When a person successfully meditates, the mind and body become focused and relaxed. This relaxation can help with chronic back pain as well as the acute flare ups that can come with to much time in front of the computer. Developing a routine of regular periods of meditation will result in increased awareness, concentration, and focus, and will also give the practitioner a more optimistic outlook on life as well as possibly less back pain. While mystics, monks, and other spiritual types are most commonly associated with meditation, being a mystic or monk is not necessary in order
to enjoy the benefits of meditating. Meditation does not require a special location; you can even practice it in the comfort of your own living room!
The approaches to meditation vary significantly; however, the fundamentals of the art are consistent throughout. The primary goal of meditation is to remove any negative, obstructive, and wandering thoughts in order to calm the mind. This is achieved by acquiring the ability to attain a deep state of focus. While in this state, your mind will be cleared of distraction and enjoy a higher level of functioning.
Your mind is filled with the negative thoughts you have of bossy office mates, noisy neighbors, unwanted email spam, and that parking ticket you got all contribute to the ‘polluting’ of thoughts. Shutting out those negative thoughts through meditation cleanses the mind so you can focus on deeper, more positive, meaningful thoughts.
A few practitioners of meditation go so far as to shut out all sensory input—nothing to see, nothing to hear, and nothing to touch—detaching themselves from all of the commotion surrounding them. Once they have successfully shut out all sensory input, they are free to focus on whatever deep, profound thoughts they wish. The lack of sensory input may be deafening at first. After all, we are accustomed to hearing and seeing things constantly. However, as you repeat this exercise again and again you will discover that you are becoming more aware of your surroundings.
The objective of your meditation position is to be comfortable, and thus in a position conducive to concentration. Meditation can be performed while sitting cross-legged, lying down, standing, and even walking. Any position which you find comfortable is acceptable, as long as you keep your back straight (don’t slouch) and you don’t fall asleep. Clothes that are comfortable and loose fitting help you avoid feeling tense.
While you can meditate almost anywhere, the location where you choose to meditate should be a soothing environment. This environment could be your living room or bedroom, or any place which makes you feel at ease. If your inner contortionist is screaming to be released (not while your back is flared though please) and you feel you would be more comfortable taking on the more challenging meditation positions, you will probably want to purchase an exercise mat.
Most people find that silence is helpful when trying to meditate. If you find this to be the case, an isolated, quiet area away from the humming of the washing machine and far from cell phones and other electronic devices would be best. Pleasing smells, as those from aromatic candles, are often found to help relaxation as well. The monotonous sounds monks make on television and in the movies while meditating are actually them performing a mantra. In the simplest terms, a mantra is a simple sound which holds a mystic value to the practitioner. A mantra is not necessary; you can hum or focus on repeated actions like deep breathing to achieve a higher state of consciousness. The primary principle is to simply focus. Focusing on a single sight, object, or thought while keeping your eyes open are other alternatives.
An example of a routine to assist in your focusing while in a meditative state would be to silently name every part of your body while focusing your consciousness on the part you are naming. Doing this should raise your awareness of any tension in any area of your body. Once you are aware of that tension, visualize releasing this tension in your mind. It really does work wonders.
The bottom line is that meditation is a relatively easy and rewarding routine to add to your life that requires almost no effort and has many pluses for back pain sufferers. Meditation has been found in studies to benefit the body physiologically, and there has been increased effort in the medical community to further study meditation’s effects. Add a meditation routine to your life and start reaping the many benefits today!