How Meditation Can Change Your Life
I was a sceptic. After all, meditation is something for hippies. It’s certainly not conventional. But my eyes have been opened and, despite the scepticism, I’m converted. I now strive to meditate twice a day and see constructive benefits in my life. If you’re not a meditator and are getting ready to skip to the next web page or procrastinate with some more social media browsing I urge you to reconsider. Take just a few minutes to read this post and consider how the benefits can be applied directly to your life.
What Is Meditation?
There are all different kinds of mediation and many definitions. I’m not going to try and provide a text book answer – there isn’t just one – but more my experience of what meditation is. In our increasingly chaotic lives and diminishing attention spans we often struggle to be mindful and present – I certainly do. My mind bounces around, thinking, pondering, day dreaming, distracted. And while I’m procrastinating in this way I’m not being present, enjoying the now, the moment that I’m living right then. Meditation helps ground me. It brings me back to that state and guides me to an induced state of consciousness.
Whether we’re talking about mindfulness, about meditation or about the different forms and combinations of the two isn’t important. What’s important is what works for you, grounds you and provides temporary respite from the chaos of everyday life.
Why You Should Meditate?
If grounding yourself and being present isn’t enough then just consider some of the health benefits. Almost without exception there is science backing the argument that meditation helps with stress, anxiety, sleep, depression, chronic pain, headaches, migraines, asthma, addiction, cardiac health, self esteem, confidence, creativity, memory and concentration, energy levels, relaxation and even an improved immune system.
It sounds too good to be true. Again, the sceptic in me didn’t believe the marketing hype that claimed all these wonderful health benefits. But then I googled some of it and found thousands of scientific papers in support (just try doing a google scholar search like this one if you want to read more on it).
But There’s Nothing Wrong With Me
But what if you don’t suffer from any of these ailments? Is there much point? Or perhaps you should ask yourself if there’s much point in self improvement. If you don’t have anything that needs fixing then perhaps you’re a step ahead of the curve. Meditation isn’t only for those that have something wrong with them but for those that continually seek self improvement, self actualisation and the ability to reach your full potential.
Meditation can even make you more productive. Mahatma Gandhi believed in the power of meditation when he told his aides:
“I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.”
Contrary to what I thought, there are some incredible people that use meditation as part of their daily routine. They might be athletes, artists or business people – people who understand that meditation is a tool that will help them to be at the top of their game. Consider people like Sir Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Gere, Madonna, David and Victoria Beckham, Sir Paul McCartney, Rupert Murdoch, Martin Scorsese, Kobe Bryant, Tony Schwartz, Tim Ferriss, Ray Dalio, Bill Ford, Arianna Huffington, Jennifer Anniston, Robert Stiller, Sheryl Crow, Jerry Seinfeld, Julie Weiss, Howard Stern, Barry Zito and countless others.
Tim Ferriss, on his podcast, asks his guests if they meditate as part of their daily routine. Almost without exception they all do some form of mediation. Tony Robbins was the exception but, when he talks about his daily routine, there are aspects that sound remarkably close to a mindfulness practice.
The military is even understanding the benefits. In the UK the Defence Academy has been running mindfulness training and in the US, there have been a series of studies done with Marines using meditation practices.
How To Start
If you want to give meditation a go, you need to work out what might work for you. I practice Vedic meditation twice a day for twenty minutes each time. No matter how busy we are, we can probably all find the time to incorporate this.
My meditation teacher was Will Williams who runs meditation classes in London and overseas. Even if you’re not going to learn with Will he has a comprehensive website that explains much more about Vedic meditation. It’s a simple technique that involves repeating a mantra to yourself internally and can be practised almost anywhere – I’ve meditated on a train, a bus and next to a crying baby.
If you don’t want to jump right in then try something even shorter. The The 5-Minute Meditator has some quick and easy techniques you can use. There are also countless places on the internet that provide free guided meditations or mindfulness techniques (try here and here and here for example).
What Have You Got To Lose?
I’ve only been practising mediation for a few months now. I started as a sceptic and I’m now a convert. I truly believe it adds value to my life. I’m calmer, more compassionate and sincere, have deeper clarity of thought and I’m more relaxed. I expect to see further benefits as I become more proficient.
Try it. It’s worked for me. What have you got to lose?
Main photo by Sebastien Wiertz