Pick out your most comfortable chair. Sit down, loosen your skirt or trousers, slip out of your shoes, and close your eyes.

Now imagine your feet dangling in the cold, clear, blue waters or a mountain lake. Smell the aroma of nearby flowers. Hear the happy songs of carefree birds. Feel the stimulation of fresh mountain air. For a few minutes eliminate, as far as possible, remove all other thoughts, and with this peaceful scene in mind, meditate; focus your mind in silence.

Feel better? More relaxed?

WHO of us does not need to relax? According to one authority, 70 percent of the people sitting in doctors’ waiting rooms are sick simply because they no longer can cope with life’s pressure.

Also, new studies indicate how stress and other emotions that affect the body’s immune responses and vital functions are responsible for many human ailments. Medical science is finding that the mind-body link plays more of a role in human health than previously believed and, therefore, has given a new name to the branch of medical research that investigates this mechanism. It’s called psychoneuroimmunology.

Commenting on the brain’s physiological role, Dr. George F. Solomon of the University of California says: “Mind and body are inseparable. The brain influences all sorts of physiological processes that were once thought not to be centrally regulated.

A doctor who can help his patients to relax is serving their best interests. And he can make any number of suggestions on how to relax.

Some of these include TM (transcendental meditation) techniques and also Yoga or Zen. Autogenic training is another treatment recommended in some countries. But I caution you to get the facts before trying any of these techniques and understand how they differ from “normal” meditation.

Meditation: There Is More to It Than You Think

“Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.” –Saint Francis de Sales

What does “meditation” mean to you? If you follow the teachings of some Eastern religions, you may believe that it is something that brings greater clarity of thought or personal enlightenment. Meditation practiced in Buddhism encourages emptying the mind of all thought. Other forms of meditation are said to help fill your mind with “universal truths of wisdom.”

And some believe meditation is merely daydreaming.

According to one dictionary, to meditate is “to think in a thoughtful or leisurely manner. It requires a serious and extended undistracted period of concentration.”

The claims made for specific meditation techniques are quite attractive: to deepen our understanding of oneself, to replace negative tendencies and bad habits with more positive ones, to overcome anxieties and fears, and yes, even to improve health.

In this regard, notice what’s pointed out in a recent article on WebMd.com:
“The Top Five Benefits of Meditation: 5) does your body good, lowers blood pressure; 4) sharpens the mind; 3) increases serotonin known as the ‘happy drug’; 2) improves sleep, and 1) reduces stress.”

If you would like more information on what is purported to be health benefits, you will find many short, 1-minute videos of interest on WebMd.com. Go to:  www.webmd.com/balance/video/truth-about-meditation

Also on this page, you will find an interesting article entitled: “Value of Meditation for Health Unproven.” Apparently, according to this article, studies were not high enough quality to prove or disprove the value of meditation as a treatment.”

But there is more to meditation—

I meditate for spiritual reasons; if I should experience less stress and feel more relaxed as a result of meditating, this is a side benefit. For me, meditating is not removing negative thoughts, but allows me to consider spiritual answers to my problems. Meditating also will enable me to express gratitude. This form of meditation helps me to deal successfully with anxieties of day-to-day life. I feel contented.

There are many reasons to engage in meditation, that is, deep, concentrated thinking about important things. For instance, it is vital to reflect on past experiences, ponder over current matters, and thoughtfully contemplate our future.

But above all, meditation will bring us the greatest enlightenment if our thoughts are on our Creator and the blessings we experience every day for which we are thankful.

Bottom line: meditation is good for you. It can make you feel more peaceful and relaxed. Through meditation, you have a sense of well-being and contentment. And if it also happens to improve your health, this is awesome!

“By turning your eyes to God in meditation, your whole soul will be filled with God. Begin all your prayers in the presence of God.” – Saint Frances de Sales