Training the Mind through Mindfulness Meditation

It’s all in the MIND

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Mind over Body, a phrase that is commonly used these days, but how many of us actually practice it. The mind or brain is one of the most fascinating organs in our body. It is entirely responsible for our bodily functions. If an organ has such known abilities, one may wonder what are its other unknown abilities.

The brain has three main parts:

  • the cerebrum – responsible for higher functions like interpreting touch, vision and hearing, as well as speech, reasoning, emotions, learning, and fine control of movement
  • the cerebellum – coordinate muscle movements, maintain posture, and balance
  • the brainstem – a relay centre connecting the cerebrum and cerebellum to the spinal cord, allowing automatic functions like breathing, heart rate, body temperature, sneezing, cough etc.

Apart from the parts mentioned above, the brain is also separated into two hemispheres, right and left. The right hemisphere is responsible for creativity and artistic skills, while the left is geared towards logic. That’s quite a lot of work for an organ that weighs only 2% of the whole body weight. Believe it or not, the brain is one of the most under-utilised organ! Yeap that’s right, apart from the usual bodily functions to making a decision and learning a skill, we do not fully utilise its greatness. In fact researches have shown there is a strong connection between the way our brain thinks and our body feels or reacts. Countless studies have demonstrated the placebo effect, where a pill is given to a subject to cure an ailment. The subject believe it would and it does, simply because the brain believes it will cure the ailment even if the pill has no medicinal properties.

We are all born with this gift of inner knowing, however due to social conditioning through school, parents and friends, we lose that gift. Over the years, I have learnt how we can reclaim that power back. I have attended countless courses and workshops, specialising in different meditation techniques. These techniques include letting go of situations in our lives that do not serve our higher purpose, to manifesting the life we truly deserve for ourselves and even changing the physiology of our bodies. The type of meditation I am most intrigued with is mindfulness meditation. As compared to concentrative forms of meditation like mantra chanting, mindfulness meditation has shown to stimulate the middle prefrontal brain associated with both self observation and being aware of one’s awareness, a higher order thinking skill. Researchers have also connected the dotted lines on how mindfulness meditation components like focused attention, non judgemental experiences and loving -kindness, compassion practice have on specific physiological aspects.

Some benefits of mindfulness meditation include:

  • Restful sleep
  • Lowering stress levels
  • Banishing of negative feelings or people!
  • Improve attention
  • Manage chronic pain
  • Manage chronic illnesses

Practicing mindfulness meditation regularly allows us to be more in tune with ourselves spiritually, increase our intuition or ‘gut’ feel. Trusting ourselves is paramount, having that inner knowing will help us to make decisions that bit easy and improve our overall wellbeing. Having said that, mindfulness meditation is in no way a replacement for conventional treatment for illnesses, it is in fact use as an adjunct therapy. This helps conventional treatment to work better on the body with lesser side effects. Mindfulness meditation is one way we can train or give our minds a “work out”. Without doubt a strong, resilient mind the body will most definitely be strong too. It is also easier to manage challenging situations, instead of reacting to it, a trained mind will respond to the situation in a calm and collected manner. As mentioned earlier, the brain is responsible for all bodily functions, even feelings. Just by having a pleasant thought can easily lessen or diminish feelings of pain, similar to how we close our eyes and think of a lemon, we start to salivate.

Just like any form of exercise or even work, we need to enjoy the time spent in the activity and savour every moment of it. There are various forms of meditations out there, and it can be overwhelming for some. My advise is to go for as many classes or workshops as possible and find which one resonates with you.

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