Whole Life Magazine

August / September 2016

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By Sejal Shah yoga & spirit The Power of Personal and Group Meditation T here is no doubt life can be stressful. Some have even de- scribed life as a series of problems to be solved. Wheth- er they are problematic, traumatic, joyful or exciting, life changes often create stress and restlessness, and it's important to fi nd ways to keep the pressure from building up and over- whelming us. One way to release the pressure is through a few minutes of meditation and introspection every day. Meditation gives the mind a deep rest, and the deeper we are able to rest, the more dynamic we become. When you're fi rst start- ing, you may fi nd the pro- cess of quieting the mind diffi cult, and start to think reaching a thoughtless state is impossible. But it's not. It may take some time to achieve that point, but that's one reason it's called a "practice." What is meditation? Meditation is the mind without agitation. It's when the mind is in the present moment and there is no hesitation or anticipation of what is coming next. The mind comes back to the home source, which is peace and joy. It's a delicate and effortless art of doing nothing. Beyond all the chatter in our minds, there exists in all of us a silent, peace- ful, blissful, beautiful place that is intact and unbroken. Turning our attention to this silent chamber brings relief both from the intrusiveness of outer affairs and from the incessant voices stir- ring within. This silence cleanses the mind, giving it much need- ed rest and making room for clearer perception and new ways of looking at life and its challenges. In our highly interconnected world where stress catches on faster than the eye can see or the mind can perceive, meditation is no longer just a luxury, but a necessity. To support us in being unconditionally happy and at peace, nothing is more power- ful than meditation. A calm and balanced state of mind, good concentration, clarity of perception, improvement in communi- cation and creativity, blossoming of skills and talents, peaceful and pleasant vibes, an unshakeable inner strength, increased immunity and healing power and the ability to connect to an in- ner source of energy, relaxation and rejuvenation are all natural results of meditating regularly. The power of more than one There is a defi nite power in collective intentions. When we med- itate in a large group, it has a greater impact on our conscious- ness. According to the super-string theory in physics, waves of vibration fl ow from everything in the universe, and these waves affect our collective con- sciousness. When we meditate together, collec- tive consciousness rises and the peace that is cre- ated becomes palpable. Many studies have shown positive individual, social and even political results correlated to synchronized group meditations. A group can also sup- port an individual's in- ward journey by providing feedback to help perfect the technique and quiet the mind. Tips for beginners There are hundreds of meditation techniques to explore. As the process is described by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living and recognized meditation expert, "Every day you brush, that is dental hygiene. Similarly, every day you meditate, that is mental hygiene." More than 60 independent studies have demonstrated the benefi ts of Sudarshan Kriya (SKY), a power- ful breathing technique taught in the Get Happy program that draws an individual into a deep state of meditation and has been shown to have long-lasting, positive effects. You can take a trial run with meditation online, at artofl iving. org. A qualifi ed teacher, whomever you choose, can enhance your journey and help you learn the proper techniques to reach inner bliss. —Sejal Shah teaches yoga and meditation and is the founder and director of the Wellness and Life Style Excellence Center. The next Get Happy program starts August 9 in Los Angeles. Also available online. MENTAL HYGIENE august/september 2016 21

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