We often hear a meditation practice is a good thing to have. It helps calm the nerves, focus the mind, and gives you an overall sense of clarity and center. Seems like a delicious cup of coffee without all the jitters, doesn’t it?
So, if these are the benefits, why aren’t more people meditating? And why is it so important that we develop a practice now?
Yogis and spiritual folk have been meditating for centuries. The image that comes to mind is of someone sitting cross-legged in shrouds, along a mountain side, eyes closed, body at peace, in complete Samādhi after years of mastery. When they speak, they speak wisdom, they don’t fret about catastrophes, and everything they do has a flow. Life seems to work out for them and they are always miraculously taken care of.
Are they able to move through life like this because they are some kind of “chosen” one?
No. The answer, more likely, is that they have put forth the commitment and discipline to meditate every day with consistency and that well, quite frankly, takes effort.
We all come to meditation for a variety of reasons. Some want to calm their anxiety, others want to create space in their lives for just themselves. Others want to feel part of a community as with joining some of the online meditation apps, such as Calm, Insight Timer, and Headspace. Some go for the pinnacle and are set on achieving ultimate Enlightenment and yet others just want to improve their overall health and decrease their stress. The truth is, you don’t have to give up life as you know it to have a meditation practice and experience its benefits.
Reasons Why Meditation Is So Important :
It helps you to listen...really LISTEN.
When you clear your mind and all of its chatter, you are able to “hear”and receive information in a different way. As you develop your practice of listening through meditation, its as if your receptive capacity goes from hearing only through your ear pods to S – u – r – r – o – u – n – d S – o – u – n – d. You are able to pick up the slightest whisper of wisdom your soul is communicating. The subtlest flicker of sensation your body sends is letting you know something is up – and it wants you to pay attention.
When your listening capacity expands, not only are you expanding your awareness but also your ability to discern what is worth acting on or what hunches are worth following. In doing this, you get to know yourself better and you learn to trust yourself on deeper levels.
Develops Your Connection with Source
Remember the scenes from James Cameron’s film, Avatar, where the Na’vi take their “hair” and connect into the roots of the home tree? Yeah, its kinda like that. (Apologies to any Avatar fans if using the term “hair” is sacrilegious). When you sit in meditation, aware of your posture and sensing into the flow of energy that runs along your spine and central energy channel you are connecting to something greater than yourself.
When I do this, I often see it as, “I am giving myself a break, from myself”. I am letting go of my egoic mind and all of its worries, fears, judgments, non-serving self-stories and allow myself a little reprieve from the things I think I know. Its incredible and humbling to experience yourself with an embodied feeling of fullness while simultaneously having a quiet mind. Its a chance to start the day anew with a clean slate. This can do wonders for your mental health as well as your physical. (I will go into the connection between how the body and mind influence each other in a future post).
Meditation Expands the Heart Space
Bringing your attention down into the physical body helps to quiet the mind and expand your awareness to the greater part of you : your heart. Moving from your heart’s energetic field has a profound influence on you, those around you, and the world at large. The HeartMath Institute describes this phenomena in a fantastic video available here.
By relating to yourself and others from your heart center, you can’t help but being in your body and when you are aware of the current experience in your body, you are in the present moment. The mind can travel into the past or catapult you into the future but the body is always in the present.
Being in the present has a plethora of benefits : experiencing a ‘flow’ state, breathing into the ‘now’, accepting what is, letting go of the egoic mind, engaging and participating with mindful intention. And arguably, the greatest benefit of all is to have positive influence. Positive influence on yourself, your social community, and the world as a whole.
Given the state of the world right now – the division of beliefs, behaviors that stem from deeply rooted fears, the global COVID-19 crisis and the looming economic recession, we are facing things that have been created by…yep, you guessed it – humans NOT moving from their heart center.
So, why is it so important to meditate?
Beyond the personal advantages of less anxiety, more trust in self, better physical health, etc. its a chance to make your mark. You want to change the world? Well, here’s your chance. Develop a meditation practice.
It will take a little effort, some discipline, and a lot of commitment but if you want to know that you played a role in making our world a better place in a post COVID-19 environment, this is a call. How do you want to respond?
Want to learn how? Or want to know you are practicing with others? Come join me for guided somatic meditations, Friday mornings at 8am PST on Instagram live : @theunpopulartherapist.
If you are intrigued and want to learn more like, share, and follow this blog. If you are in the Los Angeles area and want to schedule a session, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org