Another word for Meditation is "noticing." Meditation, simply put, is paying close attention to whatever you are doing, in a particular way, on purpose, for a certain amount of time.
Meditation supports a peaceful state of mind. It decreases stressful feelings and elevates feelings of well-being.
In fact, this ancient technique has recently been scientifically proven to decrease the production of the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, in the body, decrease blood pressure and hypertension, lower cholesterol levels, increase the production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA, decrease insomnia, decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation, and improve cognition in those who practice daily, in as little as two weeks.
What does Meditation have to do with horses?
Horses live in the present moment. Even when dozing, they are in a hyper-aware and alert state, naturally and effortlessly paying close attention to what is happening around them, from moment to moment. Horses are highly intuitive and receptive to even the most subtle stimuli. When we practice mindfulness with horses, they can act as an anchor for our attention as well as model for mindful awareness.
How can I tell Mediation is working for me?
People often notice subtle change within a week of practicing mediation on a daily basis. Some subtle changes people notice within a short time of practicing meditation are; less emotional reactivity, an increased sense of well-being, a better night's sleep, less conflicted decision making and improved concentration. With continued practice, the benefits increase exponentially.
Is Meditation a religious practice?
No, it is a technique that can be practiced by anyone.
Gautama the Buddha (The Enlightend One) is credited for discovering this technique and teaching it to thousands of people during his lifetime. The Buddha was a regular man (not a god and having no special capabilities), who was actually Hindu by birth. He taught his students a technique that can be practiced by anyone, regardless of religious affiliation or belief. Meditation is not a religious practice and it does not interfere or conflict with Christianity or any other religious beliefs or practices. In fact, many religious people say that developing a consistent meditation practice deepens their sense of connection to their religion or spirituality.
How is learning and practicing Meditation a revolutionary act?
The Buddha described the path to liberation as one of rebellion against greed, hatred and delusion; a simple but courageous path, accessible to anyone. By learning and practicing this ancient technique, one can eradicate suffering and experience the present moment as it truly is and know real peace, happiness and freedom from suffering.
Ashley Nunn began practicing Vipassana (Insight) meditation in 1999 . In 2009, she co-founded a Meditation & Mindfulness program for staff at St Vincent's School for Boys in San Rafael, a residential treatment program for Severely Emotionally Disturbed boys. She also founded the Meditation and Mindfulness program at Sibley Memorial Hospital-Johns Hopkins Medicine in Washington DC in 2012. Both programs are still in existence. Ashley currently teaches Meditation and Mindfulness at Republic of Yoga in Cary, NC.
The Science of Mindfulness
We are fortunate to be alive at a time where modern science and research is now proving what meditators have experienced for thousands of years. Meditation and Mindfulness practices change the structure of the brain in ways that profoundly effect the way we react to stress, recover from trauma and make decisions, to name a very few benefits--allowing those who practice regularly to experience less overall anxiety and a greater sense of peace and belonging.