A Look at Meditation

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A Look at Meditation

In this modern day and age, the negative effects of stress are

unavoidable. People have tried various methods to help cope with stress,

everything from exercise and diet to alternative methods like biofeedback.

However, the most effective method to deal with stress is not one of these

modern methods but rather a 5,000 year-old idea: Meditation. Meditation not only

helps reduce the negative effects of stress, but also leads to a better sense of

well-being by uniting mind and body.

The basic principles and practices of meditation are rooted in Hinduism,

an Asian religion whose followers believe that the soul is eternal and maintains

an eternal relationship with God. Hindus believe that because the soul is

eternal, it must reincarnate in various forms to retain this everlasting

relationship. Thousands of young people flocked to the ideas of Hinduism in the

1970's to escape the drug culture of the times.

As the troubled youth of the 1970's matures into the professionals of

the 1990's, the practice of meditation has been incorporated into the medical

field and studied for its effect on the body and mind. The physical practice of

meditation slows and calms the body, lowering blood pressure and heart rate with

the use of deep breathing exercises.

The calming of the body in itself works to fight stress but those who

meditate say that meditation also helps to replenish the mind. The mind, along

with the body, needs to feel at peace. In the hustle and bustle of the

technological age, we often seek out materialistic means of happiness. Some

pursue hobbies that like rock climbing that present both physical and mental

challenges to satisfy this need while others stretch out in front of the

television to relax.

We approach our search for a better sense of well-being on a

superficial level instead of dealing with the issues that are the root cause of

our pain. We don't really understand what happiness is and therefore spend our

time and energy trying to get rid of the pain instead of confronting it. If we

turn to meditation to guide us through the journey of self-awareness. If an

individual is aware of the cause of his pain, he can better understand it and

cope instead of letting it determine the course of his life. It is not the

actual event that produces a stressful response, but r...

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and healthier than she did in college due to the growth of consciousness.

"Whatever you apply yourself to, you are more successful."

La Fave says that with time and practice, the mind and body can be

peaceful and potentially stressful situations no longer have power to cause the

body harm.

The Maharishi Vedic University is currently putting together a

curriculum for the development of human consciousness that not only teaches

meditation but also a healthier way of life. They are located off the capitol

square at 23 N. Pickney and can be reached at (608)255-4447. La Fave encourages

anyone interested in learning about meditation to call or stop by.

The search for a better sense of well-being is a life-long one. What

makes an individual feel satisfaction and inner peace changes as time goes by

but are rarely achieved without training the mind. Meditation forces its

practitioner to return to the self, to confront the obstacles of life, not push

them away.

Works Cited:

"Krishna-izing the World" by Richard Vara, "The Houston Chronicle, Feb. 2, 1991.

"Opening Up to Happiness" by Mark Epstein, M.D., "Psychology Today", July August 1993.