Meditation is a practice found in many traditions across the globe, most notably in Buddhism and Hinduism. For the very disciplined it’s about reaching a state of nirvana or enlightenment and bringing us closer to God or our higher self to live a happy and fulfilled life. But for Tom, Dick and Harry it is about quieting the mind to allow for more clarity and headspace (a great app by the way.) It’s a time to reflect and make decisions or just take back seat from the fast lane.
There are many different types of meditation but all with the same goals and maybe slightly different outcome. I am yet to try them all. I found what worked for me and I’ve stuck with it until I feel I am ready to move on. What helped me massively was guided meditation and binaural beats which you can find on YouTube. A future blog post will be coming on that one. According to science there are many benefits to setting aside just 20 minutes of your day. In this post I will highlight some of the most important ones for me.
Why do I meditate?
I discovered meditation whilst studying Psychology at University. It was a module called Psychonautics that intrigued me and I was keen to know more. As an astronaut explores space, the Psychonaut explores the psyche and there are many ways this can be done. I started by meditating. The most simple forms I found to begin with were focus meditation and awareness meditation. Both create much needed mindfulness in this busy world.
Months into my practice I became more vocal about it and stopped hiding it. I realised is wasn’t some new age bull and that many successful business people and celebrities partake in it, including Jim Carey, Hugh Jackman, Michael Jordan, Oprah and many, many more. Further they all claim that their practice of meditation is a huge factor to their success. This didn’t stop people taking the piss out of me though. However it is now becoming more of the ‘norm’ to practice mindfulness in some shape or form.
So my friends ask “why do you meditate?” My reply was “it makes me calmer, more focused and at peace with myself and situations I find myself in.” Who can argue with that? There is a great book called 10% happier by Dan Harris and his reply to the same the question is “it makes me 10% happier.” I’ve now adopted this answer as my own. Who doesn’t want to be that little bit happier? I’m not saying you have to be miserable and depressed to even consider meditation, it will benefit you even more if you are a happy go lucky person to begin with.
Practical use for meditation in my life.
Straight out of Uni I was in a job which consisted of public speaking. As most will know it’s not the easiest thing to do. It’s bloody terrifying. Speaking in a packed out room hoping you don’t make a tit of your self and balls up. You can do all the preparation and rehearse over and over again but stage fright is a bitch.
My remedy? Meditate.
Just before I was due to go on stage I would put on some soothing music and focus on my breath, my anchor. It would ground me and allow me to chill the F out and focus solely on the task at hand rather than thinking about everything that could go wrong or what would people think of my voice, accent or my appearance. It allowed me to approach the stage with a confident smile and real presence which definitely radiates out into the room.
That’s the immediate effect of meditation. It’s relaxing. It reduces our heart rate and reduces stress which can have a huge impact on our physical bodies. It creates a state of calm in the mind and allows you to act out of love instead of fear no matter what situation you find yourself in. Whether an exam, an interview, an important call and even before competitions.
Meditation is a means of transforming the mind and taking back control from impulses. Make better decisions, love more and hate less, laugh more, help more and most of all enjoy life more. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits I encountered of regular practice.
Top 10 benefits for my practice
- As already mentioned, meditation reduces stress. I’m less of a hot head and am able to deal with situations a lot better. Most of the time.
- Meditation increased my sense of well being. Helped me to feel good about who I truly am, no need to please everyone.
- It allowed me to feel more connected and empathic to the moment and people around me.
- Meditation improves my focus and be present. It allows me to really focus on what I want to do with my life.
- Improves my relationships. Meditating allowed me to be more patient and to see things from other points of view leading to less conflict.
- Made me more creative, it was only when I started to meditate did I start to make music and write. For that I am truly grateful. It gave me the motivation and focus to find my creativity.
- My memory drastically improved. Memories I had buried to forget and suppress come back and allow me to process them healthily. It also helps me to remember where I put my keys. (Honestly, try it.)
- With true intentions it can beat addiction.
- It made me smile and laugh more. I took less offence and started to see things as they really are. There is not a guru or teacher in the world that doesn’t have distinctive laugh. My favourite Alan Watts
- Finally it allows me to be more understanding and loving to all living things. I no longer swat a fly in my room, I’ve learnt to tolerate the little shit.
Meditation isn’t about sitting still in the dark as a human, it’s about dissolving that human and becoming in unison with the universe. We’re its children.
Don’t give up
You don’t have to sit there for hours on end. Try 5 minutes see how you get on and up the time when you are comfortable. Before you know it you will be meditating for an hour. Don’t take my word for it, try it your self. Just remember to be patient because it’s difficult at first to know if you are doing it right but trust that you are and start to reap the reward. When I was just starting out with my meditation practice. I was a bit confused as to what I needed to think about or not think about. I knew I had to sit there and be silent but how would I know it was working. Soon as I let go of these thoughts it became so much more relaxing and worthwhile.
There will be many times that you fall out of routine, I do my self. After a week or two of not meditating regularly I start to feel unbalanced or down in the dumps and soon as I begin my practice again I kick myself as to why I ever stopped. Watch this video for tips? Please comment below with your experience or problems you face when meditating. We can help each other. We are all here to learn.