On Meditation’s Benefits for Creativity and Health
by Ellen Buikema
During my university years, I signed up for a yoga course to offset the physics and calculus required as part of the core curriculum for engineering. I had to balance the heavy academics with some physical activity that included relaxation to survive with my mind intact. Yoga appeared to be a good fit.
Along with the traditional poses, the instructor taught us how to do basic massage – for which my family is eternally grateful – and yogic meditation. A few years later I included Transcendental Meditation (TM) into the mix. TM helped me through many trying years.
Recently I joined a class that includes yoga and Pilates, populated with people of varying abilities. It’s easy to identify the newbies by their comments:
“You want me to do what?”
“Sure, I can do that.”
“Are you freakin’ kidding me?”
At the end of class, the instructor asks everyone to sit cross-legged with eyes closed, arms resting on the thighs, middle finger and thumb touching, breathing slowly. Gentle music plays in the background. My mind floats with the music.
Then BAM, I slip out of the relaxed state of concentrating on my breathing. I remember something I need to do. This never fails. I file away the information in my mind and return to meditation.
These days, when my mind drifts, it invariably settles on a writing issue. The brief meditation sessions have given me possible book titles, character’s personality changes, new characters, scene changes, and new ideas for blog themes. I am waiting for lottery numbers to filter through, but perhaps that’s asking too much.
In sleep, our bodies grow and heal. Our minds sift through the happenings of the day, filing away information to retrieve at a later time. We solve problems while sleeping.
Meditation has a similar effect on the mind. The meditative mini-vacation, lasting a fraction of our waking day, relaxes the mind long enough to dissipate stress-induced blockages and allow the creativity within to flow.
It is possible to meditate anywhere: on a bus, train, airplane, in a library, places of worship, or home.
Meditation lowers blood pressure; reduces insulin resistance; boosts the immune system; reduces stress; improves concentration, mood, and metabolism; and physically alters brain structures allowing increased memory and decreased anxiety.
There is much to gain.
Ellen Buikema is a writer and former teacher. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, she received her M.Ed. specializing in Early Childhood. She has extensive post-graduate studies in special education from Northeastern Illinois University. Ellen writes short stories, poetry, adult non-fiction and children’s fiction, sprinkling humor everywhere possible. Find her at EllenBuikema.com, on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and ItMattersRadio.com for a podcast interview.