Brain scans are proving that a regular practice of meditation can improve the physical structure of your brain … boosting your intelligence … in as little as six weeks.
While people have been meditating for thousands of years, it wasn’t until the 1970s that scientists started focusing on its brainy benefits. It’s still unclear how meditation actually changes the brain, but some scientists say devoting complete attention to one specific object or thought actually alters our neural networks . Please click the LIKE button below to share this article on Facebook, and to help us spread the message of the many benefits of meditation.  THANKS!
Sign in with Facebook or Google and earn a minimum of 10% member discount on all purchases. According to an article (download here) by Thomas Roth, PhD in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine titled, Insomnia: Definition, Prevalence, Etiology, and Consequences, up to 30% of the adult population in the United States suffer from some form of insomnia or sleep disturbance.
There are various causes for insomnia and it is beyond the scope of this short post to discuss them at any length. How meditation works for those of us who have insomnia is that it helps to stop the thinking that can prolong the episode of sleeplessness by allowing the mind to settle.
How do we begin, then, to work with the mind that can either prevent us from falling asleep in the first place, or awaken us once we’ve settled down into a nice and cozy night’s rest? As we become familiar with meditation practice, it’s important to apply our practice to as many different situations as possible, sharpening our ability to practice under less than perfect circumstances.
If you wake up in the middle of the night, like I do, begin meditation practice immediately. To get you started, link to the Related Posts (below) on this site and to these links on the methods of meditation and how to use your breath as an anchor. Jerome Stone is a Registered Nurse and the author of the book Minding The Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind.
The Nature of Mind, Nursing, and Rumi’s WisdomWhen Do You Allow Thinking During Meditation? Download TWO FREE CHAPTERS of Minding the Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind and a FREE E-Book!
Meditation is the practice of calming the mind, connecting with the body, and focussing on what is happening in the present moment. With meditation you can reduce stress and pain, be happier, more focussed, increase your memory, and generally improve your quality of life.
Basic and detailed instructions - one pointed concentration, walking meditation, body sensations, postures, lying down meditation, stretches for sitting, and tonglen meditation.
The Gayatri Mantra, Om Namah Shivaya, Maha Mrityunjaya, Ganesh Mantra, Lakshmi Mantra, Durga Mantra, Hanuman Mantra, Moola Mantra, Om Mantra, Aakhan Jor and So Ham.
Teachers from different traditions answer the same questions in this series of video interviews.
A hand-picked selection of the best meditation and spiritual videos available on the internet, from Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Barry Long, both Krishnamurti's, Pema Chodron and Douglas Harding. Everything on this website is offered freely, and donations help us pay for the ongoing cost of this website and are greatly appreciated. To provide information on meditation that is not specific to or funded by one particular meditation organization or philosophy.This website recognizes that we are all individuals, and as such may need different techniques or paths to achieve our personal goals. Basic and detailed instructions - one pointed concentration, walking meditation, body sensations, postures, lying down meditation, stretches for sitting, and tonglen meditation. Our thanks to Jaya Ashmore of Open Dharma for providing and allowing the use of these instructions.
These reactions are interesting in their own right, but for now open yourself again and again to the naked sounds themselves. Returning attention again and again to a fixed, relatively unchanging object sharpens and strengthens our ability to pay close attention to life. 3) Rest the eyes while seeing: practice relaxation whenever tension in the body-mind becomes noticeable.
4) Neither fight with nor entertain any images that seem to appear in the object.
5) Sometimes it can be useful to pinpoint the vision on a tiny detail of the object.
Once we can gather the mind in one-pointed concentration, just for a couple of minutes, then we are much better equipped to continue the inner journey.
Sustaining awareness of the physical sensations in the legs and feet while walking helps bring interest and openness into everyday life.
