Breathe in, breathe out … sounds simple enough, even in normal times. But without a doubt, and much of it has to do with the COVID-19 global pandemic, many of us have experienced sudden and unexpected stressful disruptions in our financial, professional, social, psychological, and spiritual lives in recent months.
In times like these, uncertainty abounds, and many of us experience fear and anxiety, which often shifts to sadness and anger. These feelings of stress and anxiety are undeniable and seem to intensify as more unsettling news continues to rear its ugly head day after day.
According to Healthline, stress reduction is one of the most common reasons people experiment and explore mediation. In fact, one recent study, including over 3,500 adults, revealed that it lives up to its reputation for stress reduction.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is defined by Merriam-Webster here: “to engage in contemplation or reflection; or, to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.”
The practice of meditation is a mind and body experience that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, enhancing psychological balance, coping with various illnesses and health conditions, and boosting overall health and well-being.
In my professional experience, I firmly believe that meditation is a form of science meeting spirituality. We are all made up of energy, including our physical body, our thoughts, memories, and emotions. Furthermore, all energy vibrates; therefore, our vibratory rate directly correlates to how we feel and how we feel creates our reality or the life we live.
There’s been a lot of research that analyzes how meditation can be helpful for a wide range of health conditions, such as pain, some psychological disorders, and high blood pressure. There have been other studies that have helped experts and scientists learn how meditation might work and how it impacts the brain.
To date, much of the research suggests that practicing meditation can lower blood pressure, anxiety, and depression, insomnia, and even irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
There are many types of meditation, but most have these elements or aspects in common:
- A quiet location with as few distractions as possible
- A comfortable posture, such as sitting, walking, lying down, etc.
- A focus of attention, like a specially selected word or phrase, an object or the sensations of the breath)
- An open attitude, allowing distractions to come and go naturally without judging them
How Meditation Differs From Prayer
For starters, typical forms of prayer are ego-based and created by the mind. For example, the act of asking the Divine for guidance or assistance with the hope of receiving an answer or action by someone or something other than ourselves is more prayer related.
On the other hand, daily meditation can help us raise our vibration by neutralizing the lower vibration we have caused by negative thoughts, worries, and anxiety. In other words, meditation is more about what we focus on we feel (remember, our focus and our feelings create our life).
I like to keep this in mind when contemplating the differences between the two: Buddha was once asked, “What have you gained from meditation?” He replied, “Nothing, but let me tell you what I lost, Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Insecurity, Fear of Old Age and Death.”
Do You Know the Difference Between Meditation and Contemplation?
For many years, the terms meditation and contemplation were used almost synonymously. But it’s important to understand that while contemplation is a train of thought about something, meditation is training the mind to rest in a specific focus that can ultimately lead to a connection to the source of consciousness itself.
The basic difference between meditation and contemplation is that meditation is a human mode of prayer whereas contemplation is a divinely infused prayer. In fact, contemplation is often a misconstrued word – it’s not a prayer that you can initiate or cause to happen. It’s produced divinely and no amount of action on your part can produce or prolong it.
Keep in mind, the practice of contemplation can assist in making big life decisions or throughout the day, as you wrestle with habits of behavior and thought.
My Personal Experience With the Power of Meditation
For over 30 years, I enjoyed a successful career in the healthcare industry. I started as a nursing assistant and worked my way up through the emergency department, and eventually became a cardiovascular, critical care nurse. I later earned my MBA and moved into scientific lab equipment sales, where I created an executive niche for working with all levels of the hospital to clinically implement laboratory tests to improve patient outcomes.
My firsthand exposure to the day-to-day stresses of critical care nursing, and healthcare sales and sales management, taught me how insidious long-term stress and burnout could be. As a result, at the age of 44, I experienced personal, professional, and spiritual burnout, and became my own critical care patient.
My near-death experience was life-altering and inspired me to embark on a new career path as an author, speaker, coach, and energy medicine practitioner. Since then, I’ve been on a quest to discover, treat, and heal the underlying causes of burnout in others.
My journey has also led me to seek out and use various practices and energy medicine, including meditation. In fact, a major component of my survival and recovery from this ordeal came directly from practicing contemplation 20 minutes twice a day (or more as I needed it).
In short, 20 minutes a day saved my life.
Are You Ready to Explore the Possibilities?
Imagine what it would be like if 20 minutes a day could save your life and help you create the life you dream – one of peace, joy, and prosperity.