I have been meaning to do a post on Meditation for a while so as its the letter M this week in the pagan blog project, I thought I’d write about it. Meditation is a practice of training our minds. It is often associated with eastern religions, especially Buddhism, however it can be found in western religious and philosophical practice as well. Many people throughout the world and regardless of religion practice some form of meditation and do so for many different reasons. Some do it for religious reasons like seeking enlightenment, others to help reduce stress or become calm and others as a form of mind training. It is known to bring very positive benefits for health when practised consistently and scientific research on the brain suggests that it can make one happier and much more compassionate.
The benefits of meditation can include relaxation, a clear mind, more focus and concentration, better memory, better regulation of emotions, less anxiety, more compassion, fewer mental health issues, better sleep, better immune system, lower blood pressure and much more. It is also useful for helping us analyse ourselves.
Meditation is not about emptying the mind, though it will become quieter with practice, it is about developing focus and awareness of the present moment. There are many different types of meditation including meditation where one focuses on the breath, meditation using a mantra, visualisation meditations or moving meditation e.g. tai chi. It can also be used as a form of contemplation – focusing on particular facts and considering them deeply.
I have to admit that I am very bad at keeping a regular meditation schedule but I try to do it at least one a week. But for positive effects, it needs to be done on a daily basis. One of the best forms of meditation, one that has been studied and proven to be very beneficial is the Buddhist Metta Meditation. This is designed to develop compassion and loving kindness in people and has been shown by neuroscientists to be effective at doing so after only eight weeks of daily meditation. I would highly recommend using it in your meditation practices. Below is a video of it…
As Naturalistic Pantheists, there are many reasons for us to take up meditation – the health benefits, developing a calm and compassionate mind so we can become better people and because of its ability to develop more mindfulness and awareness of the world around us so we can appreciate nature. What other reasons can you think of for why Naturalistic Pantheist might consider meditation and important spiritual practice?