For thousands of years people have used meditation to move beyond the mind's stress-inducing thoughts and emotional upsets into the peace and clarity of present moment awareness. The variety of meditation techniques, traditions, and technologies is nearly infinite, but the essence of meditation is singular: the cultivation of mindful awareness and expanded consciousness.
As an adult, I first started my meditation practice with just two minutes per day. Two minutes! I got that idea from one of the Zen Habits blog, where the author points out how starting with a tiny habit is the first step to consistently achieving it. So even thought two minutes won't make much difference, that's where I started. Whether you're as skeptical as I used to be, or you're well ahead of me with a meditation habit of several hours, I think it's always interesting to find out how new habits affect our brains. I had a look into meditation to see what's going on inside our brains when we do this, and what I found is pretty interesting.
What is Meditation?
There are different ways to meditate, and since it's such a personal practice there are probably more than any of us know about. There are a couple that are usually focused on heavily in scientific research, though. These are focused-attention, or mindful meditation, which is where you focus on one specific thing -- it could be your breathing, a sensation in your body or a particular object outside of you. The point of this type of meditation is to focus strongly on one point and continually bring your attention back to that focal point when it wanders.
The other type of meditation that's often used in research is open-monitoring meditation. This is where you pay attention to all of the things happening around you -- you simply notice everything without reacting.
What Happens in Your Brain When You Meditate
This is where things get really interesting. Using modern technology like fMRI scans, scientists have developed a more thorough understanding of what's taking place in our brains when we meditate. The overall difference is that our brains stop processing information as actively as they normally would. We start to show a decrease in beta waves, which indicate that our brains are processing information, even after a single 20-minute meditation session if we've never tried it before.
How Meditation Affects You
How To Get Started?
I have created this 5 one minute lessons for absolute beginners who like to get started in their meditation practice.
You only need 2 minutes a day to get started on this journey.
Jag is a business strategist, technology evangelist and Australia’s most sought after executive mentor. He is the founder of Second Innings Academy.
Jag is currently mentoring small to medium business owners & executives globally to build great companies. He’s got over 18 years of experience providing solutions to a wide range of clients at both Fortune 500 and start-up organizations in domestic and global markets