Meditation helps people find inner serenity

August 22nd, 2008 - 11:13 am ICT by IANS  

Dusseldorf (Germany), Aug 22 (DPA) Who does not know the daily aggravations brought on by work, relationships and the pursuit of one’s own needs, and who hasn’t sometimes wished for more peace and quiet? Meditation is one possible means of achieving them.Lutz Hertel, a psychologist at a German wellness association in Dusseldorf, is convinced of one of its effects: “We see a lot more value in meditation than in massages or wellness packs. When meditating, you’re active, which is the opposite of most other wellness applications.”

And the effects are longer lasting.

Scientific studies conducted by Germany’s professional association of internists in Wiesbaden have shown that meditation combined with breathing techniques can have a positive effect on minor to high blood pressure.

In addition to physical advantages, it also can affect spiritual wellbeing.

“Meditation literally means taking measure and orientating yourself,” said Gerhard Tiemeyer of Germany’s society for alternative medicine in Hanover.

Meditation has many ways of reaching the desired result, from sitting still to breathing exercises and from dance to movement.

In all the techniques, the brain must be active, concentrating on one word, one sound, one image - something it can use like crutches to hold random thoughts still.

People searching for a suitable personal method of meditation should ask themselves what they like to do best. Mantra meditation and sound meditation work using sound and speech. People who like movement can try qigong, tai chi or particular principles of yoga.

“Yoga is not only about moving the body, but is also a form of self-recognition that integrates breathing and body awareness with the intellect or spirit of the body,” said Anke Rebetje of the German association for yoga instructors in Goettingen. And it’s suitable for everyone.

“In yoga we train the physical condition for meditation through asanas, which is a yoga body position,” said Rebetje, adding that meditation is about disengaging, while yoga is a method of self-exploration. “In the end the point is to let everything go.”

The duration of each technique varies. Initially, 10 minutes a day is sufficient, said Tiemeyer.

“Meditation is something that when starting out, you just have to get used to, but it’s not something you should feel forced to do. It’s counterproductive to do it with iron discipline for two hours a day.”

Rebetje also considers the time factor irrelevant.

“I can understand the essence of life within two minutes or I can take 20 years or more and still not understand,” she said. Therefore, in the end it’s not important how long it takes until meditation works. It’s the quality of the insight that one achieves and the transformation in one’s habits which is important, said Teimeyer.

Meditation results in a few minutes of calm and separation from stress, but people who don’t change their everyday lives can meditate until they are blue in the face and it won’t make any difference, she said.

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