Why I Meditate

30/4/2013

The wellness-sphere has been abuzz recently, with many joining up and participating in the Mindful in May program, which is aimed at encouraging people to start (or restart) their meditation practice, while also raising funds for Charity Water.

And this sparked a little thought train in me, which has had me thinking about why I meditate and the benefits it brings me. It’s one of my most important and treasured wellness habits. So I thought I’d step you through a few of the benefits I experience through my daily meditation practice.

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I’m not even going to go too much in to the physical health benefits of it, because these are well known and not primarily why I meditate. Meditation helps lower stress levels, improves sleep patterns, helps anxiety, increases serotonin levels, lowers blood pressure – the list is literally endless. Getting in to meditation to attain these physical benefits is an excellent reason to start, but you’ll likely find that the best benefits aren’t limited to the physical.

It’s my anchor. We can control and plan and aim to manage our days, weeks and months but we all know that many things are beyond our control. Committing to give myself time for meditation and reflection is something that I can control, however. Even if I’m ill and holed up in bed, I can still meditate. And this anchor can be the same but different everyday. While I carve out a piece of time for myself daily, I don’t know how I’m going to meditate until right before I do it, and it all depends on how I feel in the moment. Do I need a quick jolt of energy? I’ll do some Kundalini ego eradicator. Do I need a mantra to sink in? A bit of japa meditation. Some guided meditation? Plug in to a bit of Abraham-Hicks, or flick through my Omvana app. A bit of relaxation? I’ll do some mindful meditation and just listen to the sounds around me as they arise.

It quiets the mind and allows the heart to speak a bit louder. It slows my mental chatter, and allows my kinder, gentler and more softly spoken heart space to whisper lots of loving, forgiving and peaceful things to me. And I find that the volume of my heart turns itself up the more I tune within.

It keeps the channels of inspiration and guidance clear. Meditation, combined with physical exercise and time to play, make up the triumvirate of creativity for me. I truly believe that there is a huge river of inspiration constantly pouring down upon us, and that stilling our minds through meditation makes the receptacle bigger. So instead of going to the river with a thimble, I go with a massive bucket. And one that gets bigger and bigger the more I do it.

It gets me grounded and in tune with my true essence. Sometimes if I am still for long enough, I can no longer feel the edges of myself – where I begin and where I end. I blend in and breathe with the ether. And I think that’s probably the best way for us to know who we are in the truest sense. Pure energy. Pure spirit. Pure love. Being in a state like that is just beautiful, and fosters a wonderful reverence for life.

I’m a big fan of participating in a dedicated meditation program, especially if you’re just starting out. Committing to a consistent practice for 3-4 weeks, really ingratiates it in to your routine and allows you to see the benefits in both your internal and external worlds. Repetition just makes things stick.

And don’t worry or beat yourself up if you’re not ready to take up a consistent meditation practice just yet. I danced around the idea of it for a long time – dipping my toes in and out of it and all around. Until one day about three years ago I decided that I was just going to commit to it, and I began by doing a Chopra Centre 21-day guided meditation program (which they run for free periodically). And now it’s just a non-negotiable part of my day.

The will to do it is without a doubt the most important prerequisite for habits like meditation to weave themselves in to your life. It may require you hitting rock bottom before you decide you’re not willing to stay where you are – and that you need meditation to bring some magic and stillness to your day. Or maybe the Mindful in May program is the little sign you’ve been looking for to get you kick-started.

Whenever it is that you decide to commit or re-commit to a meditation practice, that space – the gap between thoughts – and the silent depths of peace will still be there, waiting for you to dive on in.

How about you? Do you meditate? What are the benefits for you? Or are you thinking of starting? Would love to hear from you!

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