The Rich Benefits of Meditation
I recently had the opportunity to attend a workshop on meditation at the Christian Brothers Centre in Stellenbosch. It was a double experience of sheer privilege.
Firstly, the centre has become a place of renewal and re-energising for many people. It has now been transformed into a peaceful space which gives opportunities for deep reflection, meditation and tranquillity.
The workshop was held in the newly-built meditation chapel, which is in the shape of a rondawel.
Upon entering the chapel, you are requested to take off your shoes because you are entering a sacred space. There is seating around the chapel as well as mats and cushions for those who want to meditate on the floor. In the middle of the chapel is a water feature which lights up, so one can see the water and also hear its sound.
And the water, for me, is what makes the chapel the ideal space for meditation. It is well known that water has healing effects, and it is therefore not surprising that meditation and water are a natural combination.
In the Buddhist tradition, water usually is the symbol of serenity, purity, and clarity of thought. There are many guided meditations that use water imagery and the sounds of waterfalls, babbling brooks or ocean waves to help the body’s binaural rhythms.
Water is crucial to life; humans, animals and plants simply dry up and die when they do not have it. Water is soothing, it is inspiring, and since the beginning of time human beings have been drawn to water.
The Christian Brothers have designed the perfect meditation chapel by placing a water feature in its centre. It is an experience!
My second experience of privilege at the workshop was the education about meditation itself, and particularly about children and meditation.
Children Meditate Naturally
I learned that children meditate naturally. That is something I did not know. I learnt that one of the most significant developments in the world of Christian meditation is the way in which children and young people are embracing this form of prayer.
Children enjoy meditation, and one of the reasons for this is because it’s an activity where they are all equal. In meditation there is no competition. There is only each one’s experience of meditation. So it does not matter whether you are the smartest, prettiest, richest, fastest or strongest in the class. In the meditation room, none of that counts because each child is asked to draw on and connect with that which each one possesses an equal share of, the Spirit of God.
Needless to say, meditation has a positive impact on the academic performance of the child as well as his/her social development.
For adults, too, there are many benefits of meditation. Meditation increases your emotional stability and your mental harmony. It expands your self-awareness and your state of consciousness. You become more aware of what’s happening around you. Meditation improves your sleep and helps with insomnia. By meditating regularly you will have more motivation and ability to reach your goals.
It has a physical benefit has well. Meditation can boost your immune system, your health and your wellbeing.
All in all, meditation builds community because it has all these wonderful benefits for the individual.
Meditation is found in all religious traditions. In Christianity it is the heart of the contemplative teaching of Jesus on prayer. Meditation, in the Christian tradition, is often called the prayer of the heart.
When next you find yourself in the beautiful Cape area, please visit the Christian Brothers Centre in Stellenbosch and enjoy your experience of renewal. In my opinion, it should be on everybody’s bucket list!