Meditation Instructor Program Article on Meditation Tips and Strategies

Meditation is extremely healthful.  It has been proven in multiple studies that is reduces stress and stress response hormones in the body.  This reverses multiple stress induced damage to the body.  Furthermore, it helps the mind be more alert and mindful.   These mind and body health reasons are enough for many to wish to learn meditation but many whether spiritual or secular struggle with meditation.  They have a difficult time mastering it.  This blog article looks to point out a few helpful hints and strategies to help others mediate more effectively from a health point of view only.

Tips to properly meditate can help you maximize your meditation experience. Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program

 

Meditation Instructors can teach their students many ways to better meditate and find mindfulness, peace and reduced stress.  The first step is finding a place to meditate.  Many suggest a quiet place free from outside noise and distractions.  Some places may be outdoors while others may be indoors.  Some even create their own meditation room equipped with lighting and calming sounds.  These are all excellent ways to help the body relax and allow the inner healing of meditation to take place.

Position is also key.  Many recommend sitting but with a straight posture.  If one is too comfortable, then they may fall asleep.  Some may very well use meditation or like states to fall asleep but this not the purpose of mental meditation.  One is to be relaxed but is to recharge the mind not so much the body.  This is why it is good to meditate when one is not overly fatigued or just ate.  Instead one should become comfortable and relaxed but not to the point of falling asleep.  Comfort to the body is key through proper temperature and sound to set the proper mood for the mind to find peace without distractions beyond falling asleep.

Breathing is one of the most fundamental aspects of meditation.  Breathing from the stomach is critical.  These deep breathes refresh the body and lungs.  They also create a rhythmic function of breathing in and out.  Breath is key to life in Eastern Meditation and without proper breath work, then meditation cannot be successful.  One should be able to breath multiple times to relax the body and reduce stress.  One should also focus on the breath as it enters the nostrils and is exhaled through the mouth.  Focus on the breath physically but also how it gives the body life.  One should focus on every element of the body from head to toe and visualize the body becoming relaxed with each set of breaths.

In addition to breathwork, mantras play a key role in focus.  The words keep one focused and should correlate with the breathwork.  Two part phrases or sacred words can be utilized as well as words that are conducive to good health.  Which ever word chosen, it needs to have special meaning to anchor one into the meditation event.  Mantras and sacred words can help individuals maintain the importance of focus.

Many who meditate deal with distractions.  They are upset when the distractions occur.  While breathwork and mantras help one return to focus, it is important to  not over fret about distractions and thoughts that may enter into the mind.  Instead, friendly dismiss them and return to the focus of the mantra or breathing.  They may return, but try to remain mindful of the moment and of the meditation itself.

Meditation can has many physical benefits when properly done. Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program

 

Those who seek to control the meditation session, or actively will certain states or thoughts or feelings miss the whole entirely and purpose of meditation.  Meditation is passive and is open to what may flow into the mind and it is accepting.  As the body calms and the world becomes more quiet, the mind can better hear.  For those who are only secular, the mind becomes more sharp.  It is better able to remember, organize and remain mindful of the moment.  For those who are spiritual it gives one an awakening with the divine.

Whether religious or secular, the mind and body health benefits of meditation are undeniable.  The tips above can help individuals properly prepare themselves physically as well as properly guide them through the meditative process with a more calm, passive and peaceful mind.  The end results will clearly help individuals in their overall health but also their various life professions and relations with others.

If you would like to learn more about meditation, then please review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Meditation Instructor.  If one is religious or secular the program will help one learn the necessary skills and knowledge to not only improve oneself but also to guide others in meditation.  Please review the program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.

 

Other resources on Meditation

“Mindful” has an excellent article on “How to Meditate”  Please click here

Please review Healthline’s article, “5 Benefits of Metta Meditation and How to Do It” by Kirsten Nunez.  Please click here

Please review AIHCP’s closer look at meditation its video, “Foundations of Meditation”. Please click here

Meditation Instructor Article on Utilization of Eastern Techniques in a Western World

Meditation is a key component of religious faiths.  It leads to a closer union with God and overall better mental and spiritual health.  It differs in aim from East to West but shares striking similarities as well as subtle differences to those not familiar with world religions.

