Science has shown that meditation has tremendous benefits for both the mind and body. It has been found that, while meditating, one experiences a profound rest—much more than one can get during eight hours of sleep at night. The purpose and value of rest is that it relieves stress that has been picked up and carried throughout the day. In a short time, even twenty minutes, one is able to reach a deeper state of relaxation within the body and eliminate deep-seated levels of stress from the nervous system. As one continues to meditate over time, and as one continues to release more stress, there is a profound effect on one’s psychology and view of the world. Meditation is a technique that not only purifies the body, but also helps the mind become clearer, more aware, and more alert.
We all see the world through differently colored glasses depending on the experiences that we have had throughout our lives. These experiences paint our lives and world views. Many times we can react inappropriately, and this is determined by how deeply our stress and trauma are rooted in the nervous system and mind. As we begin the process of daily meditation, these stresses begin to dissolve, and we begin cleaning the windows of perception. We are able to see more clearly reality and truth. We become more established in the Self, which is a field of unbounded consciousness, silence, and bliss. We become better able to handle the stresses of life, and we are stronger physically and emotionally. We are better able to cope. It’s similar to dropping an anchor deep in the middle of the ocean, which makes us stable on the surface rather than being like a boat that is blown about by the wind and waves.
Anchoring the Mind
To understand how to meditate, it is important to know the nature of the mind. The mind is always searching for more: more happiness, more energy, more physical things, more of everything. The unfortunate thing is that the mind is only searching for these things externally—outside of ourselves. All of these objects of perception that we gain are temporary and ever-changing. If our happiness is dependent upon these external, always changing objects, then internally we will always be uncertain emotionally, vacillating between happiness and unhappiness, momentary satisfaction and then pain and sorrow—much like a feather being blown about in gusts of wind.
Deep within each and every one of us is a field of bliss and happiness by its own nature. This is the field of pure consciousness, which can be accessed at the source of thoughts. Once we are able to access this field of light and bring it into our daily activity, then we will not feel overshadowed by the objects of perception (the ever-changing world) because our happiness will come from inside rather than outside ourselves.
Meditation for Recovery
The advantages of meditation for those recovering from addiction are myriad. The addict or alcoholic is not unique in their struggle with the nature of the mind (more, more, more…) but with how they manifest it. They poison the body and mind with more and more of each substance. The nature of the mind and the nature of addiction are one and the same. What mediation does is turn their attention 180-degrees. As they begin to turn their attention inward, the process starts spontaneously and there is no other effort required.
An individual suffering with addiction should learn to meditate to help them through times of severe stress, anxiety, or tension, which occurs often in early recovery and occurs with or without perceived or real triggers. It gives the individual another way to cope that is easy to use, requires no effort, and can be done anywhere. This is critical to combating the spontaneous fear, sadness, grief, guilt, and shame that accompany early and even long-term recovery.
What is so wonderful about meditation is that once an individual learns how to do it, they are meditating perfectly from the very start. You cannot be “good” at meditation. The longer one does it, however, the more accumulated benefits occur. Meditation is like jumping off a diving board. One walks to the end of the board and then jumps. Regardless of whether one believes in Newton or the laws of gravity, one will fall! Just like that, once one’s attention is set in the right direction, the mind will be able to transcend by itself—no effort is needed.