Ancient meditation still useful for stress relief

By Lariena Nokes

College is a big deal; the end of the spring semester can push even the most stalwart among us to our breaking point.

Taking inventory of where you really stand and accepting control for what you can change is the most responsible way to stay calm and in charge of your entire life.

With many new challenges and expectations, in my own life, pushing me to my limits, I was aware that a new way of processing the information was the most reasonable way to maintain an even keel in my life.

This search for something new ironically took me down a very old path.

The Mahabharata title translates from Sanskrit to mean “Great Epic of the Bharata Dynasty”.

Inside the verses of this first poem, one of the two said to be the historical founding documents of Hinduism, there is advice on many topics from marriage and birth, to waging war and meditating to discover ones true self.

The second epic poem from the Baraga Dynasty is called the Bhagavad Geeta, but you may know it by another name.

There is a modern retelling of the poem in the book by Steven Pressfield—“The Legend of Bagger Vance: A Novel of Golf and the Game of Life”. The book was later made into a movie staring Will Smith and Matt Damon.

Meditation predates popular religious practices. Meditating in silence or with chanting focuses on the mind, the body and the soul and is an art that improves lives.

Relaxing is a nice concept, but understanding meditation can help you to separate yourself from the stress of life, and become truly relaxed.

Ancient Indian teachings, like The Mahabharata, speak of meditation as a life goal to be reached.

The traditional teaching quits the mind and centers all activity and thinking on simply being.

“Rapt in meditation. Possessed of great energy of mind, he has no desire for anything that excites the five senses. The wise man, withdrawing his five senses into the mind.” ~ The Mahabharata, Book 12: Santi Parva: Mokshadharma Parva: Section CXCV (Translation by K.M. Ganguli)

This introspective silence opens the ability to be empathetic to all mankind.

Hindi tradition teaches that mastering of such meditation is always rewarded. Connecting to the universal energy in silence can train the mind to meet new goals.

“It is your duty to awaken your soul.” ~ The Mahabharata, Bhagavad Geeta

Silent meditation is sometimes punctuated with ringing of bells or sounding of gongs to make the participating people equally aware of the passage of time as they meditate.

One other popular form of meditation is Japa. By chanting out loud the names of the divine and centering your breath on each verbalization the same feeling of flowing energy and silence of mind can be accomplished.

In his book “There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem,” the late Dr. Wayne W. Dyer spoke about his passion to spread the practice of Japa meditation all over America.

“Meditation is a vital practice to access conscious contact with your highest self,” Dyer said.

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