Simply experience the changing textures, temperatures, weights, densities, vibrations, and so on. It is the way we take in experience, the way sights, sounds, smells, tastes, physical sensations, and thoughts get immediately filtered as pleasant, unpleasant, or neither. We don't just see color, we automatically see a color we like, or don't like, or don't care abouta€”a color that is good, bad or unimportant. An unnoticed unpleasant feeling-tone that persists for half an hour can create a bad mood that lasts all day.
Cultivating loving kindness is a crucial counterpart to other meditation practices such as concentration, awareness, equanimity, and investigation. Traditionally prescribed to relieve fear for those who walked through jungles and slept in caves, loving kindness practice is an antidote for negativity, whether self-hatred, anger, insecurity or resistance to change. Formal loving kindness practice taps into the power of intention, the ability of the mind to set itself moving in a particular direction. If I have caused any living being harm, intentionally or unintentionally, I ask forgiveness.
If any living being has caused me harm, intentionally or unintentionally, I offer forgiveness. Connecting to the meaning, repeat the words slowly, perhaps in rhythm with your breath, for at least 5-10 minutes.
Note that at times it might be helpful to focus lovingkindness on oneself throughout the entire meditation period. For several minutes or more, offer lovingkindness to all the beings in the hall, room, garden, or landscape.
After several minutes, again expand your sense of the moment to include a broader area, offering loving kindness to the surrounding ashram or neighborhood or ecosystem. Then expand your awareness periodically to embrace the town, the state or province, the country, the planet and the universe. A third way to practice loving kindness is to focus on specific individuals, as usual starting with yourself. The third individual to receive your well-wishing is a person about whom you feel neutral. Once you have become familiar with the suggested forms of loving kindness cultivation, you can be creative and find your own forms. You may find it more effective to start with what is easier and move towards what is more difficult. Notice how striving to find an imaginary perfect posture is just a nagging, unpleasant, mind-game.
For many people, lying down is the position most suitable for being relaxed, open and still. It is really worthwhile to experiment with different degrees of softness and different heights of cushions and surfaces.

Make sure you are lying on a soft enough surface and preferably with no extra pillow under your head.
With feet resting firmly on floor or cushions, sit upright and without leaning on the back of the chair if possible. To rest is not only to relax but also to energize ourselvesa€”a paradoxical combination of qualities essential for the alchemy of meditation.
In contrast to sitting for meditation, lying down to rest or meditate brings a different atmosphere which can be disconcerting at first.
Experience shows that, yes, it is very likely that we will sometimes fall asleep and perhaps even snore! In the meditation hall, we can welcome sleep as well as waking and the many, often fertile, states of mind between sleep and waking. You may remember sometimes waking up from a sleep anda€”before plugging into your persona, your list of things to do, and your limited sense of who you area€”feeling for a moment a breezy, caring ease.
We desperately need to discover a different kind of wakefulness, clarity, and creative actiona€”a way of being moved from within by our connection with life and with our deepest wisdom.
These stretches, when done regularly for several months, can help the body sit more comfortably for a longer time. The most important thing to bear in mind while stretching is that each person's body is unique. It is especially important that you give the highest authority to your own body's wisdom, since I am not an expert.
Relaxing into the back of the body, connect with the natural generosity of the out-breath, and the natural receptivity of the in-breath. We can start to feel for a more spacious sense of presence by tuning into the space at the end of the out-breath, or by feeling the space around the body as we let the body breathe. The breath, the mind, and the body are just some of the sparkling things happening within gentle spaciousness. If we cannot feel very vividly the texture and flavor of what is important, then we may remember a time we experienced clarity, freedom, joy, feeling at home or loved, or a deep happiness for no reason. Again, choose something specific and clear, and tune into the texture: burning?
Remembering the night sky, we continue to let the inhalation bring us into intimacy with the texture of the difficult.
Join us for an afternoon of Community sharing fun, good food, drumming, chanting, Tibetan Bowls and dedication of the new Meditation Pyramid! Numerous studies suggest that regular meditation (about six hours a week) may actually change brain structure . And just remember, these studies don’t imply meditating will cause any changes in our brains, just that these cognitive abilities are associated with meditation. Om-ing is connected to better concentration and multitasking skills — things some of us might wish for when losing focus on the job .
