A friend recently asked me about my meditation practice. He wanted to meet up for a coffee and open an in-depth conversation on the subject, as he is becoming curious about it.
I replied: "Sorry, I'm currently super busy with this new project I'm getting off the ground - my Steemit blog! But this is actually a very good topic I can write a comprehensive article about, which I will then send to you."
So, here it goes.
Firstly, I must say that I do not consider myself an experienced meditator, or a meditation teacher. I am simply going to share the insights I've been gathering since meditation made its way into my life.
That started exactly two years ago. I became friends with someone who was part of a Buddhist centre in London, and he gave the book "Change Your Mind - A Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation" by Paramananda.
This book confirmed to me what I kind of already knew: a consistent meditation practice could facilitate a deep and powerful transformation in the way I related to myself and life.
Well, it took me more than a year and a half to actually establish a daily meditation routine.
"I haven't got time for this", "I can't be bothered", "Oh, it's not that important" were some of my excuses.
Do they ring a bell?
In fact, my mind was not yet ready to admit to its own limitations.
My mind was utterly convinced that it had all the answers and that it had to constantly jump up and down with assessments, labels and categorizations.
But, as I started to meditate, I realized I could access an incredibly bountiful well of inspiration hidden underneath my surface cognitive activity.
"Mmm... " I whispered to myself. "I am getting all these enlightening insights and revelations, I have to write them down."
As I started recording these ideas, I noticed that something happened to the quality of my writing.
My writing became more fluid, more intelligent, more elegant, more insightful.
It was as if meditation was somehow softening my hard edges... It was as if I was granted entry into a very rich, fertile place that nourished my soul and made it come alive through words.
I was hooked.
“Wow, I can become a better writer if I meditate more!”
Writing is my biggest passion so, obviously, I feel inclined to pursue anything that potentially improves it.
That realisation stayed with me for a while, but life happened again and I lost touch with that deeper invitation.
But not to worry, the invitation came back to me, time and time again.
Whenever I began feeling disconnected from my centre, I knew that I could meditate and find myself again.
Indeed, every time I would get my ass on the meditation cushion, inevitably and consistently, I would find everything I thought was missing and therefore searching outside of myself.
A deep sense of homecoming, of safety and ease would envelop me as I rejoiced in this sense of my own essence, of my own innocence. It felt so good, it felt so right.
(Photo taken in the autumn of 2016 by a good friend of mine, David Weeden)
But my mind was stubborn.
It wouldn’t want to comply with this sacred directive to meditate more often. It was so easily distracted by the affairs of this wildly spinning world. It was so easily seduced by the promises of satisfaction from external sources.
However, something monumental happened in my life last summer, which altered my entire life paradigm.
I left an abusive relationship, inside which I had lost myself. At that point, I knew I had to find myself again.
So I started meditating and doing yoga. These two go hand in hand… In fact, some yogis say that one pursues the practice of yoga in preparation for the meditation experience, of oneness with the divine.
I was lucky enough to be inspired by a couple of good friends who have a regular yoga practice and shared with me their online resources. (by the way, this is the website I do my morning yoga with)
I started experiencing the benefits of this regular practice, so I knew I had to bring it very high on my priority list.
Here are the three main reasons why meditation is changing my life for the better.
1. Meditation facilitates the process of individuation.
What does that mean?
Well, I believe that it is a challenge for many of us to develop our own voice, cultivate our own opinions, pursue our own path while being constantly bombarded by endless stimuli – from T.V., the internet, society, institutions, friends and family.
Especially if you’re a sensitive, like me, it’s extremely hard to develop a sense of your unique self. Absorbing information and energy from so many sources has enriched me, but also disconnected me at times from my own inner truth.
Meditation, therefore, opens up a space where I can be fully present with this quiet inner voice.
I learnt that this voice is actually the only one that I am meant to follow in this lifetime, because it comes from my soul’s wisdom and it tells me everything I need to know.
Heeding its guidance so far has brought me tremendous joy and fulfilment.
Ignoring it has caused what my favourite Canadian writer, Jeff Brown, calls truth-aches – those moments of deep dissatisfaction engendered by not pursuing what feels most true to us.
And so, by tuning in, really listening and then acting upon these inner directives, I become more of who I am meant to become – not that which I think I should be, based on external influences.
And, my friends, this is hugely liberating and empowering.
2. Meditation strengthens your willpower, focus, sense of presence and non-reactivity
If you’re like me, very easily swayed and distracted, I can guarantee that meditation will act as a solid anchor for a ship on stormy seas.
