Meditation Benefits for the Mind and Body

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Our minds and our bodies are connected. If we’re unhappy for an extended time, our bodies become weaker and more susceptible to illness. In the same way, when we’re physically run down, it adversely affects our minds.

If you have a healthy, peaceful mind, your perception of the world reflects that. You make informed decisions and can appreciate the goodness in your life and the lives of those around you. Meditation leads to a healthy, peaceful mind. It is something anyone can do, any time, any moment. To see what meditation can do for you, you just need to try it. Don’t imagine that you can’t!

Mind and Body Work Together

Mind and body are very different, but they definitely affect each other. We’re well aware of how important it is to take care of our bodies—we look and feel better—but it’s easy to forget that taking care of our minds is also very important.

With meditation, we can benefit our overall health by training in letting go of negative thoughts and encouraging more positive thinking. This will decrease stress and anxiety and give us a clearer mind. A clear mind leads to more discernment so that we make fewer mistakes and better decisions. With better decision-making, we have fewer regrets, and this positively impacts our overall well-being.

Well-being is an innate quality of mind, but the way we look at things clearly affects our entire physical and mental environment. When we’re absorbed in distractions, the innate well-being of mind gets lost or somehow restricted. We need to make an effort to uncover the well-being and goodness that are there already. For us, this effort is meditation, pure and simple. Meditation gives the mind space to recognize just how much knowledge is already there. And when there is clarity in the mind meditation also helps develop a healthy body.

Mind has the ability to know things. That is how mind is defined: something that is conscious and can know an object. But our minds don’t work well when they’re disturbed. Being distracted by overlapping thoughts and emotions is like asking our minds to “do this, but do something else first, but before that please think about this.” Our minds get frustrated and cannot focus. When we meditate, we focus on one thing at a time and our minds become relaxed. Our minds need time and space if they’re going to function as well as they can.

Importance of the Mind

Whatever we do – whether we are thinking, speaking or acting – brings either benefit or harm to ourselves and others.

Among thinking, speaking and acting, the most important thing is what we think. If we take good care of mind and thoughts, our verbal and physical actions will follow. When we meditate, we’re working with the mind, putting effort into making mind calm and clear. We’re making the mind more aware so that when there’s a problem, we won’t be as adversely affected or react in such unhelpful ways. Of course, we’ll always have feelings, but when the mind is disturbed, even small problems feel more magnified and unworkable than when we remain calm. From that small disturbance our minds create all sorts of bigger problems. Initially, we’re just uncomfortable with something, then that discomfort leads to seeing things negatively and benign things and situations can begin to feel harmful. Thinking a situation is worse than it is, we may become agitated, which then affects our discernment and actions.

It’s already a great help if we can avoid making problems that already exist even worse, but it’s the opposite of what usually happens. By taking care of the mind with meditation, we protect it. By the same token, our speech and actions are also protected, preventing us from saying or doing things we may regret. This is how we find ourselves in a much better position to help ourselves and others.

Motivation to Meditate

We can motivate ourselves to practice by remembering that dissatisfaction and negative emotions are contagious – by their very nature, they tend to harm others. As the saying goes, misery loves company. It is even more important to remind ourselves that good intentions and feelings are also contagious in just the same way. Just think of others. Even a small gesture of kindness has a ripple effect. If you smile at somebody, they’re touched and smile back at you.

Benefiting others starts with good intentions and taking care of our minds. And taking good care of our minds starts with meditation.

About the Author: Trungram Gyalwa, PhD

Trungram Gyalwa, PhD, Internationally Renowned Meditation Master & Scholar
Trungram Gyalwa is internationally renowned as a scholar, researcher and meditation master and holds a PhD in Indo-Tibetan studies from Harvard. Fluent in Tibetan, English, French, Chinese and Sanskrit, he is widely recognized for his ability to modernize ancient Buddhist teachings for today's challenges. He recently completed construction of the Dharmakaya Center for Well-Being, a new public center on 90-acres in upstate New York, with a goal to nurture holistic well-being through programs that awaken both mind and body. Learn more about Trungram Gyalwa here.

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