3 Mental Health Benefits of Meditation (and the 5 levels of consciousness)
Today, I want to talk to you about how and why meditation can completely transform your mental health.
Before we get into that, it’s important that you understand the 5 different types of mind, from the science of Yoga
This will give you a very good understanding of why we suffer from poor mental health & how to make it strong.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is a manual for mastering the mind & realising our true nature.
The idea is simple. If a lake has muddy water, you cannot see what lies at the bottom. In the same way, when the mind has clutter, chatter, we cannot see what lies at our core — our true nature.
Which, according to the Science of Yoga is pure love & bliss.
What Patanjali tells us, is that there are 5 ways in which consciousness takes form and shapes the mind.
The 5 states of mind.
Kshipta — Scattering
Mudha — Darkening, dullness
Vikshipta — gathering, centering
Ekagrata — one-pointed, concentrated
Niruddha — Absolute suspension of activity
Kshipta — Here the mind is scattered, very weak. Like when mustard seeds fall on the floor, it is all over the place. It’s common to find depression, anxiety & psychological disorders when the mind is in this state.
Mudha — This is where a lot of human consciousness lies currently. The mind is focused mainly on pleasing the senses. Cannot think of anything beyond sensory life, pleasing the senses.
The person is driven by the desire for a better material life and wants to fulfill the lowest biological desires.
Lust, greed, taste etc.
Vikshipta — This is where most spiritual seekers lie. They have somewhat awakened and realised that “there must be something more” than merely eating, screwing & being merry.
They slowly begin trying to focus on spiritual ideas, and want to direct themselves to something higher.
The mind is not yet totally one pointed, for example we may be in a peaceful state when meditating, but then back to normal reactive life once we start our day. And that’s okay, because it’s a process.
Ekagrata — Here, the mind is strong. One pointed. Highly concentrated. It is able to focus on one strong spiritual idea.
Niruddha — The mind is totally free of all it’s modifications. Here is where one experiences Samadhi, enlightenment.
So as you can see on one end of the spectrum you have a totally weak, scattered mind prone to mental health disorders, and on the other end is the highest state of human consciousness — enlightenment.
The whole purpose of meditation is to strengthen the mind, remove impurities and reach the highest state.
In the Yogic system, meditation is practiced by focusing the mind on one idea. The breath, a mantra, a positive feeling like love, or meditating on a deity or saint/sage of your choice.
When we continually focus on one thing repeatedly, the mind goes from a scattered state to a concentrated state.
And that is the key to a strong mind. To strong mental health. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.
3 Benefits of Meditation for Mental Health
- Stops Rumination — Rumination is when our mind wanders to a negative thought and then rides that thought, creating a nightmare scenario out of a single thought. This is a common symptom in people that are depressed.
- Cultivates non-reaction — When you sit to meditate, a lot of thoughts, sensations etc come up. Like “I NEEED to make this call” or “I have an itch” or “I cannot sit any more”.
But you practice letting these thoughts arise, and letting them go. You realise that the minds nature is to keep pumping out thoughts from the reservoir that is your subconscious mind.
But you don’t react. You let them come, and notice that they go away. Just like cravings. And as you realise that you don’t need to ACT on them, or allow them to change your mood, you start winning.
You begin to realise that YOU can be the master of your mind. Just that feeling itself is liberating.
You feel like you can take back control of everything. Of your life. And make whatever you want out of it.
3. The most important — you feel more love and happiness
Remember we said that the purpose of meditation is to clean the minds clutter and see what lies at our core — our true nature. Which is pure love. Pure bliss.
As you clean your mind, the closer you get to this true nature — and naturally the more you feel happy, blissful and content.
To conclude, meditation will make your mind stronger and you happier.
It really is that simple.
So practice, and practice daily.
Peace & Love