Get regular email updates on site discounts, discount coupons, product additions and cultural articles. For example, if you are a male and wear a "42 inch" size Tee-shirt, you should choose an "XL" size garment from our store. For example, if you are a female and wear a "40 inch" size Tee-shirt, you should choose an "XL" size garment from our store. Some people experience sleeplessness due to primarily psychological stressors or disorders, while others experience insomnia with physiological factors as their primary cause. This progression of thinking and worrying becomes a ruminative pattern that worsens the sleeplessness.
After you’ve settled down, begin your meditation practice and continue until you fall asleep.
He also has over thirty years in a variety of health-care settings and is a long-time practitioner in meditation, with an emphasis in the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism and Christian and Kabbalistic Contemplation. Although they may differ considerably, most meditation practices aim to calm, or quieten the thoughts.
It helps us live more fully in the present instead of being lost in thoughts, images, regrets, and fears about the past and future.
They each have that special combination of supportive atmosphere and stillness that nurtures the cultivation of a quiet mind and depth of meditation practice. Thus we offer a range of methods and techniques in the hope that you may find something that resonates with you, and assists you in finding what you are looking for.
To begin with, invite your body to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible, lying down or sitting on a cushion, bench, or chair.
Whenever you remember, relax into the back of the body and allow attention to receive direct experience. With the sounds more in the background, let this same receptive attention open to the body: its weight and posture, movements and textures, warmth and coolness.
The opposite of what most of us are used to, this training of the mind is simple but not necessarily easy. If there is pressure on the eyes, unusual visual effects, such as seeing colors or losing focus, may occur.
The main focus is on the soles of the feet, as you walk back and forth at a normal or slow pace. It can be possible, to expand this alertness to the intentions to lift, move, or place a foot. Conversely, a good mood can make us more likely to give our attention to experiences with pleasant feeling-tone, to notice what we like, to think optimistically, etc. Diligent loving kindness practice brings easy sleep, pleasant dreams, protection from danger, a radiant face, a serene mind, and an unconfused death. The practices mentioned below use the silent repetition of words expressing love to self and others.
The Buddha said, “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. Once you have spent some time directing lovingkindness towards yourself, you can send it out to all beings in each of the directions one by one: north, south, east, west, above, and below. It can be difficult to think of such a person, since we usually jump to conclusions about others as soon as we meet them. For example, if sending love to yourself is excruciating, you can break from the usual pattern and begin with a benefactor or friend. This relaxed stillness makes it harder for the controlling mind to dominate and therefore leaves space for a deeper and more fluid awareness to come through.
Usually a yoga mat is too thin if you want to be able to stay still long enough for a deep meditation.
Usually a very small, soft pillow under your ear is enough, but be caring about your neck. Your head will need to tilt slightly to one side, and a soft pillow under the ear may suffice.
At the same time, you can place your upper arm along your hip and buttock, so that the fingers are near the coccyx. Bend the other leg to one side so that the knee points to the front and the foot points behind you. In spite of our conditioning to the contrary, sleeping is not a sin, and snoring is actually just one more sound of nature.

If one knows one just needs a nap, then feel free to do it in bed rather than the hall. The flavor of such moments gives us the taste of genuine meditation much more so than do our usual attempts to control or train the mind. The challenge is to stay in touch with your own body, and make sure that you don't overdo it. I am just sharing, as a friend, these stretches that I have gathered from various yoga facilitators and physical therapists over the last few years. Cross right leg in front of you, with knee pointing towards the front, and right foot close to, but not under, left buttock. With sole of left foot flat on floor and not far in front of left hip, turn left foot and bent left knee out towards left. Use a blanket under the back edge of your buttocks to help you sit up on your sitting bones.
