Oh meditation, how we love thee! Especially at this busy time of year! While it may be years until we have enough scientific research to back it up, many converts to the practice of mindful meditation are convinced of its benefits. Nutrition and exercise may be our first line of defense to take care of the body, but there is a reason why meditation has been around for thousands of years: it works.
While you may already be convinced through first-hand experience, it’s not always easy to encourage others to meditate. You can buy them meditation mats, incense, chimes and gongs, yet they may not make mindfulness a priority to learn.
As we start to gain more insight on the benefits of meditation, new products are always being introduced that help people get started. The impact of meditative practice is seen in so many aspects of life, from disease and pain management, to emotional well-being, mental clarity and restful sleep.
Insight Meditation Kit
In just the past decade, the number of Buddhist meditation centers in North America has doubled; confirming the broadening appeal of this ancient practice for gaining self-understanding and inner peace. The Insight Meditation Kit was designed to respond to this growing interest in meditation by making it easier to get started in this Buddhist tradition. The kit includes everything the beginner needs to start meditating in an elegant boxed set. It includes two exclusive CDs with guided meditations, both of which are complemented by study cards and an instruction book for beginners.
If you are curious about meditation or you know someone who is, this complete introductory kit is the perfect place to begin. It’s all in this box. The book and kit were designed by Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein, both of whom have extensive backgrounds in meditation and Buddhist practices. In addition to cofounding the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Insight Meditation Society, Salzberg has studied and practiced with Indian, Burmese and Tibetan instructors over the past 25 years. Goldstein started to explore meditation as a volunteer for the Peace Corps in Thailand, then went on to study it further at meditation retreats in India and Burma. He is also a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society.
Why incorporate mindfulness meditation into your daily life?
A recent article in the Huffington Post, “Mindfulness Meditation Benefits: 20 Reasons Why It’s Good For Your Mental and Physical Health,” provides a comprehensive list of benefits, some of them more important than others. Everyone seems to start meditating for different reasons, but most would agree that they were pleasantly surprised at its positive impact.
Some of the most important aspects of meditation:
- It reduces stress. This isn’t just a “claim;” it is actually true. Research published earlier this year by the Journal of Health Psychology makes it clear that meditation is linked with decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- It helps us get to know our true natures. One of the best ways to see beyond our everyday “lens” and analyze ourselves objectively is to practice mindfulness.
- It helps improve mental clarity. College students who were trained in mindful meditation performed better on verbal reasoning tests, while also improving their working memory, ultimately helping them to score better on standardized tests.
- It helps protect the brain. Researchers have found that integrative body-mind training can actually result in brain changes that protect it against mental illness. One such finding indicated that meditation was linked to increased signal connections, which ultimately produce more protective tissue around certain parts of the brain.
There are so many benefits associated with mindfulness meditation that this list could go on and on. Needless to say, it makes sense to encourage others to meditate, especially if it could help someone you love. If subtle hints and suggestions haven’t worked, the Insight Meditation Kit may be just the catalyst to get them started.