by Andrew Vidich, PhD
THREE DECADES ago, when I began my meditation practice, I was often viewed as someone out of the mainstream and/or belonging to an Eastern cult. Today, with more than 200 studies having been done on the practice of meditation and its connection between spirituality and health, the tables have turned almost 180 degrees. Wherever I go, people are practising meditation as a means to improving their health and overall well-being.
Right now, we are in the midst of a global shift in consciousness that recognizes the healing power of consciousness itself. To achieve maximum health and happiness, we need to reconnect to the source of our being, or consciousness, which is responsible for the health of the body, mind and spirit. Instead of feeling connected and sustained by this source, as long as we remain disconnected, we more often than not feel spiritually adrift and bankrupt and the result is a plethora of spiritual ailments, including depression, anxiety, fear, doubt, hurry and worry, agitation and restlessness – all symptoms of our real dis-ease, which is spiritual emptiness.
The fundamental illness we all suffer from is a severe case of mistaken identity. We have forgotten who we are and we have become completely identified with our body and mind. Meditation is the process of reconnecting to the greater consciousness within, which is our true identity. This process of reconnection is characterized by distinct healing properties: It liberates the mind from habituated, reactive, conditioned thinking. It brings us fully and completely into the living present – moment-to-moment awareness. It moves us from selfishness to selflessness and from me and mine to thee and thine. It reconnects us with higher vibratory energies and expanded consciousness, sometimes called unity consciousness.
Why is meditation effective? Because as we proceed on the spiritual journey, we are increasingly able to subdue and eventually control our desires. What then arises is an increasing ability to consciously control our thoughts. We have little idea about what is going on in the thought processes of our mind. In fact, brain researchers say we have over 60,000 thoughts per day. Most of these thoughts are largely unconscious, below the level of our awareness. Our minds are like an overgrown jungle with wild animals prowling all around.
On an even subtler level of thought, Buddhists call the uncontrolled mind-stream “the five unskillful states of mind,” namely: 1) Fear and worry. 2) Restlessness and agitation. 3) Doubt and uncertainty. 4) Depression and disappointment. 5) Anger and resentment. If we examine our lives honestly, we see how familiar these unskilled states of mind are. We have become so habituated to “unthinkingly” thinking these thoughts that, over time, they cannot help but spill over to influence our words and actions. We have become so identified with these thoughts that we think we are them. We fail to realize that we have a choice in how we think and feel.
Meditation shines the light of awareness into the jungle of our thoughts. When light shines in the darkness, the darkness disappears. All the wild animals run for cover, not wanting to be discovered. The light of awareness dissolves these uncontrolled states. The more we come into contact with the self-luminous presence within, the more awareness we bring into our being. Each meditation sitting, if done with full attention and sincere intention, can potentially open the floodgates of inner luminosity, bringing greater clarity, insight and peace. Wherever the sun of divinity shines, the darkness of desire is dispelled.
Not only is the practice of meditation a powerful tool in cultivating a deep inner connection with our spirit, it makes us more emphatic and caring, alleviates stress, decreases cholesterol and heart disease and increases our overall health. Meditation has proven to be a powerful tool in treating a variety of chronic and acute diseases.
Even more importantly, from a spiritual point of view, meditation is the key to our becoming more conscious and compassionate beings, filled with abiding states of joy and happiness. It is not an overstatement to say that meditation is rapidly becoming the 21st century “technology” for palliative and clinical care and one of the most powerful tools for personal transformation.
Dr. Andrew Vidich is the author of Light Upon Light: Five Master Paths to Awakening the Mindful Self. He is also an editor, international speaker and educator who lectures and presents experiential workshops globally.
Free seminar, July 1, 7pm: Dr. Vidich presents “Discover the Source: Finding True Peace, Joy and Inner Wisdom Through Meditation,” hosted by Science of Spirituality Eco-Centre, 11011 Shell Rd, (at Steveston Hwy) Richmond. For information, call Linda: 604-985-5840. www.sos.org