Why should I meditate and what will we achieve?
Put simply, meditation is the process of habituating your mind towards more and more helpful ways of dealing with difficulties in life. Questions that may lead you to meditation include the following:
I feel stressed, can meditation help?
Sitting still and using an object of meditation to focus on slows the stimulus/response impulse. Mental and physical stress cause increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.
Will meditation control my anxiety and depression?
Sitting in meditation with good discipline gives you time to deal with what makes you anxious or depressed in a gentle way. Using your breath as a tool of transformation allows you to deal with emotional imbalance. Calm Abiding Meditation establishes four foundations of mindfulness i.e. Your body, feelings, thoughts and phenomena. These foundations help in your self-enquiry through meditation.
My attention span is poor, will meditation help with that?
One of the more obvious and often more challenging aspects of meditation is focusing on a single object for some time. Whether it is an ordinary object or one of emotional of spiritual significance, taking time to repeat your attention towards that object strengthens this ‘muscle’.
I have harmful thoughts, how can meditation deal with these?
Meditating on the in breath to bring in positive, inspiring thoughts and release them through the out breath weakens the tendency to think negatively. This aspect of Calm Abiding meditation is called Loving Kindness or Metta.
I’m embarrassed and feel powerless about my addiction to …… How can meditation help addiction?
We are involved in our life situations through our five senses. We may be addicted (habituated) to any thing that gives us a sense of pleasure. Having repeated or continuous contact with certain things may seem the best or only way to feel good. Calm Abiding meditation helps increase self-control and awareness of thoughts and emotions that bind us to what we are addicted. It gives us access to good feelings that are self-generated. Meditation reduces the reliance on sense gratification, allowing your immune system to function well.
Can meditation help me deal with my physical pain?
It is difficult to correlate meditation posture with pain management. Sitting in stillness is challenging for the most healthy individual, so this aspect of learning to meditate should be taken very gently. The pain threshold can be adjusted over time. It is not suggested that meditation will necessarily make the pain go away. However, drawing your attention away from the pain may benefit.
I’ve been told that I have high blood pressure, will meditation lower my blood pressure?
High blood pressure contributes to atherosclerosis, or a narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Over time, high blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood, which can lead to poor heart function. Through transforming our rounds of breath, meditation can control blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function and blood vessel tension.
At The Marpa Centre, we look at other reasons for meditation, such as spiritual growth. The Calm Abiding Meditation is however taught in common psychological terms and it is not necessary to be a Buddhist. Further enquiries are suggested on Scott Probst page on this website Teachings on Calm Abiding Meditation.