According to Buddhist philosophy, the ultimate benefit of meditation is to liberate the mind from attachment to things it cannot control, such as external circumstances or strong internal emotions. As a result, the enlightened practitioner no longer clings blindly to experiences or needlessly follows desires, but instead is able to achieve a peaceful acceptance and maintain a calm mind and sense of inner harmony.
Relaxation is one of the outcomes and a physical result of mediation, which with it brings a whole host of benefits:
• Lower blood pressure
• Improved blood circulation
• Lower heart rate
• Less perspiration
• Slower respiratory rate
• Less anxiety
• Lower blood cortisol levels
• More feelings of well-being
• Less stress
When you are caring for someone, taking time out to meditate might feel like an unnecessary luxury, however practicing for just five minutes a day is a quick and easy way to get some time-out, and re-energise yourself. The following meditation exercise is an excellent introductory practice for beginners.
1. Sit or lie comfortably, on a chair or on the floor. Use a cushion if this helps you to feel more relaxed.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for up to five – or even longer!