Two weeks later, and the benefits of my trip to Grail Springs Health Resort still linger. Mind you, it helps that I’m writing about it and reading the two books I picked up there, “Grail Springs Holistic Detox” written by the Grail owner, Madeleine Maraentette, and “Staying Healthy with the Seasons” by Elson M. Haas, M.D. Both contain the basic health information on which the resort’s Holistic Grail Life plan is based.
Meditation is important to achieving health and balance. But I never realized how integral it really is for everyone to practice this ancient exercise until now! The following 10 benefits of meditation are found in the above mentioned books as well as in my research as I discovered the secrets of the mystical labyrinth.
- Helps you achieve greater health. It formulates a stronger mind-body harmony and increases your awareness. Dr. Haas says that to achieve this harmony, “your two aspects, right and left [brain hemispheres], mind and body, must stay in regular communication. By listening within, being aware of your body processes, your cycles, your true nature, you will keep growing and maintain your health.”
- Prevents illness. Disease, or dis-ease, is created through the conflict between, “the desire of our inner nature to change against the resistance of the body.” Doc Haas believes that we are nature, and like nature, we change. Disease is the manifestation of our resistance to natural change. Our illnesses are nature’s way of telling us that we are suppressing or battling with our natural progression. Haas suggests that illness is actually our friend, that it “can be a vehicle to enhance your personal communication and facilitate your evolution” because it forces us to stop and reevaluate.
- Creates a receptive state. The computer analogy for brain functioning is often used. It goes a little something like this: while a program is running, no new information can be programmed until the computer, or brain, is at rest. To receive new internal or external information, it must stop a moment and listen. Listen to what? According to Haas, we are all our own best doctors using nature as our guide, if we just move out of the way, our bodies will naturally move towards balance. “This inner self is the instinctive, intuitive self which sees and feels things before they happen. To stay in tune with your deepest self is to stay in tune with Nature.” Meditation quiets the mind so that we can better hear our intuition.
- Builds a stronger mind resistant to negativity. Studies have shown that meditation affects many areas of the brain in different ways. It has been shown to physically grow certain brain areas, strengthen specific neural connections, and activate a variation of brain waves as well as usual brain activity in large amounts. All these brain changes translate to the many long-lasting benefits of meditation, such as increased mental activities (like focus, memory, learning and consciousness). It heightens awareness and stimulates areas that control happiness, positive thoughts and emotions.
- Reduces stress and increases productivity. One of the many documented studies on meditation show decreases in brain activity in the area responsible for space and time. This, along with the other aspects of mental functioning mentioned above, helps us stay in the moment. We’re better able to stop worrying about yesterday or tomorrow and concentrate on the constructive activity at hand.
- Clears the mind and opens it to new ideas. Dr. Haas says you actually turn off the thinking mind when you meditate and by “just being – you can balance yourself and be aware of both the conscious, rational thought, directed toward the outside world (active mode) and the creative, space-oriented (all is one), visual perceptions of the inner world (receptive mode).” These relate to the two hemispheres of our brains and meditation activates the connection between the two, like building a bridge. The more you meditate, the sturdier you build this connection – creating balance!
- Increases lung capacity & maintains optimal oxygen levels. Most of us are top lung breathers and like the old adage, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” By breathing deeply, which is required to achieve meditation, we actually increase our lung capacity by working all of our lungs. By not making full use of our lungs, we also fail to get optimal oxygen. As Ms. Marentette says in her book:”Oxygen feeds it all…Body –> blood, cells, muscles, organs –> Physical
Heart –> nervous system –> Emotional
Mind –> brain function –> Mental
Spirit –> vital energy –> Creative force”
- Helps balance pH levels. In the Grail book, it maintains that for a happy and balanced body, our blood levels are slightly alkaline at 7.41 (0.0 being most acidic and 14.0 being most alkaline). When we eat a diet high in acidic foods, without balancing it out with cleansing alkaline foods, our bodies protect us from the damaging acids by storing them in our tissues, creating congestion, swelling, inflammation and then stiffness and tissue degeneration. Deep breathing from meditation alkalizes the body by getting fresh oxygen to every part of our body and regulating our nervous system.
- Can heal us. As Marentette quotes well-respected complementary medical doctors, saying that breath work techniques, such as meditation, “has proven itself as one of the most effective solutions to resolving many health ailments such as insomnia, circulatory problems, digestion, anxiety, and much more.”
- Helps us find peace. Meditation centers us – literally, remember the bridge between the brain hemispheres? It activates the area for attention and the more we meditate, the stronger this ability to focus becomes. When our minds are strong, we can effectively block out the negative thoughts we produce and the negativity coming from others. We attain greater control over our emotions and our impulses, as well. Addictions? Who needs substances when you’re high on life?
“Peace does not mean one must be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or chaos. Peace means to be among those things and still be calm in your heart.” Marcel Morin
Sounds like meditation is the world’s miracle drug! Here’s a brief recap: it helps you get healthier and younger, prevents illness, heals us from sickness and addictions, makes us more productive, allows our intelligences to blossom, increases our emotional capacity and enhances our spirituality.
Now, let’s see… Did I miss anything?