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Meditation Can Offer Health & Spiritual Benefits

By Keith Garvin, CBS 11 News
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People meditate and pray during a spiritual gathering. (credit: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

People meditate and pray during a spiritual gathering. (credit: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There is a Bible verse that states: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Whether through prayer or meditation, all religions seem to understand the value of sitting still and quieting the mind. And the Maria Kannon Zen Center in Dallas is helping people learn that lesson, in silence.

“I used to be very reactionary,” said Amy Garrett. “A problem would come up and I would just react. Now, I am able to respond, as opposed to reacting.” Garrett credits her newfound ‘peace of mind’ to the practice of meditation.

Those who regularly meditate see other health benefits as well. Meditation can relieve stress, lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety. But religious leaders add that meditation also serves a deeper purpose, by helping people to grow spiritually.

“That is the ultimate fruit that this practice has to offer,” said Ruben Habito, a professor of world religions at SMU and the spiritual director at the Maria Kannon Zen Center, “to live life no longer for one’s own self, but to find one’s true happiness in offering one’s self for the happiness of others.”

Habito said that, by making the time each day to sit still and quiet your mind, you can remove the little things that pull you away from the big picture. Habito said, “One is encouraged to realize that there is more to life than just what the eye can see.”

“We get so attached to the things we want, and we cling to them,” added Garrett, “unwilling to let go.”

But even if you realize the benefits of meditation, it can still be challenging to take a mental timeout. “When you try sitting, you think that you immediately can launch into a profound experience of silence, but then the mind imagines so many things. It goes all over the place,” explained Habito. “It’s called ‘monkey-mind,’ just running around and trying to grasp things. But the main thing is just to acknowledge that and bring it back to the breathe each time.”

“With that,” Habito then said, “one will just begin to have that sense, that just being here right now can open one’s self up to the richness of life.”

The Maria Kannon Zen Center offers introduction classes and meditation retreats. Click here to sign up, or learn more about the calming art of meditation.

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