4 Ways Meditation Supports Health and Healing
So, what can we draw from Bernice’s story that can help us heal and be healthier?
1. Your mindset affects your ability to heal
As we saw with Bernice, her healing began with healing her attitude, her habitual mindset. She recognized her habit of looking at life through a negative and fear-based lens. She was always wary, on guard, and expecting the worst. Before attending the cancer self-help group, she hadn’t really noticed this was a mindset, or that it was detrimental-she just thought she was being conscientious, responsible, and careful.
Bernice learned to change her mindset by affirming, “I am a positive person.”
Now, having a positive mindset is not about making things up or making things better than they really are. It’s about noticing the opportunities that are present in every situation. It’s about seeing what can be done rather than focusing on what can’t. It’s about being present with “what is” and noticing what you can do to move things forward in a good direction.
When you do this, you open yourself to a wider scope of possibilities and become more inspired to take positive action.
2. The choices you make matter
As you open yourself to a wider scope of possibilities, you realize you can choose to take actions that make a positive difference for yourself and others. Things are not “just the way they are,” they are the result of a series of choices that combine to create specific results.
Meditation supports a state of clear seeing in which you can recognize options and make good choices. Through meditation, you become more able to choose what works and let go of what doesn’t.
As Bernice opened to the possibility of healing, she began to make different choices. She chose to say her positive affirmations to reset her mindset. She adopted a healthier diet. She meditated daily. She increased her efforts to serve others. She widened her community.
In time, these combined with other unseen forces to create healing.
3. Meditation itself supports healing
One of the most important things you can do to facilitate healing-whether it’s physical or mental-emotional-is to activate your body’s natural relaxation response.
When you are in stress-mode, over-busy, and over-whelmed, your body restricts energy flow to digestion, immune, and higher-thought processes. Your sympathetic nervous system directs all energy outward and you lose your ability to absorb nutrients, repair your cells, and make good choices.
Our bodies are made to alternate between periods of activity and rest. Most of err on the side of too much activity. We rush from one thing to the next and don’t allow ourselves time to consciously process the events of the day. Then, we spend our sleeping hours actively processing life in our dreams. This hinders deep rest and recovery.
When you consciously relax, using a tool such as meditation, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, your natural recovery and repair mode. This brings digestion, immune, and higher-thinking capacities back online. You also begin to process and integrate the events of the day, and of your life up to now, so you can let the past go and be more present with what is.
For these reasons, it’s vitally essential to consciously activate the Relaxation Response at least once a day using a tool such as meditation for at least 10-20 minutes.
4. Meaningful imagery supports healing
Bernice had a strong faith in God. Because of this, she found it quite helpful and healing to imagine herself immersed in the Divine Presence. This soothed and comforted her. Her faith also prompted her to take other healing actions, serve others, and build community.
When we think only of ourselves and our own suffering, it’s easy to get bogged down in feeling “Woe is me.” Widening your vision to realize your Oneness with the larger field of Life inspires and heals. Health and healing occur naturally as a result of the Universal Life-Force flowing strongly and smoothly through your whole being. Meditation is a powerful way to mindfully recognize blocks to this flow, release them, and center into this deeper enlivening Presence.