Elderly people often suffer from feelings such as depression, loneliness, rejection, helplessness and fear, mainly due to the number of ailments and diseases that ageing brings. People suffering from physical disabilities need to rely on other people for help, which is hard to accept after years of physical, financial and emotional independence. Practicing meditation everyday can help elderly people find new meaning in their lives, by connecting with their spiritual self and deriving immense happiness in its purest form.
Meditation techniques originate from the Sanskrit culture, known as bhavana , which means ‘becoming’ or ‘being’. The purpose of meditation is therefore to become aware of oneself by observing one’s own thoughts and feelings, and learning to control them. Mediation can be performed using a variety of techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, chanting shlokas (Sanskrit verses), sitting with folded knees, sitting in a lotus yoga pose, and even walking. Meditation can be done by repeating a certain phrase or mantra , or focusing your gaze on a distant object such as a candle flame. In fact, meditation is practiced in several religions such as Catholicism, Judaism, and Buddhism.
The basic principle behind meditation is bringing your thoughts to concentrate on one single thing. Your mind will be distracted and wander off in between. Your task will be to bring your attention back to the object again. Eventually you will become aware of the present moment, and your mind will accept the present, without any judgments. You can start by focusing on your breath, every inhale and exhale will become a conscious process. As you keep concentrating on your breath, all other negative thoughts will vanish. You will enter a state of clear and alert relaxation. Over time, you will be able to enter this state of meditation at will, even when you are not meditating.
Elderly people practicing meditation can experience pain relief as well. Our thoughts and emotions are reactions to pain. With experience, meditation can help you separate the feeling from the actual pain. When we become aware of the pain, and acknowledge it, we can control our reaction to it. Through meditation, we can change our perception, and cope effectively with pain. Since meditation also reduces stress, it relieves the tension in the muscles and decreases blood pressure. Meditation improves circulation of blood within the body, consequently alleviating body pain.
Meditation can help cure a variety of old age diseases such as cancer, chronic illness, heart disease, high blood pressure, emphysema, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), ulcers and insomnia. It can reduce depression, anxiety, stress and pain. Meditation can help fight drug addiction, and significantly increase life expectancy. It helps to balance the physical, mental and spiritual states and is simple to perform. It has been proven to reduce the body’s core temperature, which in turn can prolong life expectancy. Moreover, meditation can strengthen the immune system, and reduce harmful hormones and biochemical compounds present in the blood stream. This alternative therapy should therefore be practiced by elderly citizens, to bring happiness, relaxation and health in their life, without the burden of any side effects.