3 outstanding reasons to meditate
Have you ever experienced stress in your life? What is meditation, and why would one spend 1-2 hrs of their day meditating?
Meditation enables us to live from a connected, authentic and peaceful place. You might recall an experience that was perfect in itself, a sunset by the beach, the gaze of a lover, a butterfly landing on a flower. No thoughts, worries, intense emotions – merely a prevailing sense of joy with the beautiful moment experienced.
The 3 reasons to meditate:
I have been meditating 1-2 hrs daily for more than a year. It has become a very significant part of my daily routine – similar to eating or drinking water. It feels necessary for mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Guruji Goenka likened the daily cleanse of the mind to a daily shower. We do it daily to wash away the mental negativities accumulated throughout the day. Meditation can be a very pleasant experience characterised by peace, but might initially feel like a struggle as one learns to gain focus. But the long term benefits are definitely worth the initially perceived struggle.
1) Mental health
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) “one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives”. Meditation is used to treat common mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, addiction, everyday stress and it also promotes better sleep. Some research has shown that even a few minutes of mindfulness meditation is able to reduce everyday levels of anxiety. I have definitely noticed this on myself – sitting and meditating have significantly helped me (and continuously help me) with my stress/anxiety levels – by creating a “bigger picture” and allowing thoughts of worry to be placed into true perspective. I see meditation as a break – when things start snowballing seemingly out of control – meditation allows us to slow down the domino effect of anxiety and even stop it.
2) Increased awareness of self
Meditation not only reduces mental health issues, but also strengthens our ability to be aware of our thoughts/emotions/bodily sensations. It shines a light on how the outside world triggers conditioned behaviours or suppressed emotions that need to be seen. It empowers us to take responsibility for our reality without blame. Since childhood we are taught to project and delegate the responsibility of our emotions to outside circumstances. To find someone outside of ourselves to blame for our feelings: the government, the mean kid at school, the rude passenger on the train. Meditation allows us to gently take responsibility for our lives, our feelings and our realities fully and make changes that support our well-being and the well-being of those around us. Doing this with compassion towards ourselves and others, knowing that we have always done the best we could with our backgrounds, conditionings and behavioural patterns.
3) Improved concentration
Forget about pills to improve your concentration. Italian neuroscientists Giuseppe Pagnoni has found that “meditation not only changes brain patterns, but it also confers advantages in mental focus that may improve cognitive performance”. Meditation can literally change your brain chemistry and provide a much clearer mind with a better focus.
To sum up, if you want an improved mental health, a better awareness of yourself and stronger focus and concentration, meditation is for you. Start with 10 minutes sitting in a comfortable position and focus on your breath (on your nose as the breath enters and leaves). Thoughts will arise, but when you notice that your attention has wondered away from your breath, gently bring the focus back. Even this 10 minute daily meditation will contribute greatly to your life - but I am also planning on posting an article talking more about the techniques you can use for your meditation, so follow me to stay in the loop. :)
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With much gratitude and love,