Spiritual masters of Eastern traditions have known for thousands of years that meditation is a powerful tool for promoting mental and physical health. The Buddha, in particular, was a pretty big fan, and anyone with even a passing interest in Buddhism would know that gaining control of our minds is our key to happiness. Having gained a bit of familiarity with his teachings, I can tell you that he is one smart dude; and it would behoove us to take his advice, no matter what religion you practice.
That’s the thing about meditation—at its core, it is a practical tool that can help us improve our lives. You do not have to be spiritual to benefit; it does not require you to abandon the beliefs you currently hold. The West is finally starting to get the proof it requires in the form of countless studies examining its positive effects on a variety of physical and mental health issues from high blood pressure to anxiety. So, for those of you that need the ‘’facts,’’ you will find no shortage of them. As someone who has regularly meditated for the last several years, I can personally attest to the tremendous benefit you can derive from simply being still. Do not be fooled by the simplicity—it can change your life if you give it a chance.
Responding vs. Reacting
Much of our behavior is formed out of habit; we are used to acting a certain way, and when something happens, we react on cue. There is very little thought going on much of our waking hours. We are operating on auto-pilot, at the mercy of the raging river of thoughts running through our mind. We are not living consciously. This causes us a lot of problems in our life; it negatively affects our relationships, we let feelings like anger, depression and anxiety consume us, we get worked up over things that we can just let go. The list could go on and on. Meditation can help break this pattern of reacting to outside circumstances. There is a space between your pure consciousness and the thoughts and feelings you have, and meditation makes this space stronger, it makes you more aware that it exists. In this space, you can process what is going on around you, and you can choose how to proceed—you can respond rather than automatically react without a moment’s thought.
Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
We experience all sorts of unpleasant emotions, and I do not think it is possible to really get rid of them completely, and that is okay. So, the best we can do is work on reducing how often they occur, or handling them differently when they inevitably strike. Meditation can help you get more comfortable with being uncomfortable; it helps you see the fleeting nature of our feelings and how often they shift. When you fully realize this, you will be able to sit better with anxiety or anger because you know it is temporary. It will not feel so consuming; you will be able to observe it without judgment. And most importantly, it can reduce the urge to do something you may regret in an effort to alleviate the discomfort. You will not feel as compelled to eat away your anxiety, or write a rambling email to your ex-boyfriend in the face of overwhelming feelings of desperation and a desire to contact him.
Helps You See the Real You
Meditation helps reveal the true us; it provides the silent time where wisdom can shine through. When you slow your mind down, all the insights that come will amaze you. Many of the things will seem so simple and obvious, you will wonder how they eluded you. But, you must know that the knowledge was always there, it was just stuck behind all the mental clutter that meditation has now helped you clear out. You gain clarity, connect with your inner guidance system and discover the changes you need to make to live a more authentic life.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper, writing for www.kanetix.ca, is a freelance writer who blogs about all thing health