Especially if you have a quick temper or are very impulsive, meditation will wake you up to the realisation that you don’t have to be controlled by the irrational nature of your emotions.
How many times has a current situation brought up feelings from previous stressful situations?
How many times have you stepped back to look whether your reaction is truly reflective of the reality of the present situation, or is tainted by your unprocessed feelings from the past?
Meditation grows an ability to observe any emerging thoughts and feelings, without having to react to them.
This burgeoning sense of presence is incredibly powerful.
It puts you in a position of being able to make conscious choices based on the truth in the moment, instead of reacting automatically from unresolved past issues.
For example, I am very sensitive to sound. Any kind of loud or disturbing noise really sets me off.
My childhood upbringing informed me that I must react violently against such sonic calamities, but I realized that doing so only makes it worse for me.
Meditation has helped me become more tolerant and tranquil when even the most annoying sounds bombard my eardrums.
Sitting there for 10, 20 or 30 minutes doing nothing but focusing on your breathing can be challenging at first, for it is the nature of our mind to be a constant chatterbox.
Noticing the thoughts come and go, staying present with that space that contains but does not attach to any of them is an ability that grows with practice and patience.
I can assure you, though, that your effort will pay off. Your focus and discipline will be magnified. And correct me if I’m wrong – is there anyone who doesn’t need a little extra consistency and determination in their lives, so they can achieve their goals?
3. Meditation attunes you to an infinite well of inspiration, imagination and creativity.
If you’re a creative person you go through phases of feeling either super inspired or super dry.
Especially if you’re on Steemit trying to build an audience and have many people read your material – you need some really good ideas to elaborate on in your posts.
I found that meditating works wonders in this department.
I don’t have to think about what to write, ideas come to me simply by me opening this space, and being non-attached towards what will come of it.
It is not the purpose of traditional meditation to enter a conversation with your ideas, but, if you’re like me and like to do things your way, you can just experiment during the meditation and see what works for you.
I see meditation like entering a garden. It’s up to you, the gardener, to tend to your garden, by showing up every day and doing the work that’s needed there.
If you do, the garden will enchant you with its wonderful delights. If your flowers are not watered properly, they will wither and die eventually.
Let the lush perfume of your inner flowers nourish your spirit. Let their sweet nectar fill your inner cup, until it overflows with beauty and inspiration, to be shared with the whole world.
So, these are the three main areas that I feel are being massively strengthened through my meditation practice: individuation, presence and creativity.
Of course, there are so many other positive benefits of meditation.
Meditation makes me wiser, calmer, freer, more compassionate, even more beautiful!
My face literally glows after a good meditation session, my energy body feels lighter and my mind rejuvenated.
(Me after meditating under a tree!)
I cannot recommend meditation enough. It has become an intrinsic part of my personality.
And I think it should be part of everyone’s routine, like brushing our teeth or showering. It is no wonder why so many Eastern traditions teach the importance of meditating.
Imagine needing nothing, accepting everything, and acting from that place of pure joy and wonder at existence, every single day of your life. Doesn’t that sound pretty cool?
We have to know ourselves on a deep, intimate level if we are to embody our truest innate magnificence. And the more we love and accept ourselves through meditation, the more we can love and embrace the whole world.
I’m very glad to see that meditation is being introduced in some schools now. “If every child in the world would be taught meditation, we would eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”(Dalai Lama)
Meditation is a medicine freely available to everyone, if only we made the commitment to devote a little our their time to this intimate, sacred practice every day. It will definitely change our lives for the better.
Now, I have some questions for you.
Do you meditate? If yes, how often? How is meditation improving your life?
If you don’t meditate, would you like to start? Do you feel like you need some guidance for getting started?
I’m going on my first 5-day meditation retreat in mid-February in Devon, South Western England. I’m very excited and I’m looking forward to taking my practice to the next level with the guidance of experienced teachers.
Lastly, this is a poem of mine about meditation.
I sit once again
On the throne of witness consciousness.
The urgency of certain thoughts
Is numbing away,
Automatic impulses controlled.
The more I reside on this throne
The more expanded overview I get
Over my mental landscape
Seeing beyond the horizon
Oh limiting thoughts
Into the vastness of infinity.
Meditation is being one with existence.
Mind, body, spirit
Unite with all that is,
Opening to timelessness
In the Here and Now.
(This is me, in meditation pose for the camera *hehe )
I hope this post was useful to you. If it was, I would really appreciate it if you upvoted, resteemed it and followed me!
Be You, Be Wild, Be Free!