Studies have shown that meditating regularly can help relieve symptoms in people who suffer from chronic pain; MIT and Harvard researchers have found a possible explanation for this phenomenon. In a study in the journal Brain Research Bulletin, researchers found that people trained to meditate over an eight-week period were better able to control a specific type of brain wave called alpha rhythms. “These activity patterns are thought to minimize distractions, to diminish the likelihood stimuli will grab your attention,” says Christopher Moore, an MIT neuroscientist and senior author of the paper. “Our data indicate that meditation training makes you better at focusing, in part by allowing you to better regulate how things that arise will impact you.”
Before starting meditation it is best to make a commitment to practice on a regular basis, preferably same time every day. Personally, I enjoy getting up a little earlier each morning and starting my day with a mediation practice. This is a commitment I have made to myself knowing the rewards will be plentiful. Create a quiet place, wear loose, comfortable clothing, and sit in a comfortable cross-legged position; most people like to sit on a cushion. Be relaxed but at the same time awake and attentive. Meditation starts with the breath, bringing awareness to the breath will help calm and clear your mind. Notice how the breath moves in and out automatically, effortlessly. Don’t try to manipulate it in any way. Notice all the details of the breath, the feeling of the air moving in and out of the nostrils, the way the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Be natural in your efforts, close your eyes and take a few moments to “simply be.” Notice whatever is happening in the moment, physical sensations, thoughts and feelings, acknowledge and let it go, allowing yourself to settle into the practice. The mind may wander away from the breath; easily bring your attention back to it.
Meditation is one of the most natural and profoundly rewarding of all human activities. It connects you with your own inner powers of wisdom, clarity, and love. Be kind and gentle with yourself as you begin your meditation practice.