Meditation may be thought of as a modern invention. It is actually an ancient practice, going back to the Hebrews, the ancient Chinese cultures, and many other parts of the world. The word comes from Latin. It may mean the third step of an ancient form of prayer.
Modern science has studied the process. There is concentration, relaxation, and an altered state of awareness as the brain waves shift from the right frontal cortex to the left frontal cortex. Blood pressure is reduced, heart rate slows, respiratory rate slows, and oxygen consumption slows. Seratonin increases, which decreases insomnia, depression and headaches. Other benefits include less muscle tension and increased attention spans.
Where do we see meditation used today? We see doctors using it in pain management and stress relief. It is the basis of the Lamaze method of labor pain relief. Any time someone has you breathing to help with a difficult or painful procedure – it’s a form of meditation.
Yoga is another organized form of meditation. The stretching and breathing together keep you focused on your body, your posture and how you are feeling. In fact, many forms of meditation have you concentrate on breathing.
What brought this subject up? I had two concerts this weekend. I realized how much singing is another form of meditation. We sang several different settings of the Mass. It takes intense concentration on breathing and on all the other singers to make the music be right. It flows through the body and into the church, echoing and wrapping around all of us. The organ leads and joins.
For a few moments, we are all one. It’s a transcendent experience.
I hope you find something like this in your life.
We ended with the phrase “Dona Nobis Pacem.”
Give Us Peace.