If You Want More Inner Peace
Well-Being And Happiness
Learn To Meditate
Mantra meditation* has been practiced in India for thousands of years because people knew that it reduces stress, calms the mind and increases inner peace. In the 1970s medical researchers at Harvard University began studying a form of meditation from India called Transcendental Meditation®. They found that during the practice of meditation the body has what they call the relaxation response, which gives the body deep rest that is deeper than the rest from sleep. They also found that through regular meditation that deep rest builds up in the body over time, and it is that deepening reservoir of rest that reduces stress and results in the many benefits of meditation.
Stress accounts for over 60% of doctor visits. So building on their studies, Harvard researchers then developed a form of mantra meditation that easily elicits the relaxation response and started teaching that meditation to doctors through Harvard Medical School. Inner Peace Meditation is based in part on that meditation developed at Harvard and in part on decades of mantra meditation practice by the staff of InnerPeaceFellowship.org.
Harvard researchers and others continued to study meditation and found that it can lower blood pressure, cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and stroke, can help relieve stress, depression, insomnia, sleeplessness, anxiety and worry, and can increase productivity, learning, happiness, well-being and inner peace. And people report having more mindfulness and deeper transcendence from Inner Peace Meditation and that it's easy to learn. Someone who practices Inner Peace Meditation wrote:
"I have been meditating for many years having done intensive Vipassana and
Mindfulness meditation yet felt that I had not found the right technique for me.
This gentle mantra meditation works quit well. Thanx" Lecia
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You learn to meditate by meditating. The silence and stillness you experience in meditation and the increased happiness and diminished stress you experience outside meditation are so attractive and welcomed that you naturally teach yourself how to go deeper into that silence and stillness each time you meditate.
To meditate you sit comfortably and quietly with your eyes closed and effortlessly and silently inside repeat a word or a short phrase called a mantra. Your mantra can be any word, sound, prayer or short phrase you like that is in your native language.
For example your mantra could be any one of the words: inner peace, effortless, compassion, love, one, calm, or gentle, or any short combination of those words. Your mantra can also be from your religious tradition. For example if you are Roman Catholic your mantra could be “Hail Mary Full of Grace”, which in Spanish would be “Ave Maria”. If you are Protestant your mantra could be “The Lord is my Shepherd” or “Our Father Who art in Heaven”. If you are Jewish your mantra could be “The Lord is my Shepherd” or “Shalom” and if you are Hindu your mantra could be “Om Sat Chit Ekam Brahma” or "So Hum". If you are of Tibetan Buddhist faith your mantra could be “Om Mani Padme Hum” and if you are of Islamic faith your mantra could be “Insha’Allah”. Your mantra could also be a simple prayer from your childhood or your family.
To begin meditating, sit comfortably and quietly and close your eyes. Start by relaxing your muscles, first in your feet, calves, and thighs, and then by shrugging your shoulders and rolling your head and neck around. Then for the first minute sit quietly with your eyes closed and do nothing. During that minute thoughts will come and notice that those thoughts come simply and without any effort. Then after a minute or so, silently inside start thinking your mantra in the same simple, effortless way as other thoughts came during that first minute.
Slowly repeat thinking your mantra in that same simple, effortless way for 15-30 minutes. (Choose the amount of time based on what suits you.) As you repeat thinking your mantra, thoughts will come and that’s okay; having thoughts during meditation is natural. When thoughts do come, gently return to thinking your mantra in the same simple, effortless way as thoughts come. At times you may be thinking the mantra unclearly, and that's okay. At times you may not be thinking the mantra at all but rather it may come as just a faint sense or feeling of the mantra, and that's okay. And at times thoughts and the mantra may disappear entirely but you are fully aware in silence and stillness, and that's okay.
During meditation it is important that you not TRY to meditate or make anything happen. Instead you must alway relax into effortlessness and let the mantra come in the same simple, effortless way as thoughts come. When you "try to make meditation happen" that will diminish the benefits of meditating, and it can cause pressure in your head or even a headache. The key to meditating is to do nothing.
Meditate every morning and every evening for 15-30 minutes. It is best to meditate before you eat. When you have finished meditating lay down and rest for 4-5 minutes. It’s fine if you fall asleep during meditation, but when you wake up meditate for a couple more minutes and then lay down and rest for a couple more minutes. If you have trouble getting to sleep at night, try meditating before laying down to sleep. If you have trouble with waking up in the night and not being able to get back to sleep, sit up in bed in the dark and meditate.
Avoid looking for experiences or signs of progress or failure with your meditation because that hinders meditation. Just be confident that after some time you will start to notice the benefits of meditating during your day. You may be happier, feeling more at ease and calmer, and getting along better with others. You may start noticing these benefits soon, or it may take up to six months of meditating regularly before you start to notice these benefits. So just get in the habit of meditating regularly and then stick with it. And be patient with yourself – if you stop meditating for a day or two, just go back and start meditating again.
After you have been meditating regularly for six months, add this instruction to your meditation: Until now your mantra has probably been coming from your head, or from nowhere in particular. From now on during meditation, gently shift your attention so that the mantra comes from your chest. To help center your mantra in your chest, notice your breathing occasionally.
Inner Peace Meditation is probably the most effective meditation program available today. We offer an Advanced Meditation program that is even more powerful. If you would like us to contact you when you become eligible for our Advanced Meditation program, you need to email us now →
We are continually updating this site with more information about meditation and how to increase inner peace, so check back in occasionally.
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There are side effects to meditating. Immediately after meditating you are generally more vulnerable to suggestions and outside influences. So avoid making decisions or taking on things of importance immediately after meditating.
