The Power of Meditation
You wouldn't think you'd have to be reminded of that but we sometimes do. Especially in times of stress and we all know there is plenty of that.
Lindsay Ring teaches Buddhist meditation in Sparta, New Jersey and Glen Spey, New York. She is part of the Kadampa Meditation Center New York in Glen Spey which offers meditation classes throughout the area including in Warwick, New York. Ring, who has been practicing meditation for eight years and teaching for more than six, said everyone can benefit from meditation, both spiritually and physically.
“The practice of meditation has the power to guide us to the source of happiness from within, our own clear and peaceful mind,” said Ring. “This inner peace is empowering because it allows us to maintain an experience of well-being in the midst of the busyness of daily life.”
And the craziness. But Ring sees one of the benefits of meditation as something so important in these divisive times in which we live.
“Everybody has a pure nature,” she said. “Everyone has a compassionate heart. (When we mediate) We focus on our pure nature. Negative thoughts are more superficial so if we come from a place of kindness, the world around you will change.”
In other words, if you are in a calm and centered place, you may not be able to change things or people but you will be able to change how you view them and how you react.
“If we get ourselves to a calm place, we look at people differently. People who are toxic, you view as unhappy,” said Ring. “There is a lot of unhappiness in the world. We have no control over their happiness but we have control over how we look at them.
“Even saying 'I'm going to work to help others' brings meaning to our lives,” she said. “It increases our good qualities of love and compassion.”
It is not always easy to clear our minds and Ring acknowledges that. She gives the analogy of clouds.
“Those thoughts are like clouds. We can trust there is a peaceful mind behind them. There is always a sunny day.”
And practice helps. Ring recommends people meditate, at first, 10 to 15 minutes every day. Five minutes more is even better. It is enough to see results in your life, she said.
“People say they don't have time for it,” said Ring. “Things are out of control if you don't have time.”
Find your sacred space. Start your day with calmness and introspection.
“Since everyone can benefit from a peaceful mind and a kind heart,” Rain said, “everyone can benefit from meditation.”
How do we get there?
1. Create a sacred space – Find a place that is quiet, clear and uncluttered. It should be a place that you are comfortable in. Sit with your back straight but relaxed.
2. Give yourself time to get into the meditative space in your mind.
a. Set your intention – The intention should be bigger than for yourself, it should spread to others.
b. Find the sensation of the breath. Focus on the feeling of the breath going in and out of the nostrils.
c. Once we connect with the breath, stay with it as long as you can. The mind wanders but the practice is to bring your mind back to focusing on the breath. Practicing meditation helps hold your awareness longer.
3. At the end of the meditative time, Ring, in her classes, makes a dedication. For example, “Through the power of my meditations, may I and others find peace.”
The benefits of meditation are numerous according to Ring.
“You begin to experience a mind that's calm and emotionally balanced,” she said. “Your mind is able to relax itself. Giving our mind a break significantly increases our felling of wellness.”
And, Ring said, when your mind is still and clear, so much in your life changes.
Relationship improve and we respond better to different situations,” she said. “When our mind is clear, we just naturally enjoy the people we are with.”
Physically, studies show meditation can, in the short term:
Lower blood pressure
Improve blood circulation
Lower heart rate
Slow respiratory rate
Lower blood cortisol levels
The main benefit, according to Rain, is bringing intention into our lives.
Editor's Note: In Warwick, classes are held on Tuesdays at Conscious Fork, 7:30 p.m. Go to meetup.com/warwick-Kadampa-Meditation-Group/.
Ring holds two classes in Sparta; Tuesday at Cloveberry and Wednesday at Yoga Universe at 7:30 p.m. For all Sparta related events, go to meetup.com/sparta-meditation-group.
For the entire class schedule for Kadampa Meditation Center, go to Kadampanewyork.org.