The Science of Spirituality Series: On the Ritual of Meditation
My daily routine includes a variety of rituals or practices that are spiritual in nature.
Modern science is now proving that many of these rituals have scientific benefits for our minds and body.
Active but not Calm?
Most of us become unaware that we might have become so wrapped up in a task that we aren’t calmly active,
Some clues that we are in a restless state, are short breath or racing thoughts.
Paying Attention While Juggling
Towards the end of 2022, the more I got pulled into too many directions, juggling professional and personal responsibilities, the more I started to slowly compromise my “non-negotiables” rituals.
I found myself saying, “I’ll do my morning meditation as soon as I get such and such done.”
As many entrepreneurs can relate, we often have a very long list of “to-do’s”. Often we drown in guilt for not giving our attention to our family and then feel overwhelmed for not being enough either personally or professionally.
Overwhelm occurs when you are living in the past, or the future, but are unable to be present in the moment. As a mom, wife, and daughter I can assure you that “those moments” – first steps, your spouse or partner’s smile, your parent’s hug – are ones for which I hold deep gratitude.
Jack Kornfield, bestselling author of The Wise Heart Research shares that we are missing 50% of our lives. Why? Because we aren’t paying attention!
Do you really want to not be present for those moments?
Not being able to pay attention obviously comes at a price!
In a world that constantly fights for our attention, we need mindfulness practices such as meditation to remain focused in the present. And meditation is a special form of mindfulness
The significant difference between humans and other animals is our ability to focus on something for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, much like other animals, we can easily lose focus and get distracted.
Awareness of Calmness
Have you heard the expression, “Where your attention goes energy flows?” Well, my thoughts had become restless, and my energy was scattered, perhaps on overdrive by being very active but not calm.
In this state, I was immensely active. Perhaps on OVERDRIVE. But I lost my calmness as my spiritual practices started losing continuous consistency.
When I reintegrated my refined rituals early this year, I witnessed with neutrality the dichotomy between feeling so restless and then stepping back into a space with calmness.
It’s through rituals like meditation that I received the gift of this awareness.
There is an energetic field that’s around each and every one of us. Through meditation, you realize your own space and what is within your space.
The energy you allow within your space affects your state of calmness.
Your awareness is your superpower!
Awareness gives you the opportunity to inquire leading to change.
After meditating inquire into who you are becoming, figure out if you feel comfortable with the trends, and assess what needs to change to remain actively calm, and calmly active.
My Guru Paramahansa Yogananda shares that the practice of meditation is “active calmness.” Passive calmness, as in sleep, is essentially different from active calmness—the positive state of peace found in scientific meditation. The state of constant calmness (neutralization of restless thoughts) is attained by the continuous practice of meditation…”
By scientific meditation, what I am describing is a form of mindfulness meditation, practiced with breath work and breath awareness, with closed eyes, and a gentle gaze at the point between the eyebrows, which is the prefrontal cortex area that covers the frontal lobe, which is the part of the brain responsible for rational thinking. According to research meditation increases the gray matter in the prefrontal cortex linked to attention control.
My 2023 Meditation Sankalpa
In 2023 I have consciously chosen to refine my meditation schedule so that I practice meditation as the very first thing I do, as opposed to doing it later in the morning.
Because “later” sometimes becomes “too late”…LOL!
Access Your FREE Sankalpa Guide Here & Listen to my Sankalpa Guided Meditation to the right.
My intention is to strive to be “calmly active, and actively calm”,
I’ve Sparked my Sankalpa (my intention set with a firm conviction, and inspired action) so that as soon as I wake up, I prop myself on the edge of my bed and meditation for at least 12 minutes.
The Science behind a 12 Minutes Meditation
Dr. Amishi Jha, author of “Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention” argues that at least 12 minutes a day strengthens attention and working memory. She’s conducted rigorous studies with armed forces.
You are probably thinking, wait 12 minutes!
The goal is to maintain attention for 12 minutes for a scientific reason.
Think of meditation as a way to maintain attention at any given length of time. It’s analogous to getting fit. Only, in this case, you are going to ride the mind bike. The bike that workout and rewire the brain. For at least 12 minutes a day, practice 1) Focus, 2) Notice, and 3) Re-direct Your Attention. Think of your practice as similar to refocusing a flashlight. You are creating new grooves for the mind, so each time your mind wanders (which it will) you re-direct it back, and continuously and consistently repeat the process.
Meditation can help us cultivate a sense of awareness that isn’t so reactive and easily distracted. Meditation is the highest form of mental attention training that rewires the neural pathways of the mind to focus on what you want. And this practice trains your nervous system to bring about homeostasis.
It’s doable, and you are worth the investment. Small steps. Consistently. Continuously. And with Grace.
Remember, meditation IS NOT a space or time to sit with EMPTY THOUGHTS.
Join my meditation circle if you need to ease into a meditation practice!
P.S. Post #12adayPeakMind tag with a picture of where you meditated on my Instagram (omni.mindfulness) if you meditate for 12 minutes a day at least once this week, if not more.