In the West it is more prayerlike and focuses on a closer union.  These stages of contemplation are to become closer to God and allow the creature to hear the Creator.  It is the highest form of mental prayer.  As prayer it looks to adore, thank, ask, and offer reparation.  It however is a deeper longing to be in union with God.   It occurs after many of these intents have been expressed.  It occurs when the mind becomes more quiet and focus on deeper spiritual truths found in Scripture emerge.  Its central focus is on the Word of God and that serves as the entry into meditation.  It is never forced but is a knocking on the door to be open to God’s word and His presence.  It looks for union but a union that identifies a distinction between divine and creation.

Applications of Eastern Meditation can be beneficial for health as well as certain techniques applicable within Theist traditions with caution

 

In the East, the spirituality is to become one with the ground of all being which is quite different than the idea of a personal deity as found in the West.  It looks for a union that helps the individual find the collective nature of the divine that is found all being.  It is a reunification with the divine and a reabsorption into it.

Yet emerging out of the East’s goal to become re-immersed into the divine, greater care and time was taken into physical preparation.   Ideals on concentration, centering and mindfulness are emphasized to retain focus, passiveness and mindfulness of moment. Various postures, mantras and breathing techniques are essential to relax the body and allow it to be freed from physical distractions. Eastern Meditation within its various techniques to promote silence and peace are unique and have value well beyond the religious.

Medically, these relaxation techniques reduce stress and counter the sympathetic response within the body.  These practices lower blood pressure and help the body find a better balance with the mind and soul.   Balance is key to a healthy body and the balance that is spiritually reached in Eastern meditation is essential to good health.

Many practice these Eastern techniques for stress and anger management and can do so successfully.   The relaxed states are not contrary to any Western faiths if the spiritual end is not sought.  It was due to this that some Christians have incorporated many of the physical strategies of the East into Western and Christian meditation.  Thomas Merton was one who travelled to the East to learn of these techniques in hope of finding ways to utilize within Christianity.  Thomas Keating also followed in these steps and developed Centering Prayer which looked to prepare a Christian to enter into a state of prayer and meditation with God.

The similarities of meeting with God in meditation in East and West were hence combined but with different outcomes.  Instead of becoming part of one being, the Western school looked to become more in union with God and all His creation but not in a pantheistic form.  Creator was still distinguished.  An “I” existence was still preserved although union with everything was still sought through God’s presence in everything.  Hence God’s presence in everything, an accepted Christian idea, replaced the idea of God is everything and one is part of God.

Mantras in Centering prayer were utilized to meet the spiritual desire of the individual.  Dr Benson in his Relaxation Response taught that spirituality is not necessary for healthy meditation but those who find something spiritual or something to connect to can utilize religious mantras of a particular faith to elicit the same mental and physical effects.  Hence a Jewish individual could use the word Shalom, or a Christian could say Jesus, or a Muslim could say Allah, as a focusing word.  Utilizing other religious texts are also helpful.

Hence, the utilization of Eastern techniques was incorporated into Western Meditation.

With that said, many contend that if taken too far, one can easily fall into Eastern spiritualities so intimately connected with Eastern Meditation.  Those of an Eastern spirituality naturally have no issue with this, but those who do not see God as a ground of all being and everything in essence divine, would find this contrary to their faith.  Both traditions contend a passive attitude to hear the Divine but in regards to what the divine is and how one interacts is essentially different.  In Western culture, caution in intention and exposing the body to more out of body experiences should be avoided.  Some in the West in fact refuse to use any Eastern techniques in religious meditation.  This is perfectly fine because Western Meditation and its own spiritual look for the quiet is well documented especially in The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius.  However, visualization, concentration and peace and quiet are still essential in these exercises as one focuses on the Word of God or life of Christ.  Various similar ideals of visualizing are utilized as found in the East.  There are always similarities to find God in the quiet.

Regardless of the spiritual direction, incorporating Eastern meditation on a physical level only can be beneficial.  Businesses look to Eastern meditation to help employees not only be less stressed but also more focused and mindful towards success.  Furthermore, the studies from Dr Benson show clearly how meditative states reverse stressful sympathetic responses of fight or flight.  Fight or flight responses are good for true danger but with the everyday stressors of modern life, they can be detrimental to health.  Chronic stress kills.  Meditation is a possible solution to reducing chronic stress.

Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.

One who is religious can use Eastern meditation secularly only, or if religious, utilize it for its Eastern roots of spirituality.  Those of the East can apply it equally while those in the West can apply it spiritually but with caution, utilizing only partial aspects of it and converting it to a Theist formula with a Theist end.  That is the amazing reality of Eastern Meditation.  Its techniques void of Eastern spiritual ends can be utilized in other religious traditions as well as purely secular ends for health-and for those who are practice Eastern spirituality, then it is fits every aspect of life without editing.

