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Meditation and the Benefits

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What is meditation? Please include a basic definition, types and techniques in the discussion. In what ways could the quality of your life change for the better if/when a person meditates regularly? Explain and please provide references.

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Solution Summary

This solution explains meditation by definition, type and characteristics, and then explains the vast number of ways that regular meditation could improve one's quality of life.

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1. What is meditation? Please include a basic definition, types and techniques in the discussion. In what ways could the quality of one's life change for the better if/when a person meditates regularly? Explain.

a. Meditation usually refers to a state in which the body is consciously relaxed and the mind is allowed to become calm and focused. Several major religions include ritual meditation; however, meditation itself need not be a religious or spiritual activity. Most of the more popular systems of meditation are of Eastern origin, though there exists also various forms of Christian, Jewish and Muslim meditation. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation

Meditation as a form of alternative medicine brings about mental calmness and physical relaxation by suspending the stream of thoughts that normally occupy the mind. Generally performed once or twice a day for approximately 20 minutes at a time, meditation is used to reduce stress, alter hormone levels, and elevate one's mood. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditation_(alternative_medicine)#Health_applications_and_clinical_studies_of_meditation

According to Dr. Weil, there are a variety of types of Meditation, who reports that meditation is an ancient method of employing the mind-body connection to achieve specific developmental goals. Over the four thousand years since the beginning of Yoga, the developmental goals have shifted, and so have the methods. In fact, he goes on to say that all meditation methods are effective in reducing stress, but they do so in different ways. For example, the earliest methods meant to explore the field of consciousness beyond the physical universe, as the material world was seen as illusory and limiting. As a by-product, these methods eliminate stress by creating detachment. In contrast, modern methods of meditation honor the physical world as the final step in spirituality, and honor the problems of life as the stimuli of growth. They do not create detachment; they create creativity.

The defining characteristic of meditation is conscious breathing. Here's what Dr. Andrew Weil says about conscious breathing:

"The single most effective relaxation technique I know is conscious regulation of breath.

In many languages - the words for spirit and breath are one and the same (Sanskrit prana, Hebrew ruach, Greek pneuma, Latin spiritus). Breathing is the bridge between mind and body, the connection between consciousness and unconsciousness, the movement of spirit in matter. Breath is the key to health and wellness, a function we can learn to regulate and develop in order to improve our physical, mental and spiritual well-being." http://www.appliedmeditation.org/Heart_Rhythm_Practice/meditation_types_of.shtml

Breathing is special in several respects, says Dr. Weil: it is the ...

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