If you’re looking for happiness, if you question the meaning and purpose of your life, if you want to experience connection and an improved state of health, then meditation is your gateway. Read on to see why I consider a steady meditation practice to be the most significant action you could take to improve your life.
Modern-day living and culture has placed so much stress and overwhelm on our bodies, minds and souls. Depression, anxiety and disease are just some of the unfavourable side-effects of our lifestyle. The intensity this pressure has placed on society has prompted more people to speak about their struggles, which has given rise to a new level of awareness around the need for physical, mental and emotional health.
Meditation is one practice you can perform that simultaneously brings healing to your body, mind and soul. I therefore consider it to be the most significant action you can take to improve you life.
So What Exactly is Meditation?
Meditation is any practice that elicits a state of being relaxed yet alert, while having present-moment awareness. It’s that feeling often described as “being in the zone”. Achieving this state is a skill that with consistent practice gets more comfortable and enjoyable.
“Meditation is an act of self-care.”
How Meditation Helps
We can appreciate the immense value that meditation brings once we understand how intricately linked our body, mind and soul are. For anyone looking to improve their life on any level, meditation really is a game-changer.
The benefits of meditation are many and reach far beyond your few minutes in silence, with continued practice you will carry them throughout your day as well. As your body-mind-soul are beautifully interconnected there will inevitably be an overlap of benefits which further leverages the healing potential.
Meditation is a Game-Changer
Despite the chaos we may encounter in the world, the trauma we may have suffered in the past, the uncertainty of the future or the difficulties we may be facing right now, we are all personally responsible for our own health and wellbeing and we can all make changes to improve our lives.
Meditation will change your life. Words do not adequately express the profound benefits that regular meditation practice brings. You may “get it” from an intellectual point of view, but really it must be experienced to be understood on a deeper level.
So if you really do want to understand yourself better, find meaning and purpose in your life, experience connection, heal your body and ultimately feel happier… I encourage you to dive right in and learn a meditation style that interests you.
There are many styles of meditation designed to help you achieve a meditative state of mind. You will experience the best results when you choose a style that suits your personality, because you will be more likely to enjoy it and stick with it. Regular meditation is essential to reap the long-term benefits.
Meditation styles you might enjoy are:
Guided Meditation - listening to a guide lead you on a journey, creative visualisation.
Reiki - within the system of Reiki there are a number of meditation practices you may enjoy.
Zen Meditation - being aware of everything around you in the present moment, listening to sounds of nature, focussing on the flow of the breath or heartbeat.
Mantra Meditation - using the repetition of a word or phrase, reciting prayers, affirmations, chanting, kirtan.
Movement Meditation - movement performed mindfully, walking a labyrinth, chakra dance, ecstatic dance, sufi whirling, tai-chi, yoga.
Japa Meditation - using the repetition of a mantra with movement of mala/prayer beads.
Mindfulness - witnessing the present moment without judgement, awareness of thoughts, awareness of breath, mindful eating, mindful colouring, body scan.
Visual Meditation - using your gaze, watching a candle flame, gazing at a mandala, watching waves break.
Sound Bath - using sound vibrations, tibetan singing bowls, crystal bowls, drumming, sounds of nature.
Metta Meditation - cultivating feelings of loving-kindness, extending well-wishes to yourself and others.
Here are the most common myths I hear about meditation, and my encouragement to you.
“I can’t meditate because I think too much”
My encouragement: The great news is that meditation isn’t about forcing the mind to stop thinking! It’s the mind’s job to think and even experienced meditators will have a stream of thoughts running through their mind - they just choose not to focus on them.
With meditation we become aware of the thought stream with a sense of detachment and non-judgement, while gently returning our attention to the present moment. We are choosing where to place our attention - the present moment. With time and practice this becomes easier, and the thoughts that continue to flood your mind seem to hold less pull. Once this happens you begin to feel more calm and serene, and you will find yourself wanting to meditate!
“I can’t sit still long enough to meditate”
My encouragement: Meditation needn’t be uncomfortable, holding the lotus position for hours on end is not a requirement for successful meditation!
Set yourself up comfortably with cushions and blankets. Use a cushion if you sit on the floor or choose an upright but comfortable chair. There are even meditation styles that involves moving your body, so find one that appeals to you and give it a go.
“I don’t have time for meditation”
My encouragement: Yes, we all lead very busy lives and unfortunately the stress of this is contributing to our declining health and wellbeing making meditation even more important!
We need to actually carve out time for meditation the same way we make time for exercise, and you may need to get creative with how you do this. With meditation being a body-mind-soul healing one-stop-shop, it really is worth creating space for it in your life.
“I just can’t be bothered with meditation”
My encouragement: I know that until you have established a steady meditation practice and experienced it for yourself, it’s hard to see the point, but hang in there. There’s a reason that it is so popular: meditation is your gateway to happiness!
Finding your own personal motivation for beginning your meditation practice will really help you to stick with it, especially on the days you feel like you can’t be bothered.
“Meditation is boring"
My encouragement: For some people sitting in quiet stillness isn't enjoyable, it can feel very uncomfortable or boring. Sometimes it's that on a physical level you don't feel safe enough to relax, sometimes it's because on an emotional level you don't feel safe enough to be present in your body, or comfortable being alone with yourself. Curiously exploring why this may be, while finding a meditation style that suits your interests and goals will help you enjoy meditation and experience its many benefits.
You could try...
Moving meditations such as walking, ecstatic dance, mindful colouring.
Adding a level of social interaction to your meditation such as joining a group meditation class.
Meditating with a friend, partner or pet.
Following guided meditations.
Meditating in a place that is enjoyable, such as in nature.
Increasing the comfort and safety level of your meditation space.
Curiously exploring the deeper reasons why your practice feels so uncomfortable
The Many Benefits of Meditation
Once we understand how intricately linked our mind, body and soul are, we can see the many benefits that regular meditation brings.