Meditation: Mind Medicine
Meditation is listening.
Meditation is going back to your own center.
Meditation is learning to relate to life, and to your environment, from who you are, not from the way other people try to define you.” —Swami Kriyananda
Medicine and meditation have more in common than their Latin root, which loosely means ‘to give attention to’ or ‘to think about.’ Meditation provides us with a precision tool for calming the mind and accessing subtle levels of consciousness. It gives us a way to find and experience the fullness of our entire Self. Meditation is not religion. It is a science with defined principles and verifiable outcomes. Meditation is essentially spiritual medication – a medicine for the mind and soul.
Meditation is a curative for the restive mind that helps to alleviate many chronic stress-related disorders. Meditation decreases oxygen consumption and respiratory rates, slows the heart rate, and normalizes blood pressure. Meditating also increases serotonin levels, calms the adrenals, and improves mood, behavior, concentration, and focus.
This is powerful stuff, and we have to give careful attention to the directions that come with the prescription to meditate at least 1-2x daily. Yogananda says that one way to deepen and balance our meditation is to make sure that we are doing enough selfless service. Meditation releases tremendous amounts of energy, and that energy needs to be harnessed and channeled. Essentially, we have to balance the energies that are entering and leaving our physical and subtle bodies as we practice meditation.
When we start to meditate in earnest, we access increasing levels of consciousness that may compel us to make wiser and higher-level choices. We may also have to prepare ourselves for the “empty nest.” Meditation is like the social worker who comes to retrieve and relocate bratty children such as anger, bitterness, resentment, and delusion. We have nurtured and fed these children long enough. The nice lady of meditation will come and take our delinquent, wayward children away—not because we have been negligent caregivers but because we have been too attentive and over protective of them. Fortunately, we will not stand in the doorway mourning the familial warmth of these wards. When these unhappy attachments are taken away, as Swami Sri Yukteswar says, it will be “the funeral of all sorrows.”