Most people have had at least one thought about incorporating meditation into their daily routine. Perhaps you had that one thought, then shrugged it off as, sometimes, not your cup of tea. Yes, you understood there are benefits; at least one hundred physical, mental and spiritual benefits. But do you know how powerful these benefits are and the significant impact meditation can have on your overall wellbeing?
I worked in a stressful environment – emergency services administration. One day I suggested we invite a speaker who was my meditation advisor. Reluctantly they agreed, mostly due to my enthusiasm on the subject and explanation on how meditation would benefit our staff. Several staff attended my guest's talk, which included a brief meditation session. However, when I asked for feedback, they indicated reservations against continuing with a meditation practice.
The problem? It was their opinion that meditation was too “religious.” For several days after I tried to understand how people connected meditation with religion. Yes, many religious practices of monks, practices, nuns include meditation. Prayer can be a form of meditation. However, meditation is so much more. And if it was not powerful, these religious devotees would not be practicing it.
We often reach the pharmacist or doctor for advice and cures. We read volumes of self-help books. We seek advice from other professionals and friends. We do these labor intensively and costly methods in spite of the fact that many times the answers are within ourselves.
Here's a small list of what you can experience by meditating daily for twenty minutes.
- Increase your ability to learn and retain new information – Learn a new language or musical instrument with ease
- Serotonin levels increase. Serotonin is responsible for moods and some social behavior
- Keeps your emotions in check and stable
- Kick bad habits easier than you ever thought you could
- Sharpen your intuition or “gut feeling”
- Become the master of your own thoughts
- Self confidence and self esteem can sky rocket
- Mental vitality improvements
- The brain slows down the rate at which it ages
- Give more attention to what matters – forget trivial and petty issues
And so much more.
Many of us are often overwhelmed by life issues. We are easily distracted by stuff we can not control. Our senses are continuously overloaded. Sometimes we feel impotent, fearful, depressed and frustrated. Life does not need to be that way at all. In fact, you have the power to create the life you desire. You are a powerhouse of untapped potential.
I think many people discount meditation because it feels so unnatural. When were you ever told that you should sit still and not think? It has never been a part of your upbringing. It is foreign and, therefore, you assume it can not be trusted or it's a waste of time.
It is also requires practice. We've allowed our minds to 'trash talk' or be 'monkey brain' in every waking second. It has run amok with our lives and our health. Our thoughts now control us instead of the reverse. To tell your mind to stop the chatter takes courage and perseverance. Your mind will fiercely resist your intention to take over.
One other reason people choose to not meditate is that it may set them apart from their circle of friends. Although meditation is recognized as an honorable practice, a person is a relationship to step out of synch with their companions who have a different view of meditation. There is a perceived risk of being alone, a loner, different, odd, religious, self absorbed, etc. – all of which are not desirable. It's more fun and safer to step in line with the crowd.
Consider this possibility. If you thought about mediation, even briefly, something within your higher being is sending you a message. Listen. You would not receive that message into your consciousness unless it was something for you to examine seriously.
Your next step would be to give meditation a whirl. Let go of the worry about if it will work. It will. In everything, what we receive is in direct relation to how much effort we put in. It does not take long, though, before you're noticing a shift in your life.
Give yourself achievable goals. In your area there are likely several meditation organizations or health centers which teach a variety of meditation methods. There are several methods of meditation. Pick a program that feels right for you.
Taking a meditation class is a great way to get your feet wet gently. Being among other like-minded people will aid in your confidence as well as a safe place to ask questions.
After each meditation session, you have the opportunity to share your experiences with the instructor.
I used to think that meditating in a group was counter productive to achieving deep meditation. However, at a silent meditation retreat, I changed my opinion. We were packed in a small room with over a hundred meditators, shoulder to shoulder. Each of us had a small space on the floor, just enough to sit on a pillow or folded blanket.
The instructor was a Buddhist nun who taught us on technqiues, benefits, what to expect during meditation. Her instructions lent an hour in the morning, then again in the afternoon. The rest of the day, we meditated. At the time I was a novice meditator. However, each day at this retreat my experiences were depth.
Another opportunity you may consider is going on a meditation retreat with Dr. Deepak Chopra. A few years ago I was fortunately to attend a two week meditation retreat with him in San Diego. Again, the experience shattered my expectations of hoping for simply a pleasant time. My abilities tremendously and the healing I experienced was beyond what I imagined possible.
Everyone progresses according to his / her own desired pace. Once you notice the benefits, you'll find meditating for twenty minutes is an enjoyable and empowering method to start / end your day. Your friends, coworkers, employers are going to notice how much happier you are, more centered and at ease in any situation. You'll start attracting positive experiences and people into your life.
It's a magical gift you can give yourself. The rewards are beyond measure.