If you were to ask me what the most important experience of my life has been, I would say it was learning to meditate. Meditation has been the key to my creativity, wellbeing, and happiness. I have enjoyed it in my own life, and it continues to be one of the most powerful healing tools we offer at the Chopra Center.
Meditation takes us from activity into silence, giving our body a very deep level of rest. Rest is how the body heals itself, which it does by throwing off the stress, fatigue, and toxins accumulated during our daily life. The silence of pure awareness is extremely refreshing to the mind, which finds it increasingly easy not to cling to old thought-patterns; rigid habits of thinking and feeling begin to fall away of their own accord. When this happens, the mind is actually learning to heal itself.
The most significant health benefits of meditation are stress reduction, better sleep, lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular function, improved immunity, and the ability to stay centered in the midst of all the turmoil that's going on around you. Meditation helps you do less and accomplish more.
During meditation, you aren’t forcing your mind to be quiet; you are experiencing the silence and stillness that lies beyond the background static of worry, resentment, wishful thinking, fantasy, unfulfilled hopes, and vague dreams in your head. Meditation brings us home to the peace of present-moment awareness. It gives us a direct experience of our Spirit and in the process dissolves the impurities which are preventing Spirit from shining forth in our lives.
In meditation we disrupt the unconscious progression of thoughts and emotions by focusing on a new object of attention. In the meditation technique we teach at the Chopra Center – Primordial Sound Meditation – the “object of attention” is a mantra that we repeat silently to ourselves. A mantra is pure sound, with no meaning or emotional charge to trigger associations. It allows the mind to detach from its usual preoccupations and experience the spaciousness and peace within.
Even more important than what we experience during our meditation sessions is the effect they have on the remaining hours of our day. With a regular meditation practice, life's inevitable stresses no longer have the power to throw us into chaotic mind-states, and all of our thoughts, actions, and reactions are infused with greater love, calm, and joy.