The Power of Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is one of the best and easiest ways to achieve emotional, physical and mental balance. It releases stress and anxiety, and it teaches us to become aware of and more engaged with the present moment.

Healing emotional wounds involves addressing not only the wounds we are conscious of — for example the trauma of a recent cancer diagnosis or death in the family — but also the losses and pain that have been imprinted deep into our subconscious. Imbalances that aren’t healed can manifest in different ways and areas of our lives over time — sometimes even in our physical bodies.

Dr. Keith Block, Medical Director of the Block Integrative Cancer Center in Evanston, IL, suggests that, “A daily practice that produces the body’s relaxation response can yield the following biomedical benefits: Reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen intake, improve immune system function, lower genes associated with inflammation, normalize glucose response, decrease stress hormones, promote DNA repair mechanisms, increase white blood cell count and natural killer cells, and improve physical and emotional well-being."

    So, how to meditate? It’s easy – really.  

    Sit comfortably in an upright position, close your eyes and start breathing – inhaling deeply through the nose and then exhaling slowly through the mouth. Become aware of your breath, the rise and fall of your chest, and sensations through your body. Anchor yourself into the present moment. Try to keep your mind from wandering, focus on the silence and just ‘be.’ If your mind wanders (and it will), gently and without judgment, try to coax it back.  

    Some tricks for an active or “monkey” mind are to inhale for five seconds, hold the breath in for five seconds, exhale for five seconds, hold the breath out for five seconds, and repeat. One can also recite a silent mantra — a prayer, a positive saying, or simply words that evoke a sense of peace. If focus is a challenge, it's important to be gentle with yourself, not critical. Eventually, finding a silent place in your mind and body will become easier. 

    Once you have completed your meditation, give yourself a few minutes to slowly open your eyes and acclimate back into your surroundings. Thank yourself for setting aside the time to practice mindfulness 

    Meditating for as little as ten to fifteen minutes a day can have a significant impact on our health — physical, mental, and emotional — as well as deepen our personal awareness and sense of self. By training ourselves to be more open to what lies inside, we will ultimately become more balanced and resilient to whatever comes our way.

    "Be conscious of yourself as consciousness alone, watch all the thoughts come and go. Come to the conclusion, by direct experience, that you are really consciousness itself, not its ephemeral contents." – Annamalai Swami