Our journey is about being more deeply involved in life and yet less attached to it.
- Ram Dass
So what is meditation? Meditation is simply a practice. A mental practice, where we learn to still the mind. We focus with the intention to place our awareness beyond the busy, thinking and reactive mind to reach a deeper state of being.
This deeper state of being can be anything from a feeling of relaxation and peace, to a state of blissful surrender to the Universe. Of course, your personal experience will depend on how often you practice and what you want to get out of it. You make what you want out of it.
I first started meditating more than 10 years ago. Why? I was exploring esoteric concepts and I fancied myself to be a Buddhist. I had also just broken up from a long term relationship and needing to find a different kind of meaning to life. Something beyond the endless expectations that my environment was asking of me around the need to be coupled up and what success looked like. I was a late 20-something, breaking out of established conventions, except I honestly didn’t know what I was doing or looking for at the time. I just wanted to quieten the endless mental voices that were on repeat in my head. So I joined a Buddhist meditation group, learned meditation, kept at it and kept at it.
What I found was a slow, gentle practice that truly benefited me in ways I didn’t expect. I improved my sense of well-being. I reduced my stress levels. I learned how to manage my emotions. I improved my focus in everything, including at work. I learned to quiet my mind. I was able to live more and more in the present.
There are other reasons to meditate. Take your pick.
- Healing illness
- Better management of pain
- Develop emotional & mental balance
- Call time out to concentrate on the self
- Develop greater awareness & insight
- Open the heart
- Release suffering
- Discover freedom
- Self realisation
- Experience oneness with Spirit
Truth be told, meditation is a path, not just a practice. The longer and more consistently you sit down on your cushion and hold the quiet space in your mind, the more you plumb unknown depths within to unearth new levels of the Self. Meditate for a while and you can develop personal awareness. Which is amazing!
Now if you decide meditation isn’t your cup of tea and you’d rather go for a 10km run to relieve some stress, that’s okay cos I do that too….good on you. If however, you like the idea of meditation, I suggest you look around the internets for handy beginners classes located nearby. Some of them may even be free or they may ask for a small donation. If you can’t find any close by, I’ll knock up an article on basic techniques for the next post. Either way, good luck on your search!