Meditation has become a mainstream activity in many parts of the world. Though the main reason to meditate is for spiritual awareness, there are additional benefits from learning to focus our attention within. One of these is the healing it brings about in our physical bodies. Over the past few decades, doctors and scientists have been studying the body-mind connection and its relationship to physical health. Medical research has indicated a link between certain illnesses and our state of mind and emotional condition. It has been found that when we undergo mental stress, emotional pain or depression, our physical resistance to disease drops. We become more susceptible to catching a disease as our ability to keep our immune system in top working order decreases.
Science has pinpointed that certain diseases such as digestive problems, breathing problems, heart disease, and migraine headaches, to name a few, may sometimes be caused due to stress. Thus, we arrive at the possibility that by reducing stress in our lives, we can improve our physical health and well-being. To begin to explore this possibility, it is imperative to understand the root cause of stress in our lives.
Life has become increasingly complicated. With competing priorities, family and social obligations, increasing responsibilities, and looming deadlines, people seem to have too much to do and not enough time to do it. We hold jobs that require long hours and too much responsibility. Some work two jobs and raise a family. Trying to keep up with it all can leave us overwhelmed, frustrated, and agitated. Too much pressure often causes people to snap—we become irritable and off-balance. We begin to act in ways that are not “us.” We may even take out our frustrations on our loved ones and hurt those we love the most. All of this causes stress and strain to build up in our lives.
Medical research has shown that meditation can help reduce stress in our lives. In doing so, it can reduce our chances of developing a stress-related illness. How does meditation work to reduce stress?
When we meditate on the inner Light and Sound of God, we come in contact with God’s love within us, which fills us with inner peace, joy, bliss and happiness. This experience takes our attention away from the stresses and pains of the outer world. As we spend time in meditation, we create a calm haven in which we restore equilibrium and peace to our mental functioning. Researchers have recorded that the brain activity in people who meditate reflects a state of deep relaxation. Their mind becomes calmer. The tranquil effect of meditation lasts beyond the time spent in meditation. We become more in control of our reactions and maintain an even keel in the face of conflict, or in the midst of turmoil and strife. It also gives us a private retreat of bliss and peace within us that we can retreat to anytime we wish. This refuge helps take our attention away from the pains of the world and gives us another mechanism by which we can reduce stress in our lives.
Another benefit is the change in our angle of vision. As we experience God’s love, we find there is more to our existence than what goes on in the physical world. We become more detached from events and problems that might have bothered us in the past and see life from a higher angle of vision. We see the larger picture of life, and over time, develop the equilibrium of mind to function more effectively and more peacefully in this world, which can further reduce stress and calm the body and mind. Thus, spending regular time to accurately meditate is an effective means to help reduce stress and increase a sense of calm, equilibrium and peace in our lives, which heals our mind and emotional state and in turn, can help us heal our physical body.
The author is the head of the Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission.