Meditation for Busy Women Part IV: Belief Not Required
Many people hear the word ‘meditation’ and think instantly of Buddhist monks or Hindu yogis. But meditation has been (and is) practiced within all the world’s religions, although it is often called by another name. Devotions, chanting, silent prayer, visualizations of saints – these are all forms of meditation. The purpose of each is to help us connect to the spiritual levels of our own awareness – to shift us into these levels. What I’ve tried to do in this series is touch upon some ways we busy women can find this connection throughout our day, even for just a moment. Moments add up.
You can of course expand any of the techniques I outlined into formal, sitting meditations. And you don’t have to have religious or spiritual beliefs to benefit from them. These days meditation is practiced for stress management, pain relief, drug and alcohol rehab, psychological awareness, concentration improvement, creativity help and more. And there are as many meditation techniques as there are reasons to practice it. Some popular ones that I didn’t touch on are deep breathing, chanting, chakra meditation, and moving meditation. There are alot of great websites and blogs out there about these (maybe I’ll compile a list someday!) so just search around for what fits you.
My own interest in meditation at this point in my life is primarily spiritual. However, what I really love about it is that belief is not required as a starting point. From a spiritual perspective, meditation is really a form of inquiry and investigation. You meditate, see what you experience, and then decide what that experience represents. Just trying it opens up new parts of your awareness and your brain. You may decide the feelings and experiences you have in meditation represent a connection to a higher power, or you may decide they are simply a bio-physical response. Or that they are both, which is my own view.
The point is, your relationship to your own awareness is bound to change, and the relationship between your own awareness and the world around you. And that has always been the starting point for mystic experience, whatever religion it occurs within. You could say that the religion we ‘believe’ in determines how we interpret our meditation experiences, but it doesn’t cause them. So you can start meditating without any religious beliefs, and some may develop – or not. Either way, you are expanding your awareness, and that can only be good.
Other related posts:
Meditation for Busy Women Part I – Shifting
Meditation for Busy Women Part II – Symbols
Meditation for Busy Women Part III – Love
For moms – If You Think You’re Enlightened, Have Kids
For those interested in spirituality and the brain – Book Review: My Stroke of Insight