If you find that sitting quietly is difficult for you for any reason then give up meditating with a mantra and instead consider walking alone in nature, doing yoga or tai chi, or running to relax your mind. Also, if meditating is disturbing, upsetting, or disquieting to you then give up meditating and do not do it any longer. Finally, meditation is not for solving serious emotional or psychiatric problems; so if you have such problems do not meditate and instead get professional help.
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* Inner Peace Meditation is nondirective mantra meditation. Other meditation techniques classified as nondirective are the Relaxation Response and Transcendental Meditation® according to the research report "Nondirective Meditation Activates Default Mode Network and Areas Associated with Memory Retrieval and Emotional Processing" in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience; 2014: 8:86.
Nondirective meditations are based on effortlessness and acceptance of mind wandering whereas directive meditations such as Mindfulness and Vipassana are based on exerting effort to resist thoughts and to resist mind wandering. The above research report found that nondirective meditation activates the default mode network of the brain more than directive meditation, which means nondirective meditation provides deeper rest than directive meditations.
Frequently Asked Questions
"I have been meditating for a very long time (I am 75 years old), but
have always ended up trying or trying not to try! Your meditation
instructions have relieved me of this tendency and I really find this
meditation very relaxing and easy to do.” Julie
Question: "I used to mediate regularly but stopped. Now with Inner Peace Meditation I am finding it difficult to quieten my mind and let the thoughts pass.”
Inner Peace Meditation works by relaxing into effortlessness – by doing nothing. You say that you used to meditate. There are many different types of meditation and many of those, such as mindfulness, require that you focus your attention and concentrate on getting rid of thoughts, or on how you are sitting, your breath, a thought, a sound, or an image – any of which require that you exert some effort to DO those things. Perhaps the meditation you did in the past required such efforts and so now you are expecting Inner Peace Meditation to require effort. Also, you say you are finding it difficult to quieten your mind and let the thoughts pass, which suggests that you may be exerting effort trying to quiet your mind and in letting the thoughts pass.
Again, Inner Peace Meditation works by relaxing into effortlessness. When you exert effort and try to DO Inner Peace Meditation it does not work, and such effort may even give you a headache.
Thoughts come for everyone when practicing any meditation, that’s natural. When thoughts come while practicing Inner Peace Meditation you do not exert any effort against them but rather you let the thoughts come as they will and then you gently think your mantra in the same effortless way as the thoughts are coming. Then the mantra will be gone and thoughts will have come again, and again in the same effortless way that those thought are now coming you again gently return to thinking your mantra. When doing mantra meditation everyone goes back and forth between having thoughts and thinking their mantra throughout meditation. So don’t be concerned as thoughts come, just relax and do not resist your thoughts or try to quiet them, and then gently return to thinking your mantra.
Trying to meditate - exerting effort to meditate - is the most common problem people have with mantra meditation. That is understandable since success in life usually comes through exerting effort, so exerting effort has become our habit. Consequently when people start Inner Peace Meditation many exert effort out of habit and try to DO something, but mantra meditation is about learning to do nothing and relaxing into effortlessness.
Relaxing into effortlessness is quite pleasant but it is also an unfamiliar experience for most people. Just know that it is through relaxing into effortlessness that you gain the deep rest and resulting benefits of Inner Peace Meditation. And do not be concerned when you fall asleep during meditation; everyone falls asleep occasionally during Inner Peace Meditation and that’s just fine. Many people in fact do Inner Peace Meditation to help get to sleep, or to get back to sleep when they wake up in the night.
Finally, just as each day is different each meditation is also different. During some meditations you will have thoughts almost entirely, during others you will be thinking your mantra more often, and sometimes thoughts and your mantra will be absent and you will simply be aware of your self. So do not be concerned about differences in your meditations from day to day, week to week or month to month. Just know that every time you meditate you are getting very deep rest that is building up in your physiology and that that deepening reservoir of rest is what yields the many benefits of mantra meditation.
“Why did people start meditating originally? What was its purpose?”
It appears that meditation was developed in part to help free us from the stress and worry that come from thinking too much.
We developed the ability to think abstractly only about 70,000 - 95,000 years ago and the life we live "in our head" today apparently did not exist before that time. As our ability to think abstractly developed we were then able to think about the future and the past more, which in turn caused more stress and worry.
And so today we live two lives: we live life in our thoughts and we live life as
our experience of the present moment. Freedom from stress and worry comes
as our life in thoughts diminishes and our experience of the present moment
predominates. Freedom comes through learning how to balance thoughts and
the present moment and meditation is a way to learn that. To learn more about
freedom from thinking too much, click on the image. →
“What does scientific research tell us about which meditation technique is best?"
While meditation techniques have been practiced for thousands of years, scientific research on meditation began when researchers at Harvard University began studying it in the 1970s. Since then there has been research on different meditation techniques and their effects but as yet there has been almost no research that compares different meditation techniques with one another in terms of specific effects. For example while researchers have found that mantra meditation may lower blood pressure, research has not been done yet that compares mantra meditation with other types of meditation in terms of lowering blood pressure. Thus it’s fair to say that research on meditation is still in its early stages today (2015).
Research is also suggesting that different meditation techniques may affect the physiology differently. For example mantra meditation may be more effective than other types of meditation for lowering blood pressure, stress, and the risk of heart disease and stroke while other types of meditation may be more effective than mantra meditation for treating psychological disorders and increasing compassion and kindness. Further, it is not yet known how individual factors such as upbringing, dna, psychology, world view, etc. effect which meditation technique is right for you.
We are optimistic that over the coming years such comparative research will be done that enables someone to design a meditation practice based on who they are and the outcome they seek. Until then go online and review the meditation research that is relevant to your goals. Remember that you may be meditating for many, many years, so investing the time now to get properly oriented makes good sense.