The word “meditation” embodies many things. As a practitioner and meditation devotee, Kevin Hume describes the practice as “simple exercises for the mind, which relax the body and calm and improve functioning of the mind”. Dr Joan Borysenko, psychologist, scientist and renowned pioneer in integrative medicine, describes meditation as “being pleasantly anchored in the present moment” in her book Beginners Guide to Meditation.
Essentially, meditation can be termed as simply focusing on something and keeping mindful of it for as long as you can to create a calming effect on the mind and body. It is about putting yourself in touch with your senses and filtering out all negative and busy thoughts that are part and parcel of today’s busy lifestyle. Meditation is no longer an inaccessible practice taught only by gurus to those seeking enlightenment or those who are devoted to ancient religions such as Buddhism or Hinduism.
Meditation is a state of altered consciousness in which your brain slows down from its normal, beta-wave activity to a calmer alpha state. The alpha state allows you to remain alert but does not disrupt your awareness like sleeping does. This causes a sense of deep relaxation and peacefulness brought about by neurochemical changes. After a meditation session you can return to the full beta state, which is perfect for today’s busy lifestyle.
For many, meditation is often thrown in the too-hard basket. Between work and play, there is never enough time to concentrate on being still, or perhaps whenever you have tried to quiet your mind in the past you have ended up becoming more stressed by your inability to de-stress straight away.
Meditation isn’t easy, yet it is also a lot less complicated than it is commonly perceived to be. For example, to meditate successfully you do not need to be operating on a higher plane of spiritual existence or get up at 3am to reap the benefits. There are many different types of meditation that cater to a varied number of individuals. As we are all programmed differently, it makes sense that one type of meditation may not work for you and your lifestyle even though it may work for others.
Many are familiar with the concept of meditation but hesitate to take the step to embed it as practice in their lives. Meditation devotees are not born into the process, nor do they become successful at meditation straight away. As with any form of holistic therapy, it is just as much about the journey as the destination. It is an individual process that must not be judged or compared, as it is really about the individual mind, body and spirit.
Director of the Sydney Meditation Centre Kevin Hume’s experience with meditation began, as it often does with fateful discovery, by accident. “A friend recommended Eric Harrison of the Perth Meditation Centre almost 20 years ago. His approach was down to earth and practical with a variety of techniques grounded in the emerging science of meditation.
“After a high-stress, high-pressure, high-profile professional life in broadcasting, corporate and government affairs and then as an adviser to a cabinet minister with far too many portfolios of responsibility, I decided enough was enough. I saw so many stressed-out-of-their-heads like-minded people around me, so thought I could spread the cheer and make a decent living from teaching something that was fun and helped people heal and change their thinking for the better. That was eight years ago. No regrets. Good choice.”