If you would like to learn more about Eastern Meditation then please review AIHCP’s Spiritual Counseling, Stress Management and Meditation Instructor Programs.  If you are more interested in Christian Meditation, then please review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Program.

The programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking how to better meditate but also help others learn the secrets and techniques of meditation.  The program is also beneficial to mental and healthcare professionals looking to incorporate meditation into their practices.,

 

Meditation Instructor Certification Article on Sleep and Breathwork

Meditation and breathing can help the body relax and also help one fall asleep.  If one is struggling with falling asleep, breathing techniques can help the body better prepare for the sleep state.  Many individuals never learn to utilize natural breath work and meditation to help insomnia but through simple breath steps, a good night’s sleep can become a reality.

Difficulties with sleep can be reduced through meditation and breath work. Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Certification

 

The article, “The Beginner’s Guide to Using Breathwork for Better Sleep” by Ruby Thompson from Healthline takes a closer look at breath work and meditation to help sleep.  The article states,

“If you’ve tried and failed using meditation as a tool for sleep, breathwork (aka deep or diaphragmatic breathing) might be the perfect solve for reducing stress, controlling pain, and getting better sleep. Try incorporating the tips above into your nightly (and daily) routines – and remember: practice makes perfect. In time, you’ll be sleeping like a baby.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Meditation Instructor.

Meditation Instructor Program Article on Mindfulness and Business

Great article about mindfulness training for employees.  Many businesses are looking to meditation to help employees deal with less stress and increase productivity while working.  Mindfulness pushes all these benefits to employees for business’s wise enough to invest in this type of training for their employees.

Mindfulness training benefits many businesses and firms. Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program

 

The article, “11 Vital Parts Of Mindfulness Training For Employees” from Forbes looks closer at how mindfulness training is an important element in employee mental health.  The article states,

“Mindfulness training has got a lot of attention in the world of business lately, as many companies look at it as a means of promoting a more positive outlook in employees. Mindfulness training may encompass things like meditation and positive thinking exercises to ingrain these habits in workers. However, if a business is genuinely invested in mindfulness and the positive mental state of its workers, the training needs to go deeper. The most vital parts of mindfulness come not from positive thinking and meditation alone but the business’s approach to its employees.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Mindfulness is so important in today’s business world that training employees in its use and benefits is a good organizational move for the entirety of the firm or business.  Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. Many Meditation Instructors are hired by firms to present education and training in mindfulness.  A certification from AIHCP can help with this.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Meditation Instructor.

Meditation Instructor Certification Article on Awareness

Awareness or consciousness is a feature singular to humanity on Earth.  Only humanity can reflect on being itself.  Comprehension of why one does something and understanding it as well as understanding of not being conscious.   In Meditation, consciousness and awareness are key in deep and good inner silence.  Being conscious of basic breathing functions and regulating them are all essential.

Consciousness is a human trait that allows self reflection. This is key in meditation. Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program

 

The article, “How The Meditation Technique, ‘Wheel Of Awareness,’ Can Improve Your Well-Being” by Nancy Clark looks in more detail how consciousness in meditation plays into one’s overall health.  She states,

“How are the mind, brain and consciousness connected? The brain is an organ in the head, but there is more to it than that. According to Siegel, mind is your “subjective experience of life.” This is unique to each person. It’s how you receive and process information. Consciousness is the awareness of being aware. It is becoming the observer to your thoughts and experience, as well as the experiencer.”

To review the entire program, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Certification Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Meditation Instructor Program

Meditation Instructor Program Article on Meditation and the Overthinking Mind

Overthinking minds naturally are more difficult to deal with when meditating.  Minds like this cannot relax and they analyze even the function of meditation itself to the point no meditation can occur.  These issues are difficult to overcome and make meditation a little more harder at first.  It is important to learn how to silence the mind and find a way to reduce the overthinking when attempting to relax.

Learning to quiet the overthinking mind is key to meditation. Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program

 

The article, “9 Tips for Meditating When You’re an Overthinker” from HEALTHLINE reviews how one can quiet the mind and stop overthinking while trying to meditate.  The article states,

“Although I’m a long-time meditator, I continually struggle to truly turn off my head. Enter my “monkey mind,” the intrusive, restless thoughts that derail me from finding mental calm. Even when I set aside time for stillness, a riptide of thoughts frequently washes me out to a sea of worries, concerns, and — wait, am I making chicken or fish for dinner tonight? Although the idea of quieting the mind and blissing out in meditation sounds wonderfully rejuvenating, actually achieving a meditative state can be an uphill battle for those of us with overactive thoughts.”

