In her fabulous article below, ‘Building the Brain with Meditation’, Anne-Marie Hardie said, “I believed that meditation meant that I had to immediately silence my mind. I was trying to tune out all my thoughts and ideas, and so when they would pop up, as they inevitably would, I would become frustrated and stop meditating. I was not giving myself the time to learn the practice and to inevitably learn about myself.”

This is what I hear over and over again from individuals who are new to the path of meditation

In her fabulous article below, ‘Building the Brain with Meditation’, Anne-Marie Hardie said, “I believed that meditation meant that I had to immediately silence my mind. I was trying to tune out all my thoughts and ideas, and so when they would pop up, as they inevitably would, I would become frustrated and stop meditating. I was not giving myself the time to learn the practice and to inevitably learn about myself.”

This is what I hear over and over again from individuals who are new to the path of meditation – or resistant to it because they can’t seem to get beyond the mind chatter and often end up yelling at themselves internally to GET QUIET UP THERE! What I say to those individuals is more or less the following, and it’s an excerpt from one of my Guided Meditations:

“There is no need to "do" anything while meditating. Rather it is more a process of "un-doing". During meditation, a chain of events will be released within you and you may have varied inner experiences, some of which you will understand intellectually, and some of which you may not. You may just experience a feeling of calmness, wholeness or tranquility. The most important thing is to simply do it, and allow yourself to experience your own unique meditation - and its many benefits.

Here’s the key: No matter how many thoughts play in your mind or how many different feelings surface, do not be daunted by them. Everyone has thoughts and feelings that play on the mind. When thoughts come up, as they will, simply acknowledge them, be grateful for them, then let them go… or you can imagine they are clouds floating by in the sky, high above you. Once you do that, just return to your breath and begin again… You will likely have to do this throughout your meditation, which is normal. And rest assured, while doing this, you are meditating and benefitting 100% from all the good things it has to offer… “

And as Anne-Marie so aptly points out in her article below, there is no perfect way to meditate - just as there is no perfect person.

Read on to find out how you can reduce the impact of brain shrinkage due to the aging process… Can you guess how? J

As always, happy meditating!

By Renata Duma, Founder, MEDITATIONWORKSforSTRESS.com

 

 

Building your Brain with Meditation by Anne-Marie Hardie

Every year, I find that I remember less and I’m doing more. Or at least it feels that way. My brain is constantly churning however instead of becoming more productive, it seems as if my thoughts become jumbled and mumbled. At this time of year, this feeling seems to amplify. And so I have to ask, do our brains really shrink when we grow older?

There are several theories for why our brains begin to shrink: age, lack of use and recent research is now indicating that stress may be a factor. According to Bruce McEwen, stress impacts our brain by changing the way that it functions. In animals, he has found that stress actually reduces mental flexibility. However, he has discovered that exercise and relaxation techniques can help reduce this impact.

So do you have to purchase a video game like Brain Age or play Sudoku puzzles to exercise your brain? Recent research is saying no.

Meditation and the Brain:

Researchers at John Moore’s University have discovered that meditation may help enhance our brain’s productivity. Dr. Malinowski discovered that “those that meditated were more accurate, had higher speeds and were less distracted in the cognitive tests performed”. These results suggest that meditation could assist us with such skills as driving, studying for exams and any other situation that requires focused concentration.

According to Psychology Today, meditators shift their brain waves to different areas of the cortex of the brain: moving them from the stress concentrated right frontal cortex to the left frontal cortex. As a direct result, the stress level decreases enhancing our ability to concentrate and relax.

Additional Health Benefits of Meditation:

·         Deeper relaxation

·         Decrease in blood pressure and muscle tension

·         Increases serotonin production: the happy hormone

·         Builds self confidence

·         Increases creativity

Recent research definitely supports the importance of adding mediation into your daily routine. But how do you even begin? It may seem impossible to turn off all of the distractions and to just stop life for ten to fifteen minutes.  I have to admit that meditation is one philosophy that I struggled with.  However, my struggle was due to my perfectionist mentality.

I believed that meditation meant that I had to immediately silence my mind. I was trying to tune out all my thoughts and ideas, and so when they would pop up, as they inevitably would, I would become frustrated and stop meditating. I was not giving myself the time to learn the practice and to inevitably learn about myself.

However with time and patience, I have learned that true meditation is not about eliminating all thoughts, but recognizing that they will appear. In fact, when you begin to meditate, more thoughts will appear than normal. However, your objective is just to continually pay attention to your breathe. Be patient with yourself. It may take months or years for you to be able to focus a full fifteen minutes on your breath, but every second of pure focus counts. Celebrate the small successes: work on 5 seconds and slowly build up to 30.

Meditation takes practice, patience and a belief that you are capable of focusing your mind. Everyone is able to meditate; the key is to find your own uniqueness in this practice. Make your meditative practice your own: there is no perfect way to meditate, just as there isn’t a perfect person.

- See more at: http://www.yogaflavoredlife.com/wellness/building-your-brain-with-meditation.html#sthash.WeMdBmZK.dpuf

Article by Anne-Marie Hardie, December 2013, found at http://meditation-research.org.uk/in-the-media/ - Media Coverage of (Dr.) Peter Malinowski’s Work