The Therapy of Meditation
As of recently, I have developed a passion for the art of meditation. My ultimate goal in life is to reach a state of complete self-awareness, at least as complete as it can get for me, and use it as a tool in relation to my everyday experiences. One day, I would like to reach a point in my existence where I am self-fulfilled, and accepting of everything I encounter. Of course this will take time, but I have become so involved within the past couple of months that I don’t intend to give up on this practice. I typically practice meditation in my own home or at the SF Zen Center, where they offer free meditation sessions, trainings, and retreats. When alone, the meditation forms I have been using most often are guided meditation and mindfulness. The Zen Center, on the other hand, has taught me to make use of a more open awareness type of meditation, often referred to as Zazen. I find myself being a strong believer in the benefits of this art, so much so, that I also apply aspects of it during therapy with my own clients. I am far from an expert at this practice, but I strive to improve day by day. With time and dedication I hope to continue sharing my meditative experience and progress with you all! <3
Here is a brief description of the forms I personally practice:
- Guided Meditation: A voice guides you step-by-step through your practice, using imagery, progressive relaxation or the use of the breath, to achieve a state of self-improvement, forgiveness, higher states of consciousness, or quieting the mind to reach calmness and relaxation.
- Mindfulness: Usually referred to as insight meditation, or vipassana. Involves focusing on an object, like your breath, bodily sensations, thoughts, feelings, or sounds. The objective is to bring awareness of all phenomena, which can be extended and applies in all daily actions, such as eating, walking, driving, working, etc. One focuses on bringing clarity of perception, and equanimity.
- Open Awareness: The objective of this form is to open the mind into a panoramic awareness of whatever is happening without a specific focus. Through this practice it is important to build the capacity to be present with whatever arises.
Here are some of the benefits one can achieve through the practice of meditation:
- Improved sense of self
- Stress relief
- Memory improvement
- Increased self-awareness
- Increased introspection
- Reduction in anxiety and depression
- Lower risk of heart attack and stroke
- Reduced insomnia
- Improved mood and overall happiness
- Reduced blood pressure
Also, if you are interested in this practice there is an awesome app called Headspace, which guides you through a 10 minute meditation on a daily basis. I highly recommend it!