Let the memory be as vivid as possible, as we remember sounds, temperature, posture, etc.
Then think of a moment of difficulty in your own or someone else's lifea€”not an overwhelming difficulty but something that moves your heart, something you can feel. On the out-breath, we can now also re-connect with the texture of what we love in life, the texture of what is important. As we get more familiar with this technique of reversala€”of stopping our usual running away from the difficult and burying the light--we may find that it helps us uncover a natural, uncontrived circle of transforming generosity. Researchers think meditation helps people deal with interruptions and work on multiple assignments more efficiently. We also send regular updates, inspiring quotes, and new guided meditations to you regularly.
Whichever type of insomnia one suffers from, there are basic meditative methods and practices that can be used in finding relief from loss of sleep. I’ve heard other insomnia sufferers say that the worry about sleeplessness can be as bad as the actual event of not sleeping. In the same way, if we wait until we’re bug-eyed awake during the middle of the night, trying to practice at that point might be ineffective at best.
Our inclusion of these links is for your convenience only and does not imply an endorsement of any material on such linked sites or any association with the site operators. To help yourself fully arrive here, breathe out two or three times as profoundly as possible. After a few minutes, begin again the practice of continually returning the attention to simple seeing. Awareness of intentions gives more space between unconscious urges and following through on them. It is not important to feel anything special, but rather to connect again and again to the meaning of the words. With the first few breaths, receive a sense of your body, heart, and mind as they are right now.
If while sending love to a large group you become distracted, then return to a smaller group for a while. Use a mattress, folded blanket, soft carpet, or a combination of two or more things. Even better for many people is to place pillows under the whole length of your legs, with the feet higher than the knees and the knees higher than the hips. Some people prefer this position without a pillow under the head, and others prefer to put a larger pillow under the whole upper body.
Some people need to have the hands not touching the body; others find certain hand positions helpful for meditation.
As with other cross-legged positions, please alternate legs in alternate sittings: if the left leg is in front in one sitting, then have the right leg in front in the next sitting. Cross left leg over right, so that eventually left knee will be over right and left foot will be next to right buttock.
Next, keeping in tune with the breath, circle the ankles: first together in each direction, then in opposite directions. Use left arm to pull left leg towards you on in-breath; down towards floora€”gentlya€”on out-breath. What makes life worth living?" We can throw the question into the gap after the out-breath, and just wait for a natural response, as the in-breath answers the out-breath. Meditation can also help students battle stress on exam day, possibly boosting their academic performance .
I’m not sure about cure, since underlying factors are usually to blame for sleeplessness.
What I can say is that by practicing meditation during periods of insomnia, my meditation practice gets stronger during other parts of my day and my life. Let about 25% of your attention rest in that place, while also staying open to sounds, thoughts, and the whole body.
Once the following methods are familiar to you, you may experiment with a focus other than words, such as visualization or the simple sense of love. It may be a facilitator, friend, or even someone like the Dalai Lama whom you may not know well. Be careful with your knees: if the legs roll out to the sides too much, you may feel strain in your knees after a while.
You may also like to put one hand under the hip of your straight leg, and the other near your forehead, face, throat or upper chest. Top of hips is slightly rolled forward, so that abdomen opens and spine is supported and straight. Clasp hands (or wrap a cloth) over ball of foot and gently pull leg down towards trunk. One study found people who meditated at least once a week for four years showed increased cortical gyrification , the folding of the cerebral cortex that helps people process information . Gently lower right knee, left hip, and torso towards floor until you find a good stretch.
If we are focusing on a specific person other than ourselves, we can direct the silkiness (or whatever texture) towards that person.
Notice if any image comes to match a sounda€”a mental picture of a bird for a birdsong, for example. Some people need to sit directly on the floor without a cushion, and some people need several cushions stacked up.
Is it possible to know the difference between the image of a bird and the simple sound? Notice if any other reactions come in response to the soundsa€”the body tightening or the mind judging and commenting.

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