To read the entire article, please click here

It is well worth learning how to quiet the mind and utilize the healing and soothing benefits of meditation.  The peace gained is well worth it and the quiet from overthinking can replenish any person.

Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Meditation Instructor.

 

Meditation Instructor Program Article on PTSD and Transcendental Meditation

PTSD is a severe reaction to trauma.  It haunts millions, especially veterans who have witnessed war at its worst.  Transcendental Meditation may be able to help individuals relax and process the trauma in more productive ways.  It has the possibility to heal the mind and soul through the process.

PTSD is a serious condition due to severe past trauma. Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program

 

The article, “Could transcendental meditation treat PTSD?” from MedicalNewsToday takes a closer look at how Transcendental Meditation can help veterans with PTSD. The article states,

“A common plot device in fiction finds a character overcoming past traumatic experiences by finally confronting their pain. In real life, recovery is not so simple. While therapies for people with PTSD typically focus on facing one’s trauma, a new study finds that the restful effects of TM may more readily help people with PTSD heal.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Meditation Instructor

 

Stress Management Certification Article on The Nature of Worry

Human beings worry everyday.  They worry about global politics, national concerns, sports, domestic concerns at home, finances, family, health, weather, relationships, or the most simplistic interactions.  Some worries are deeper and more critical to survival while others are very trivial in nature but if we let worries dominate life, then they can cause unneeded damage to the body.

The Serenity Prayer teaches one to let go and to control what can be controlled and to release what cannot be controlled.  In understanding this basic ideal, one can releases oneself from the conscious reality of worry and focuses instead on productive reactions to legitimate concerns.   Worry itself is the direct mental process of dealing with problems.  It is essential because without it, important aspects of life would go untended to.  Hence worry is a thinking process that is essential to life but like any function, it is when it misused or overused that issues arise.

Individuals worry all the time. Worry is part of life but it should not be an aspect that overwhelms the mind especially with worries that are insignificant or cannot be changed. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Certification

 

Anxiety, an emotional response to worry, can cause immense physiological damage to the body.  Anxiety is a dread of what may or may not happen.  It is unfounded and based on numerous misconceptions or unreal expectations.  85 percent of bad things the mind can conjure, usually never happen.  This worry that leads to unnatural state of anxiety is something that negatively affects the sympathetic nervous system.  In addition to anxiety, the worries that surround one become stressors.  Stress itself is a physical response to something and again activates the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn, activates such hormones as adrenaline that increases blood pressure and heart rate, as well as tightening muscles and closing down the digestive system to more fight or flight responses.  These responses are good if truly in physical danger, but the mental stressors and worries of life usually do not require such an extreme reaction.  If in a constant state of anxiety and stress, the body will begin to hurt itself through these responses.

This is why it is so important to worry over what truly matters most and when worrying, to worry well.  Worrying over things that cannot be changed do not help to the situation.  Worrying late at night, losing sleep, and becoming ill, do not help situations either, but individuals due to a variety of bad worrying habits, or mental ticks are unable to turn off bad worrying.  In effect, they become sick from worrying.  They do not possess the ability to shut down the sympathetic nervous system to find relaxation.

The Parasympathetic nervous system is the opposite of the Sympathetic.  It lowers the heartrate, blood pressure, and relaxes the body’s muscles and permits better digestion.  It is imperative to return to this type of operation and find new balance.  Individuals with panic and anxiety disorders that explode with worry do not have the abilities to find that balance.  Many times they turn to a variety of medications which only blanket the symptoms but once untaken, do nothing for the body to learn to balance

This is why it is so important to learn to worry well.  In the MED300/SM550 course, the text and CD of Dr. Weil is utilized to teach individuals how to use meditation and visualization as a way to combat and cope with worry.  Dr. Weil emphasizes that one needs to place worries in three different columns.  Situations that can be changed, may be changed, and cannot be changed.

