Meditation – Why Do It

When I first started reading about meditation – it put me to sleep. I hadn’t even begun the practice and there I was dozing off. The issue was my lack of motivation. I had heard about meditation and some of the benefits of doing it, but I wasn’t convinced of its benefits.  After all, I am the stubborn sort; everything has to be proved logically for me to believe it. And at the time, I hadn’t read much about meditation so my logic was limiting. There is nothing like being young and naïve.

My initial motivation to try meditation was as a way to alive the tremendous stress I was enduring both at work and at home. I was out of options, so I thought – "what the heck – I keep hearing about meditation and its ability to relieve stress, I think I will try it” I asked one of my co workers who meditated, for a few book recommendations and if she knew of a class. She gave me lots of information and I went right out and bought several of her recommendations – went home and began the journey.

I have had many stops and starts on the road of meditation over the years and each one has brought more experiential insight as to why it is beneficial. Meditation has grown on me and I would feel lost without it. I do know my life is much more balanced because I meditate daily. Now I find myself being in meditation in more moments throughout the day. What I have learned over the years is - the ultimate goal is really non meditation – living in ‘the NOW’ all the time with no distractions. I am not there yet, but I do keep working on it. The other benefits are a by-product, so to speak.

The ultimate goal of meditation - causes us to see things as they really are. To get there we have to learn to listen to the silence – the space between inhalation and exhalation. We sometimes experience this when we are in the middle of being shocked – time stands still and everything seems to be moving in slow motion. This happens because the shock forces us to ‘be in the moment (now). We are hyper focusing.  Meditation is a much better way to experience that space.

 Some people think that it is about zoning out, going someplace else and experiencing visions. That is not what meditation is about. Those things can and do happen to people but that is not true meditation.  True meditation is being alert, present to each moment and what it brings - all of the senses are highly attuned.

We don’t have to sit to meditate although it is good to do so, but remember the ultimate goal is non meditation. So, meditation can be done anywhere and under any circumstance. Try this: When you are reading the paper or talking to someone, stay focused on what is being said. As soon as you catch your mind wondering – bring it back to the moment. There is no need to chastise yourself or even think – ‘my mind is wondering again’. Doing this serves no purpose and takes you further away from meditation.

Here are a few good reasons to meditate:
One of the benefits is as a stress reliever.  It’s amazing how staying in the moment elevates stress. If you are only actively participating in the present moment, you aren’t thinking about the past or contemplating the future. You are focused on what is in front of you, Thoughts are always going to bubble up to the surface because you really can’t stop them, but don’t cling to them.  Let them come and let them go. Trust me, it works. 

Another benefit is in memory function. There are several reasons for this: first, we are focused on the present moment only and that helps concentration and enhances the process of decision making. Secondly, we are creating new nerve pathways. There have been studies done showing areas of the brain associated with memory and learning having improved after the use of meditation.

Still another benefit is concerning thoughts and emotions. Our thoughts become clearer and our emotions balance out. We don’t have emotional outbursts as often and when they do we move through them quicker.

We also get to know ourselves – who we truly are and this knowledge helps to bring the peace and happiness that we seek.

Our lives flow easier – we are in rhythm with the flow of nature and we find there is no need to push or force life. This does not mean not taking action. What happens is that we know when and what action to take.

I am forever grateful that I took the first step towards meditation and that I have kept going. It hasn’t been an easy journey to become consistent with it, but I am glad to say, I now have a daily practice that works for me.

Meditation is a very good thing!!!!

See you next month