Published on August 12th, 2015 | by Catherine Tingey0
Why Meditate? Why is meditation so important? What can meditation do for me?
If I told you there was one thing you could do that had the power to instantly relax you, relieve your burdens and bring you to a great sense of calm, would you do it?
Meditation and mindfulness are buzzwords at the moment and thankfully so. In our attention starved lives, we need to be reminded, over and over of the power of simply paying attention.
This weekend I visited a cute dog at a no-kill animal shelter in West LA. There was a young girl running around, unable to be controlled by her parents. Both parents sat on chairs with their phones in hand, calling out orders while scrolling through Facebook. The orders escalated, the child ignored them, and the parents kept at their phones.
Distractedness is probably a global disease at this point. I’m not here to vilify technology or absent parents, but just to illustrate that what we turn our attention to grows, magnifies and blossoms in front of us. Anyone who has a garden can confirm this.
The health benefits of meditation are numerous but for me personally, I’ve found the greatest gift is a deep sense of calm. The ancient yogis believed that the divine, God, whatever you want to call it, lies within each person, and through cultivation of breath, posture and right living, it is possible to get closer to this inner divinity, this infinite self, this place of pure light within each of us.
Mind you, this doesn’t always happen. It happens more often in the morning for me, before the build up of mental noise, and often on the weekends, but is not a daily occurrence. But I keep on…
One of the most cited reasons people stop meditating is the fear they ‘can’t’ do it, or are doing it wrong. I teach my clients, there really is no wrong way.
If you can simply sit with yourself for 15-20 minutes and not react to the rapid-firing of thoughts in your brain, you are already half-way.
The next step is to identify the thought – ‘oh that’s a work thought’ or a ‘food thought’ or a ‘to do list thought’ and let the thought go. It will likely be replaced by another – thoughts don’t cease as long as you’re alive, great news – and you will do that little exercise again. It may seem futile, a Sisyphean battle that repeat itself every 5 seconds, but you simply keep at it until you 20 minutes are up. I’ve had many sessions like this. Sometimes all you can do is congratulate yourself for ticking the box and move on.
But if you stick with it daily, one day you will experience something cool, amazing, even profound. Your thoughts will cease momentarily, you may start to feel mysterious heating or cooling sensations within your body, you might be able to suddenly hear your heartbeat, your body might sway slightly, you might feel a bright light turn on inside your head, and a preternatural sense of calm may wash over you.
What do you have to lose? Try it out. It doesn’t even cost anything. There are meditation apps, videos and tons of resources available to you. There may even be classes in your area at a local church or community center.
As always, if you have any questions about starting a meditation practice, feel free to email me here!