Why bother meditating?


English Herbaceous Borders | Buscot Park, Oxfordshire, UK by ukgardenphotos.

One of my clients asked me last week, excited about the benefits that he’d experienced in the first few weeks of taking meditation more seriously, what its potential is.

I loved the question because very few people have ever asked me, and it’s something I feel very passionate about.

In the West, meditation is usually associated with reducing stress. As such, people often only turn to it when they’re feeling troubled, and stop when then fell better.

But meditation wasn’t designed as a coping mechanism. Its original purpose was a method of expanding the potential of the human mind. It’s a method of cultivating more love, joy, concentration, peace, connection, confidence and self-worth, and less anger, resentment, anxiety, stress and sadness.

A metaphor I like is that of a garden. When you start meditating your mind is overgrown, messy, disordered and with a whole load of junk in it. Your first task is to just observe it as it is, without judgment, and recognize that a lot of work is required. Then you start to pull out the weeds and plant flowers.

I recently asked a client what motivated her to go to her weekly meditation group. She said it makes her feel refreshed, lighter of heart and spirit, ready to make the most of her time, able to focus on one thing at a time at work, happier and more likely to make other people feel happy.

Another said that as a result of meditating, she felt she was able to accept people more as they are, she doesn’t feel like a victim any more, she’s less fearful, sees the good in everyone and feels grateful for her students at school, even the difficult ones.

The client who was asking me what else could be gained has already said he feels much more connected in all his relationships, his girlfriend has said he is listening more and is less in his head, and he’s let go of things that had been going round in his mind for years.

These are people who have only been meditating consistently for a few weeks of months. You don’t need to become a monk to start transforming your mind.

These benefits are not at all uncommon, so I find is amusing/frustrating when people say they don’t have time to meditate. What do you make time for that you deem more important? Emails? Social media? Ticking off another thing on the never ending to do list?

The same client also told me that after he’s meditated, 99% of the things he thought he needed to do, he realizes he doesn’t, and the most important thing he needs to do comes to the front of his mind, so afterwards he knows what to focus on.

The Dalai Lama was once asked what was the goal of meditation, and he said “Universal Compassion”. I don’t think you can go too far wrong with a goal like that!

Two tips I give to my clients when they’re trying to get into the habit of doing it regularly (meditation, that is 😉 are:

  • Remind yourself each time why you’re doing it
  • If you’re choosing to skip it for that day, write down why. You might find it looks so ridiculous that you change your mind!

Give it a go this week and let me know how you get on.

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