Meditation for Mental Tranquility and a Balanced Life

Ven. Dr. Bokannoruwe Devananda Thera

I have proved that job satisfaction and work performance could be enhanced through meditation. As a result of these studies, modern physician, have understood the therapeutic benefits of meditation and recommend meditation for certain patients who need to relieve stress. Meditation no longer remains as an art of developing mental and physical soundness confined to religious proponents, yogis and philosophers. Now many social sectors have identified the benefits of practicing meditation. It can be practiced even without any religious label but can be promoted methodically if practiced on a religious basis. It is not essential to devote much of one’s day to day working hours to practice meditation. One’s age limit or restlessness will not have a quantitative bearing on the range of advancement. If you wish to reduce stress, before anything else, you must strive to scrutinize and identify the reality of your own self. Then your mental and physical well-being is close at hand.

Meditation is a more advanced principle than ordinary mental relaxation. During ordinary mental relaxation the mind may pursue objects of various desires and attachments to keep your attention diverted in many directions. But in meditation your attention is concentrated on one particular object.

Meditation arrests the dispersion of attention. This condition enables total mental stability which is potent enough to realize the true nature of the transient would. SpiritualAdvancement The duration of meditation and the object of meditation put together is a joint programme to attain spiritual advancement. There are various methodologies to attain this state of mind. The cardinal feature common to all those methodologies is the fact that the relaxation of the mind is the beginning point of this process. Thereafter an object of concentration suitable to individual character must be chosen. Thereafter the thoughts have to be concentrated on the chosen object without permitting the mind to roam about. The mind is inert by nature and the tendency of the mind is always to abide by the object readily accessible. Dispersion of thoughts is almost natural but concentration needs much effort.

The practice of meditation is a remedy adopted by man from ancient times to appease the mind. Followers of major religions in the world including Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Muslims practices meditation as a means of spiritual development and attainment of religious aspirations.

Meditation in fact relieves mental stress, while providing physical relaxation in addition to facilitation co-existence. Meditation is effective to rid people of drug and smoke addictions and alcoholism.

Mental Faculties

The human mind is equipped with capabilities to analyse, plan, communicate and differentiate. There mental faculties are extremely essential to attain our various social and spiritual aspirations. Our mind is like a double edged sword. Therefore it has to be used very carefully. The brain is useful to man to innovate, to analyse, to argue, to take decisions and to deal with others. Therefore the failure to control its activity is sure to bring about the destruction of man. It can cause a sense of defeat while causing hurt. The practice of meditation will enable the stability of the mind and free ourselves from the disturbances anticipated as a result of external sources.

Meditation enables us to dispel negative thoughts and make room for the development of positive thoughts thereby bringing about absolute concentration of the mind which is serene and peaceful.

At present westerners are carrying out special clinical researches to study the impact of meditation on physical and mental development. Studies have revealed that meditation is effective to control many mental and physical ailments such a migraine, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, anxiety, panic attacks, mental stress, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, blood circulation, cancer, diabetes and asthma and that by meditation pulse and respiratory disorders could be controlled.

He who controls the mind which is going far, which is wandering about alone, which is formless, and whose abode is a cave, is capable of escaping the grip of the angel of death.

Any person venturing on the exercise of meditation confronts various obstacles at the initial stages owing to instability of mind. The situation is worse if he fails to control his thoughts and allow them to stray. Yet, one should not take this condition seriously. This state will vanish gradually. If one could be careful not to divert attention and let thoughts go astray the process of relief from this condition is faster. If you practice meditation daily in this manner, you begin to realize its value and enjoy its benefits. Then you are sure to continue the exercise regularly.

The Buddhist text Visuddhimagga speaks of 40 objects as suitable for concentration of thoughts. One who is intent upon meditation must choose one of them suitable to one’s character. Sounds, pirith chanting, colours, physical environment, respiratory system, and skeletons are some of those objects. Some aspirants choose emotional concepts such as love, aging, anger, and sympathy which are nontangible as objects of concentration. The human brain is divided in to two parts; the left and the right side sections. Of the two divisions the left communicate with the activities of thinking, speech, and writing while the right division is concerned with communicating inborn talents, conceptual thinking, feelings and power of comprehension.

When we are awake and active our thinking process emits fast electronic waves from the left side of our brain. These brain waves are called "Beta". This emission of Beta waves enables us to reminisce past experiences and identify the link between the past and the future.

When we are experiencing external happenings such as listening to melodious music, the right side of our brain emits electronic waves of lesser speed which are called "Alpha" brain waves. When this condition occurs, we become more emotional. The tendency of emitting "Alpha" electronic waves from the right side of our brain is higher when we are awake, often, before and after sleep. During our sleep our brain emits only "Theta" and "Delta" electronic waves. Balanced Mind Most of the time when a person is awake the brain waves that are emitted are Beta brain waves. The time for emission of Alpha waves is very limited such as one hour.

Mediation enhances the chances of emitting Alpha brain waves which in turn brings about equilibrium between the emission of Beta and Alpha brain waves. This state of mental condition is helpful to understand the true nature of the world through direct experiences.

Since a balanced mind is conducive to understanding the reality of the nature of the world, it is prudent to practice meditation regularly. May everyone follow the footsteps of the Buddha and practice meditation which helped the Supreme Bring to attain the blissful goal.

Florida Buddhist Temple, Florida, U.S.A.