Meditation calms. Your body is physically relaxed and ready to perform to its highest potential. Your mind is empty of thoughts and you can concentrate on the one thought or task that you are engaged in at the moment. There’s another aspect of your being that meditation influences in a positive manner. That’s your spirit or your soul. Call it what you may, or deny its existence, it is intertwined with your mind and body. Meditation enables you to become aware of its existence.
However, all this may seem airy-fairy stuff to someone who wants concrete proof that it works. Meditation works because you’ve done it before and you are regularly doing it. You are just not aware that you were meditating.
Being in the moment is meditation
We associate meditation with discomfort and unnatural or forced behaviour. That’s why even when we try to meditate, we don’t really benefit from it because we are not doing it right.
Imagine sitting cross legged on the floor. That’s uncomfortable. And then, trying to think or not think. Trying to empty your mind of thoughts is like trying to slow down when you are sliding down a steep incline. The trick is to climb and not descend. Meditation is about finding comfort in the seemingly most uncomfortable positions. It is about doing things effortlessly because it comes naturally.
Examples of meditation are all around us: an eagle gliding, a fish swimming, a flower blooming, a ballplayer hitting the ball, a basketball player making a perfect shoot or a trombone player hitting the perfect pitch. There’s grace, there’s effortless action and there’s joy.
Meditation is about slowing your mind and relaxing your body. Swimmers do it naturally when they are swimming. Musicians and singers do it when they are performing. Artists do it when they are creating and even salesmen, when they are sincerely selling instead of verbally mouthing a sales spiel.
Don’t force it
Have you tried looking at the sun without wearing shades? Right, that’s what I meant. It would be foolhardy to try facing something so bright. Looking at the sun can hurt our eyes. How do we know this? It’s instinctive and intuitive. We know it from a previous experience of doing precisely the same action or from doing something similar.
Meditating is something we’ve all done before. We just don’t realize it.
Push and pull, stretch and release, breathe and let go
Meditating becomes easy with practice. Sitting cross legged is no longer uncomfortable when you start enjoying it. Becoming aware of your breathing is no longer forced because it comes naturally.
Meditation is like any other physical or mental activity. You can’t deny the benefits of exercising or having an active life. While exercising or performing a strenuous physical activity makes your body tense, meditation makes you relax and make the stress and tensions go away.
When you have been trying hard to remember something or solve a problem, your thoughts go into overdrive and you feel exhausted later or even have a headache. Then suddenly, you remember the very thing you were trying hard to but couldn’t. Voila! The solution occurs to you later when you are not thinking of the problem at all.
Meditation is letting go. When you are afraid, angry or sad, you are holding on to negative emotions. Meditation allows you to relax and set free these emotions so that you can be brave, confident and happy.
Meditation has tangible health benefits
Do you realize that you are breathing, right now? No you don’t because you take it for granted. This is what we do most of our lives. We take things for granted. Our physical health and mental health needs constant nurturing and nourishment.
Meditating is a part of our natural behaviour just as eating, breathing and living. Once you realize it, you will notice that you don’t feel tired as you used to. You are not worried or angry by petty things. In fact, even in the face of big tragedies, you are able to maintain equanimity and stay steady and strong.
When you can look right back at something bright and be not blinded, that’s awareness.
When your mind is not swayed despite the noise, the distractions and the turmoil around you, then you know how to be steady.
When you have experienced hurt and tragedy but you are able to forgive, be free from anger and bitterness, and move on with your life, then you have experienced freedom.
Meditation makes you aware of your soul. It makes you aware of your inner strength and bestows stability. It sets you free from the past and allows you to embrace the now.
Meditation shows you how to be hopeful of what will be.
No stress, no fatigue, no fear, no sickness.