When writing about the benefits of meditation we look at several aspects. In this article I’m going to share the benefits I have discovered over my 30 years of meditation practice. I first discovered meditation in my early 20’s. At that time I was using drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with anxiety, negative thought patterns and low self esteem.
I was definitely not living a spiritual life at that time and was in no way interested in meditation. I was doing my best to keep myself away from my Inner thoughts and feelings through distraction and suppression.
Life took a drastic turn in 1991 when a very close friend was tragically killed in a car accident. That event sent me on a deep personal journey to find where we go when we pass over. I was introduced to meditation as a part of that exploration.
My early search lead to reading many books on the subject and attending various meditation groups.
At first I did not experience the benefits of meditation. Meditation is anything but easy at first. It is common for people to be turned off meditation when they first begin. This is because they have spent a lifetime trying to get away from their inner worlds (the world of thoughts, beliefs and feelings). To turn toward that crazy world of thoughts and feelings can be incredibly stressful.
The challenges of the wandering mind.
The thing about meditation is that it is so simple but yet so powerful. But for many people it is stressful and difficult at first. This is because the mind has been let run wild. The mind has been in control of the person, the mind has been running the show and now we’re telling the mind to quiet ! and it won’t like it. But like the wild horse with patience and persistence it can be tamed.
Meditation challenges our mind.! And the mind will not like challenge to its authority. So initially we get conflict, agitation, boredom, frustration and we look for outcomes. We live in a society that offers instant gratification for our efforts and entertainment so to close the eyes and turn to the ‘nothing’ can be anything but satisfying. That’s why so many people simply don’t get past the testing phase.
It is only through consistency of effort that we start to improve our ability to meditate and benefit from the practice.
Meditation in daily life
Our daily lives begin to improve through consistent meditation. Our outlook becomes more positive and our friends begin to notice these positive changes. This in turn has a positive effect on our friends and those around us. We start to shine from the inside out.
How often should I practice ?
The bigger more noticable benefits only begin to show when we have a daily practice.
If you are just starting out my advice is to start small and build your way up. Rome wasn’t built in a day and we can sabotage ourselves in the early stages if we have too high expectations.
I recommend 10 mins per day initially, in the morning preferably. Make it the first thing you do when you wake up. Sitting up comfortably.
Move to a twice a day practice, once in the morning and once at night. Build this up over time. Continue to grow your practice.
A great goal would be to build up to one hour per day. This is a really solid meditation practice where you will definitely see major benefits in your life.
One hour a day might seem like a lot at first but think about it, you have 16 hours of waking time per day. You might spend at least one hour of that watching TV or playing words with friends or some other mind numbing activity. You find you don’t miss out on anything because any time spent in deep meditation is worth at least 2 times that in sleep. So you end up needing less sleep. ( I used to be an 8 hours a night kinda guy, now it’s maybe 5 or 6 most nights and wake up bright to start the day rather than feeling heavy and lethargic…!)
The benefits of meditation
So, what are the benefits of meditation in our daily life ?
A regular meditation practice begins to grow a deep sense of Inner calm. These experiences of calm grow as we continue to invest time each day practicing.
Clarity of mind increases as we clear the mind of the clogged up (rubbish) thoughts that have been racing around up there in our heads. We think clearer and are more productive at work.
Self awareness increases as we get to know ourselves on a deeper level. It is only when we get to know ourselves that we can change ourselves at deep (core) levels. Vast self improvement and soul evolution can happen at these levels.
We develop advanced Problem solving skills as our ability to move from Problem focused living to solution focused living. (Life becomes more positive for a regular meditator).
We develop this inner stillness that becomes our default operating system. We move from anxiety and mayhem to stillness and solidity.
We see ourselves and the world for what it is, ‘the world is but a stage’. We see the drama unfolding around us but develop an ability to witness this rather than get caught up in it
We develop Self discipline, something most of us struggle with. This means we can begin to choose what it good for our soul and our growth rather than what feels good to the ego (eg. Comfort eating). We begin to commit to those things that are good for us, such as our long term health rather than short term gratifications.
We can break old thought patterns and negative self beliefs and old dysfunctional patterns and addictions because we start to take more responsibility for our choices and how our choices affect our experience of life.
We develop Self Love, this happens automatically because to meditate is a type of giving to self and this feels good to deeper soul parts.
An inner Joy begins to be experienced where there is spontaneous laughter. We get the joke of life rather than be caught up in the seriousness and heaviness of life.
So there we have it, the benefits of meditation are well worth establishing a solid practice. Begin today.
Where to from here ?
The benefits of meditation can be experienced in many ways. My advice would be to connect with a good meditation teacher. If you would like to know more feel free to contact me on 0414 586 910 and we can arrange a skype session or you can join the meditation group I run here in Geelong or have a one on one session at a cost affordable to you. Meditation classes are run in Geelong every Thursday night.
There are plenty of options, classes, books, online courses. I’m here if you need any help.
Warm regards, Steve