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Meditation is often talked about as a stress–reduction tool.

Let’s look at some of the benefits of meditation and see why it works the way it does.

Most people today are unconscious. This means that when a stimulus comes up, the person automatically reacts in a certain way based on their beliefs and emotional surges. This is particularly dominant when the pain body overtakes the person.

One of the main aspects of meditation is that you simply sit in silent presence and allow yourself to be aware of your mind, your body, your surroundings, and all the stimuli that is constantly competing for your attention.

There’s a bazillion things we could pay attention to at any moment, but our brain (thankfully) helps us focus our awareness down to just a few things at any point in time.

In meditation, you allow yourself to sit still and consciously choose not to react to any mental or physical stimuli such as your thoughts, things you need to do now or later, any itchy sensations, sounds and noises in your environment, and so on. All the stuff that would normally pull you in a certain direction, you allow yourself to notice those things without getting pulled away from your meditation. They start to lose their control over you because you come to realize that hey, wait a sec, I don’t HAVE to respond to this stuff.

What happens is that by doing this, you notice a gap between a stimulus and your response.

Most people operate primarily unconsciously. That is, when there’s a stimulus such as someone saying, “You’re an idiot” or, “You’re wonderful,” these statements make them automatically react a certain way.

Through meditation, you come to be conscious of the small gap between a stimulus and your response. You become aware of the possibility of actually choosing your response consciously to any circumstance instead of being controlled by every external event that is beyond your control.

Stress is basically the feeling that life is getting out of hand and we’re losing control. It’s a sense of pressure beyond normal levels which leads to anxiety, discomfort, and fear. This stress is all mental. It all exists in the mind, in one’s imagination, no matter how real or justified it feels.

When one doesn’t know how to manage this stress, it commonly grows stronger and becomes more and more amplified.

A wonderful thing about meditation is that it gives you practice in consciously choosing your response to what is instead of unconsciously reacting to what is.

There is tremendous power in this consciousness, in the sense of presence that one embodies.

Being unconscious makes you feel confusion and anxiety. This confusion clouds over your inner knowingness and makes it harder to realize solutions to life’s problems.

Being conscious and fully present brings in a sense of clarity and focus. From this place, solutions are easy to come up with. You begin to feel like an oak tree who is certainly aware of and conscious of life’s twists and turns, but you don’t get pulled every which way. You maintain your centeredness and stillness, your sense of inner peace and freedom.

Instead of being pulled away from your centeredness, you get better and better at maintaining a sense of inner peace no matter what is happening externally or in your mind.

Meditation is a wonderful practice towards helping one deal with stress, in the short term and especially over the long term. It’s a way of life, a way of being.

The ability to easily handle stress and maintain a sense of clarity and stillness while life continues to unfold all around you is but one of the many fruits of regular meditation.

Strengthen your roots and you’ll enjoy some delicious fruits.

Ariel Bravy is a spiritual teacher guiding people along the pathway to enlightenment to open themselves up to unconditional love by raising their level of consciousness.