have any questions.

  • Ascension The Bright Path offers easy meditation techniques for experiencing life beyond limitation. The techniques bring you to a direct experience of peace, happiness and freedom. They involve no belief and can be easily practiced by anyone of any age or cultural background.
  • Transcendental meditation Absolutely effortless, No trying to "empty the mind", No mindfulness (monitoring of thoughts), No concentrating, No control of the mind. The TM technique is not "one size fits all." It's taught one-on-one and is carefully personalized. Hundreds of published research studies have found the TM technique to be highly effective for stress-related conditions, brain function, and cardiovascular health.
  • Vipassana Meditation Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art of Living. The technique of Vipassana Meditation is taught at ten-day residential courses during which participants learn the basics of the method, and practice sufficiently to experience its beneficial results. There are no charges for the courses - not even to cover the cost of food and accommodation. All expenses are met by donations from people who, having completed a course and experienced the benefits of Vipassana, wish to give others the opportunity to also benefit.

 Meditation Styles


Meditators can focus their attention on an object like their breath, a mantra such as OM, visualize something beautiful like a flower, part of the body, a candle, guided imagery, picture of a teacher, or sounds. Another style is when the meditator monitors their internal and external experiences. Regardless of the style, nonjudgment and nonattachment are to be practiced.

The physical position of the meditator may be seated in a lotus position, half lotus position, on a zafu cushion between the legs, using wooden benches or on a chair.

Moving meditations include Meditative Movements™, walking, Qigong and Tai chi.

If you are new to meditation, I recommend finding a practice that resonates with you and dedicate at least 15 minutes a day for 21 days.

 Online Resources

Headspace: Free 10 Day Program Introducing Meditation
There is a right way to breathe during meditation


Waking Up by Sam Harrison
Meditation for Dummies by Stephan Bodian
wherever you go there you are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza (Free ebook)
The Cow in the Parking Lot by Susan Edmiston, Leonard Scheff

Twin City Centers

Clouds in Water – St. Paul
The Himalayan Yoga Center – Mpls
Common Ground – Mpls

Florida Centers

All Faiths – Fort Myers
Caloosahatchee Mindfulness – Fort Myers
Happehatchee Center – Bonita Springs

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