Meditation

Original Editor - Redisha Jakibanjar Top Contributors -

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Meditation is a practice that was originated in Vedic time and is used as a modality in Ayurveda (Science of Life), the comprehensive, natural health care system.[1] The word Meditate is derived from the Latin word Meditari which means to think about or consider and the root word Med means to take appropriate measures.[2] The main purpose of meditation is to connect oneself to one's deep inner self and the fundamental unity of every living thing. [1][2]

Yoga pose.jpg

Meditation has various techniques which include contemplation, concentration, use of various sounds, guided meditation, meditative movement exercises such as yoga and tai-chi, qigong, breathing exercises, and Matra. These techniques work at various levels like senses, mind, intellect, and emotions. Among all of these techniques, the one which achieves the goal to connect the deep inner self meets the true purpose of meditation.[1]

How is the human body viewed in Vedic Science?[edit | edit source]

The human body consists of three aspects:

  1. Physical body
  2. Inner faculty
  3. Deep inner self

Physical body[edit | edit source]

The physical body is the mortal, material body that acts-eats breathes, and moves. The physical body consists of five constituent elements: ether, air, water, fire, and earth. The body consists of three features: birth, old age, death. The physical body has the capacity to experience joy and sorrow and also form the basis of earthly relationships. After death, the physical body also dies and the 5 elements are dissolved. [3]

Inner faculty[edit | edit source]

This is the body of vital energy that is constantly working and changing to keep the physical body alive. [1][3] The inner faculty of the human body consists of mind, intellect, Chitta, and ego. The mind processes sensory inputs and has the quality of duality like sad and happy, pain and pleasure. The intellect part analyzes, discriminates, decides, and judges. Ego is the doer and experiencer whereas the Chitta is the storehouse of memories and impressions of life. [1]This body continues after the death as well and serves as a vehicle for reincarnation [3]

Deep inner self[edit | edit source]

The deep inner self is the nonchanging pure consciousness that has the quality of union. It is the main source of all knowledge, intelligence, creativity, and natural laws that govern existence. [1]This is the most complex body and has an undifferentiated form. [3]The deep inner self activates the inner faculty and which eventually activates the physical body. While meditating, a feedback loop is created which creates a conscious connection with deep inner self and provides inner peace and bliss removing the stress of life. [1]

Layers of human body and mind[edit | edit source]

According to Hindu scriptures, the human body consists of five layers[3]:

  • The physical layer, which needs food for existence and lasts till it can absorb food.
  • The vital layer, which helps the body inhale, exhale, move out, take nourishment, excrete and reproduce.
  • The mental layer, that helps to experience pleasure and pain, gives rise to desire and has the capacity of change.
  • The intellectual layer reflects the light of the self and is the cause of embodiment.
  • The layer of bliss is the state of pleasure and rest, though this is material and subject to change.

[4]

State of consciousness[edit | edit source]

Human beings experience three states of consciousness[3] [1]:

  • Waking
  • Dreaming
  • Deep sleep

Normally, waking is related to the physical body, dreaming is identifying the self with the inner faculty and deep sleep is identifying the self with the casual body or deep inner self. [3]

When the inner faculty is in a waking state of consciousness, it can be aware of the physical body but when it is in the dreaming state of consciousness, it is aware of the inner dream world only. During the state of deep sleep, there is unity, peace, and bliss. [1]

When the deep inner self witnesses the activity of the waking state, daydreams occur and human being is able to watch one's thoughts and during the state of dreaming state, this is experienced as watching one's dream. During a deep sleep state, the inner faculty is asleep and not functioning which provides the peace and bliss of unity and upon waking from a deep sleep, the body feels refreshed. [1]

Meditation helps to take the mind from the field of the outer objective world to the inner realm of inner faculty and eventually goes beyond both of that to reach the deep inner self. When the mind reaches the deep inner self, it provides inner peace and bliss and removes the accumulated stress of life. During the process of meditation, the mind experiences the unity of the deep inner self while the person is aware and not sleeping. [1]

How can we meditate?[edit | edit source]

There are various techniques for meditation. The first thing to do before meditation is to concentrate and establish a point of focus with the eyes either opened or closed. Another technique is to observe and count the breaths and to notice the bodily sensation. [2] Some of the methods are:

  • Use of sound
  • Use of imagery
  • Gazing
  • Breathing
  • Physical sensations

Positions for meditation[edit | edit source]

There are not specific postures for meditation. People can choose positions themselves and do meditation on posture they feel comfortable. People can meditate in sitting, walking, standing, and reclining positions. [2]

Effectiveness of meditation[edit | edit source]

  • Removes the accumulated stress and help increase the positive energy[1]
  • Decreases anxiety, depression, and pain (both physical and psychological)[1]
  • Increases regional cerebral blood flow in the frontal and anterior cingulate region of the brain[1]
  • Decreases sympathetic overstimulation reduces cholesterol and risk of heart disease and helps in reducing smoking[1]
  • Has been shown to be beneficial in epilepsy, premenstrual symptoms, menopausal symptoms, autoimmune illness, and emotional disturbance in neoplastic disease [1]
  • Improves telomerase activity in the body which slows down the aging process and related diseases. [1]

[5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 Sharma H. Meditation: Process and effects. Ayu. 2015 Jul;36(3):233. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4895748/
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Carrico Mara. A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation.Yoga Journal. Accessed on: 2021/04/05.Available from: https://www.yogajournal.com/meditation/let-s-meditate/
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Das Subhamoy.Sanskriti Magazine. Hinduism. The Hindu Concept of Three Bodies-Body, Mind, and Existence. Accessed on: 20201/04/05. Available from: https://www.sanskritimagazine.com/indian-religions/hinduism/hindu-concept-three-bodies-body-mind-existence/
  4. Perceive truth with sadhguru.Layers of Body in yogic terminology | Sadhguru Speech. Available from:https://youtu.be/Au_SAHdMp9U. Accessed on: 2021/04/07
  5. AsapSCIENCE. The Scientific Power of Meditation. Available from https://youtu.be/Aw71zanwMnY. Accessed on: 2021/04/07