Meditation, derived from the Latin term meditari, means “to think, contemplate”. Also known as dhyana in Hindu and Buddist culture, meditation practices trace all the way back to a 12th-century monk. Its early origins obscure the possibility of a clear cut definition, but meditation is the practice of training the mind in search of attentiveness, inner peace, and understanding. In essence, meditating facilitates the tranquility of mind, body, and spirit.
Focusing your mind, giving the entirety of your attention, you engage in mental exercises that, in theory, brings you a higher level of spiritual awareness. Whether or not your goal is to ascend, or destress, meditation is a beneficial exercise for healing. Practicing these exercises can aid in maintaining your sobriety. As you meditate, you shift your focus from bodily cravings onto building serenity in the mind.
Due to the overwhelming media presence, meditation, and it’s sister yoga, has received a rather specific depiction. As a result, many people dismiss it as another bogus, exclusive exercise meant for the tall, thin women of California to flock to. On the contrary, meditation is a universal practice for the mind of any and all willing to try. Those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction are not only welcome but encouraged to practice!
In fact, many drug and alcohol treatment centers have incorporated meditating and yoga therapies into their programs. Having recognized the important connection between addiction and a healthy mentality, recovery centers utilize the healing properties of meditation to instill the positive thinking necessary for maintaining sobriety.
The three main classifications of meditation: focused meditation, open-monitoring meditation, and No Thought mediation.
When practicing a focused method, as known as concentrative meditation, you pay attention to breathing, an idea, or feeling. In addition, transcendental meditation is when you center your attention on a mantra. Mantras are repetitive chants with an intention behind them. These chants can be a single word, a group of words, a sound (“om”), or a sacred utterance. Another option, single point focus meditation, fixes your gaze on an isolated, stagnant object for a defined amount of time. Additionally, koan is an ancient meditative practice originating in Asia. When following a koan, you contemplate a question, often focused on the identity of opposites which aims to eliminate dualities.
Open monitoring methods center around mindfulness. Through this practice, you focus on obtaining higher levels of awareness. The goal of open monitoring meditation is to reach an advanced state of mind that enables you to take in information without reaction physically or emotionally. Vipassana, or “special seeing”, is a Buddhist practice that seeks to offer insight into the true nature of your surroundings. While practicing, you learn to view the object of your attention clearly, separating the individual components into isolated entities, allowing you to perceive the fundamental reality of the object. Vipassana meditation masters sati (mindfulness) and samatha (calm) through anapanasati (mindful breathing). Alongside this, you contemplate your impermanence by observing changes in your body and mind to gain insight into reality.
No Thought Method
Unlike other meditative exercises, the No Thought method requires you to gain full control of your mind, emptying it of all thought while remaining fully alert. While other approaches train you to become detached and non-judgmental of thoughts, No Thought instructs you to cease all thought. Sahaja yoga is a Hindu meditation in which you seek truth and self-realization through Kundalini (divine female energy) and thoughtless awareness. Additionally, clear light yoga uses the Tibetan Buddhist concept “luminous mind” and involves mental silence. A luminous mind is a continuous state of mindset free of worldly pressures that create our personas and influence our behaviors.
Practicing Meditation as Sobriety Maintenance
Meditation is an accessible technique that creates mindfulness and instills a sense of calm in the body. Regardless of which meditative method speaks most to you, the benefits will come. As you meditate, you will learn more about yourself and the world around you. As a result, the stressors in your life will lose their grip and release you from cravings.