Worry should be proportionately applied to things that can be changed.  Through identification of what one wishes to accomplish, one can then follow a plan of action, choosing the best options and how those options will be carried out.  Affirmation of success is key as a follow through.   Dr Weil encourages visualization as a technique in meditation to find a quiet and peaceful place where one can find an inner wisdom guide, which in actuality is one’s unbiased subconscious.  Some individuals make this spiritual by prayer and speak with Christ or Mohammed or Buddha, while others relate to deceased parents.  This inner wisdom can sometimes supply fresh insight into an issue that seemed difficult prior.

In reaching these states of meditation, Dr Weil believes in the importance of breathing as a source of helping the body again find balance with the Parasympathetic system.  Focused, deep, longer breaths can help the body find balance and reduce the tension in the body.  The focus on breath also can closely follow Dr. Benson’s Relaxation Response, which follows the same ideals of breath, focus words and muscle relaxation.   While these steps follow religious guidelines, they also coincidentally open the body up to more tranquil states associated with the Parasympathetic system.  This can reduce the effects of stress, anxiety and unneeded worry.

Proper breath work in meditation can help one return to a more balanced state with the Parasympathetic Nervous System. Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program.

 

Good breath work and meditation can be used to free the body from unchangeable worries and also be used to guide the mind to find resolutions for things that can be changed.   It can also help the mind find ways to transform oneself to things that cannot be changed.  Some worries cannot be altered but they can be accepted and the situation can be adjusted to.  The worries that cannot find solutions should generate transformation.  In doing so,  worrying is then used the natural way it was intended through evolution as a way to help the body deal with problems.

Through analyzation of worry, proper breath work, meditation, visualization and affirmation, one is better equipped to free the body from the stress and anxiety of the Sympathetic Nervous System and allow it to rest but also to be better able to dismiss unneeded worry and focus on real solutions to real life issues.

If you worry too much, it may be time to try to utilize these techniques to minimize unnecessary problems and focus on real problems but in a productive way by retraining how you approach worrying itself.

Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program as well AIHCP’s Stress Management Certification Program and see if they match your academic and professional goals.  The programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four certification.

Meditation Instructor Certification Article on Quigong Meditation

Quigong meditation deals with ways for the body to find self healing by removing negative energy through the meridians.  It incorporates the basic elements of meditation with breathing and self visualization.   Many find comfort in this type of self healing as it promotes over general health within the body by balancing good energy.

Quigong Meditation can help the body heal itself and promote overall health. Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Certification

 

From a more Western perspective, the process of overall health from this type of meditation probably ties to its calming effect on the sympathetic nervous system.

The article, “Qigong Meditation Techniques: Benefits and How to Do It” from Healthline looks closer at this ancient Chinese Meditation technique.  The article state,

“Qigong meditation is an ancient Chinese healing practice that combines controlled breathing, gentle movement, and meditation to promote good mental, physical, and spiritual health. Similar to tai chi, qigong meditation is believed to treat a variety of health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, chronic fatigue, insomnia, and leg and back pain, among others. Yet, research backing these claims is limited.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Meditation Instruction.

Meditation Instructor Training Article on Relaxation Response and Insomnia

The Relaxation Response reverses the negative effects of the sympathetic nervous system which prepares the body for the flight or fight response.  The body during stress infuses the body with an increase of adrenaline and other hormones which raise blood pressure, increase heart rate, increase breathing and tighten muscles for reaction.  These effects are not good long term, nor are they needed for modern day stress at home or in the office or on the work floor.  The Relaxation Response reverses these issues.  Meditation Instructors can also help one learn how to elicit this response.

Studies have also shown, when combined with the Faith Factor, the response can also help with a myriad of health and mental issues.  The Faith Factor, or belief in anything, is key to eliciting greater benefit from the Relaxation Response.  Again, understand, that any attempt to improve health without discussion with a primary physician is not safe.  The Relaxation Response can help, but it should never completely replace medications without physician approval.  Many of the natural reactions within the body from the Relaxation Response and Meditation follow many of the same principles of medications used to decrease anxiety but without the side effects.  So in time, with physician approval, many medications may possibly be reduced.

One can become overwhelmed with the problems of the day. These problems can haunt us at night and prevent us from sleeping. Meditation Instructors can help one learn the Relaxation Response to help one find sleep

 

One problem many have is insomnia and this is the primary focus of this short blog in regards to how the Relaxation Response and a trained Meditation Instructor can help with the inability to sleep.

