Meditation is neither worship nor prayer. Meditation is a means to calm the mind's restlessness. It is an invaluable tool in managing stress and anxiety. Meditation means awareness. Any activity practiced with mindfulness can be meditation; washing the dishes can be meditation, walking the dog, going on a hike.
The word meditation is derived from two Latin words: meditari (to think, to dwell upon, to exercise the mind) and mederi (to heal). Its Sanskrit derivation 'medha' means wisdom. The basic state of the mind is a constant state of restlessness and agitation. The mind, like anything else, must be conditioned if one expects it to work efficiently. In a world where confusion, conflict and stress weigh heavily upon us, today, more than ever, there is a dire need to bring clarity to the mind.
Our programmed minds drive us relentlessly to seek validation from what is familiar to us. It is easy to become lost in anodynes that numb and hypnotize our minds. Meditation is unfamiliar territory; stillness is somewhere our minds don’t often travel, and yet it is the very methodology that has the power to unearth and excavate our most authentic selves and bring clarity, calmness, and tranquility to our very being.
The mind left to itself is a wandering, vagrant, homeless thing; ever scheming to manifest the next desires, appetites, craving; never seeking its own solitude. Thus is the day to day state of the mind and all our sufferings issue forth from this tragedy. It is not easy to convince the mind of the comfort of this stillness; it must be conditioned to accept this gift. And so by teaching it stillness through the yogic postures and through pranayama, the mind finally begins to yield to the immutable grace that silence offers.
Yoga and pranayama condition the mind to accept the lucidity of stillness and from this point, the soul begins the journey of transcending the crippling narrowness of the ego.
When one learns to quiet the mind; one ceases to identify with the objects of duality and its sensations. This allows one to access the higher self so as to allow the inherent discernment of higher Self to surface so that all veils are lifted.
Yoga through meditation works remarkably to achieve harmony and helps the mind work in sync with the body. How often do we find that we are unable to perform our activities properly and in a satisfying manner because of the confusions and conflicts in our mind weigh down heavily upon us? Moreover, stress which in reality is the #1 killer affecting all parts of our physical, endocrinal and emotional systems can be corrected through the wonderful yoga practice of meditation.
The meditative practices through yoga help in achieving an emotional balance through detachment. What it means is that meditation creates conditions, where you are not affected by the happenings around you. This in turn creates a remarkable calmness and a positive outlook, which also has tremendous benefits on the physical health of the body.
These are just some of the tangible benefits that can be achieved through yoga.
Having seen this, it is educative to note why the ancient yogis performed yoga and the interdependence of yoga and meditation.
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