Have you tried meditation? It's a great way to discover who you are.
In an attempt to achieve a level of clarity, I have tried a few different meditation techniques. Several have been concentrative, where I would focus on one item or thought. Another has been non-concentrative, where I simply worked to empty my mind of any thought. Most of the time, I meditate just before falling asleep at night. However, be careful that your meditation practice doesn’t train yourself to fall asleep.
Concentrative Technique: Come up with a repetitive mantra that makes you feel wonderful or outlines a goal you wish to achieve and say it silently in your mind in the present tense. For example, one mantra to make you feel good might be: “I am love, joy and harmony in action”. If you wish to create an ideal life full of abundance, you could compose an affirmation that rhymes and say it silently to yourself with feeling, “I am happy and healthy, happily married and wealthy”Repeating a mantra while visualizing the images in the mantra seems to keep the brain busy and preoccupied so that the mind can become peaceful and still.
Non-Concentrative Technique: Make it your intention to clear your mind of thought. Each time a new thought pops into your head, acknowledge the thought (‘that’s a thought’), then imagine it contained in a bubble and burst it. Repeat the process and eventually the thoughts will subside.
In doing some reading, I discovered that there are five categories of brainwaves, ranging from the least active to the most active. These brain waves are categorized as beta, alpha, theta, delta and gamma. My goal has always been to achieve a gamma state which results in brainwaves moving at a rate of 40 cycles per second or above. The reason for this goal is because research has shown that flashes of insight, intuition and understanding are associated with gamma brainwave activity. Experiments with Tibetan Buddhist meditation practitioners indicated that monks who meditated for thousands of hours over many decades show a dramatic increase in their brain’s gamma wave activity.
Dr. Herbert Benson of the Harvard Medical School studied the effects of meditation on the metabolism of Tibetan Buddhist Monks. With respect to oxygen consumption, he reported that the monks decreased their metabolism upwards of 64%. This was the largest decrease of consumption of oxygen ever recorded. Benson developed something called the “relaxation response,” which he described as “a physiological state opposite to stress.” His work showed how meditation decreased a body’s metabolism, breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure. Benson used meditation to treat patients with anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, heartbeat irregularities, excessive anger, insomnia, and even infertility.
Other research that was conducted by neuroscientist Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin, showed how Tibetan Buddhist Monks who had meditated for many years experienced extremely large increases of gamma waves. In 2004, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Davidson’s work demonstrated that activity in the left prefrontal cortex (the seat of positive emotions) swamped activity in the right prefrontal (site of negative emotions and anxiety). This was something never before seen from purely mental activity.”
There is more to meditation than calming peace or manifestation. Think of your thoughts as a gateway to the divine light or source of all creation. When your mind is busy thinking, the gateway is shut. When your mind is still, the gateway opens and peace, love, healing and rejuvenation come pouring in. The same thing happens when we enter a deep sleep. That is why we need sleep. Without sleep, we quickly run out of energy - source energy. Our thoughts block the source. With sufficient concentration, however, humans can keep the gate open and stay connected to the source over long periods. Meditation can completely reshape our brains processes and thought patterns. With extended practice, meditation can also result in flashes of insight, prophetic visions or even the occasional enlightened master appearing before you. Some people meditate because they have found this is a way to access all the knowledge floating in the universe. Meditation takes practice, but a disciplined mind could be one of the greatest achievements of your life!
“A quiet mind cureth all.” Robert Burton
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