The anxiety cycle plays havoc on the mind and hence also the body.  Only until the anxiety cycle is broken can the mind find peace.  This is one of the biggest problems with the inability to sleep.  Individuals are bombarded with intrusive thoughts or worries from the day.  They prevent the body from calming and instead create a cycle of anxiety which induces stress and the stress response upon the body.  The reality is many intrusive thoughts or problems cannot be resolved late at night nor does the body have the capability without rest to properly deal with these issues.  Many of these issues seem less important upon waking and the worry of the previous night merely clouds the mind the next day.

Individuals turn to medication to try to overcome the anxiety cycle.  They look for over the counter medications that relax the body.  The Relaxation Response, however, elicits the same mechanisms within the body.  It breaks the anxiety cycle and ushers in the soothing effects of peace and relaxation without the side effects.  When using the Relaxation Response to illicit sleep the aim is quite different than using this meditation during the day.  Its aim is not so much to produce a meditative response but a sleeping response.  In this reality, the brain waves will not be the same as if meditating during the day, but will in fact, merely fade into sleep into meditative trance.  This is fine but is a different end.

 

The Faith Factor is also important in delivering the ultimate responses one may be seeking.  If one merely routinely utilizes this response in a mundane and insincere way, then the results will be not as beneficial.  It will become mechanical in nature and more of a chore.   Instead, be utilizing one’s faith, the response becomes stronger.  Due to this, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, or even atheist can utilize this faith factor by choosing the repetitive word to focus on one’s tradition.  All traditions universally tap into the Relaxation Response via the power of faith.  For an atheist or non religious, that word may be about family, country or self.  It still can elicit the response if the word and motive means something to the person.  Likewise, if the word chosen is too Eastern, then a Christian may feel stressed using that term and be counter productive.  Instead, it is important to turn the meditation into a prayer as well to enhance the natural response of the body.

In regards to insomnia, or any other ailment, a passive mind is required during meditation.   While your focus, desire and goal is sleep, your passive mind remains open to merely the meditation.  Some may consider this counter productive, but the moment one starts to think about ” Why am I not asleep” or “How long will this take”, then one creates a new anxiety cycle which reduces the ability of the body to relax and internally heal.  So with illness, or insomnia, to curtail the maximum results of desired results, we must in some way not desire it but allow the flow of peace to do its thing.  The moment, one focuses more on performance outcome over the process itself, then the ability to fall asleep becomes harder to achieve.

The Relaxation Response can help prepare the body for sleep. Please also review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Program

 

In utilizing the Relaxation Response, one should follow the basic guidelines.  First, find a quiet place.  In regards to insomnia, this is your bed.  Sound makers, or any natural sounds that are not distracting can help one find a natural pace.  Second, close one’s eyes and began to reduce muscle tension.  Focus on parts of your body and work your way systematically, such as starting from a toe to the next toe and up the foot to up the leg.  Stretch and allow the body to naturally relax.  Third, start to breath in and out.  This step actually can be used while your reducing muscle tension.  Fourth, focus on your word, usually a word associated with religious or personal conviction.  The word or phrase should be short enough to match the rhythm of your breathing.  If Jewish, the word could be Shalom, if Islamic, the word could be Allah, or if non religious, one could utilize word that motivates oneself.   Christian usually choose the name of Jesus, or a short phrase from Scripture.  This word is meant to keep focus.

When distracting thoughts enter the mind, do not deliberately toss them out but slowly, dismiss them.  It is natural to lose focus.  While trying to sleep, the distractions and problems will attempt to re-enter.  When they do, merely return to your focus word while keeping track of your breathing.  Do not worry if you are doing something wrong.   This leads to the important fourth part, the passive attitude.  One cannot actively beyond the focus word, try to control the process.  Instead one must remain passive and allow the body’s response to take over.  If meditating during the day, this is meant to recharge the body and sleep is not intended, but when utilizing it to find sleep, one should merely allow the peace to lead to sleep. One can fall asleep in this regard in prayer.  This is not the ideal intention, and is why religious traditions have imposed postures for prayer that are relaxing but not sleep inducing, but realize, we are utilizing the Relaxation Response and meditative prayer to fall asleep.  We have turned something natural into prayer itself which is beautiful.

Distracting thoughts should be peacefully and passively dismissed by focusing on a focus word or mantra.

 

In following these steps and practicing them, one may be better able to relax the body, elicit relaxation, and if spiritual praise God, while also gently falling asleep without the need of medication.  If you would like to learn more about the Relaxation Response, please review Herbert Benson’s two classic works on the Relaxation Response.  Also if you would like to help others, please then review AIHCP’s Meditation Instructor Training Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as  Meditation Instructor.