Does Meditation Help?

by NanciArvizu

Meditation is said to help heal the body and mind in many ways. As a newbie to the practice with a little more than a year under my belt, I'm taking a look at the journey.

It's been close to 15 months since I first sat down with the intention to meditate. One thing had led me to another and I found myself listening to the Silva Method of meditation, relaxation and visualization.

From the very first time I listened to the nearly 30 minute relaxation recording, I was hooked. I was able to make mediation a welcome habit quickly and looked forward to my 30 or so minutes of stillness and peace, even more than a nap.

But have I made any progress? What kind of progress or results did I expect when I started? Did I have a goal? How do I feel about meditation now that it's become an important part of my daily routine?

It All Began When...

One thing led to another, led to another...

Sometimes letting life come to you is better. 

I was tired. I was tired of being tired. I was tired of trying not to be tired.

I had pain. The aches and pains of an aging body that had seen good times on the running trail, biking trail, hiking trail and horseback riding trail. I'd gardened, built things, torn some things down. In other words, I'd been active a long time.

What I hadn't done was take care of my body along the way. I thought I was, with all the exercise and watching my diet, to a point. I wasn't fanatical about my diet as I tend to be now, but I wasn't junk food binging either.

Carrying around an extra 30 pounds didn't help. At my age, 47 at the time, I was told it was difficult to lose weight. My hormone doctor would prescribe me another dose of hormone replacement creme and suggest "this might help you lose a few pounds." Never happened.

The weight caused problems with my joints. My hips and knees hurt, sometimes bad enough to wake me from a deep sleep. Sometimes bad enough so I couldn't sleep at all. 

After spending time in physical therapy I learned to stretch my body. But it was Dan Brown's Lost Symbols that led me to the real healing.

Dan Brown Books

I highly recommend all Audible versions of any Dan Brown book. Great entertainment.
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Origin

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Deception Point

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How Listening to a Dan Brown Story Turned Me on to Meditation

Seriously, one thing leads to another leads to another...

In Dan Brown's Lost Symbols, the subject of Neurobiology is discuss in length. He talks about a real person and book, Lynn McTaggart and her book "The Intention Experiment." I won't give away Lost Symbols and I highly recommend it. Personally I prefer to listen to audio books, and all of Dan Brown's books that are in audio version are excellent.

On to The Intention Experiment. This is a study in how our brains are connected on deeper levels of concentration and connectedness to the field of energy that surrounds and is everything. It might sound like too much science, but The Intention Experiment is another book I highly recommend listening to, and is also available on Audible. Something Lynn and her team do is conduct online, around the world "intention" experiments, where participants focus a specific thought onto the test subject. Being an "intentionalizer" meant having to relax and focus, like getting into a meditative state. 

The Intention Experiment led me to the Neurobiology of We. This takes an even deeper look at how the mind works within the brain and again, how we are all connected to an energy field that exists around - and is - us. Fascinating listen (available on Audible!), especially when PTSD is discussed. 

In the Neurobiology of We, meditation is discussed as a way to connect with the brain. During periods of deep meditation test subjects have been able to visualize and "do-away with" specific symptoms and sometimes specific medical issues that had been previously considered chronic, or untreatable.

Googling Meditation I came across the Sylva Method of Meditation and Visualization. I liked that they offered a lot of their information and shortened versions of their longer programs for free. The information you receive in your inbox after subscribing I found informative and motivational. 

More importantly, I liked it enough to stick with it.

The Sylva Method of Mediation

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Hooked From the Very First Time

Learning how to really relax was a new experience for me.

This wasn't the first time I'd listened to a meditation recording. I've ordered and listened to probably 10 or so of these types of products over the years. I think I was doing it wrong though, I always fell asleep! No matter what position, I'd wake up 20, 25 minutes later, bummed out I'd missed whatever "it" was.

The Sylva Method was different. This wasn't about eating or weight issues. This wasn't about visualizing anything. This first recording was learning to relax and then "marking" what being truly relaxed - and conscious of it - felt like.

The recording is about 25 minutes long. If you sit in a comfortable chair that isn't a recliner you should be okay - and stay awake! I promise it's worth it. Getting to the end and being able to really feel what being relaxed is, is such a wonderful feeling.

The next step though is even better. "Marking" that feeling. Carving this feeling into your memory is very important to the art of mediation. When you can get into your most relaxed state quickly, it will make a huge difference in your desire to continue meditating. It did for me.

The better you get at getting into your relaxed state, the sooner you can move on to the visualization stage. This is important not only to your own meditation practice, but this was also the important part of participating in Lynn McTaggarts "Intention" Studies. Being able to relax and then focus on a single subject, or visualization is what I consider "my art of meditation." 

Creation is important, it gives us something to strive for. To learn, master and maybe even teach. What I found in meditation is the nothingness, or the "no-thingness" as described in OHSHO Zen Tarot Cards. The "No-Thingness" is where all things begin. It is where we start our creative journey and sometimes, it is where we end it. Or maybe it is always where we end it, in the no-thing. Either way, it's where I've found my place, my space. My peace.

And it's after those moments of total, conscious relaxation, my mind cleared of clutter having enjoyed a long moment of silence that I've had some really wonderful, if not profound (in my little word) moments. Thoughts. Ideas. Inspirations. Understandings. Really cool stuff.

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What's the Verdict?

Will I continue practicing Meditation?

Absolutely.

Over the course of the year that included meditation as part of my almost daily routine I have seen results:

I was finally able to lose weight. I've dropped 5 jean sizes and feel like I am in the best shape of my adult life at 49 years of age. I visualized myself as I wanted to look during meditation. Putting attention to detail in my mental images during meditation made it easier to see myself the way I wanted to be at a moments notice when faced with a challenge that could have taken me off the course to my goal weight.

After much time floundering through career ideas, business false starts and stops, I finally feel like all the pieces of my dream work are falling into place. It's happening slower that I would like, but it is happening all in good time. As it's meant to be.

My overall health is much better than it was when I started meditation. During the past year I've also been consistent in my exercise routine of yoga, kettle bell and hiking. Eating is easier because I visualize myself eating really good food - food that is good for me and tastes good. It's made me a better cook too, because I want what I want - good for me and tastes good!

Changing my eating habits has affected my family in a positive way. Both my husband and daughter have lost weight and are more conscious of their own food choices. 

There are other changes still happening, intentions still formulating into reality. In the mean time I will continue to include meditation as an important part of my every day life.

How about you? Do you meditate? What have you experienced?

New and seasoned authors welcomed to submit their manuscripts for review.
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Updated: 06/12/2015, NanciArvizu
 
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NanciArvizu on 05/22/2015

Yes, the learning to relax was a big surprise! I had not started at that level before and it made a big difference in my desire to continue practicing.

CruiseReady on 05/22/2015

The learning to really relax part sounds nice. A lot of us could use that. not to mention the deeper benefits of meditation.

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