It is really great to meditate!
I know, some of you find it hard to sit still for a long time, to be silent in your own head, or you find the whole concept of “not thinking” ridiculously hard. There are a lot of preconceptions of what meditation is all about; sitting for ages trying not to think, where your mind feels like it is whirring at 1000 miles an hour and you are thinking that this “stopping thinking” is impossible. Well here is some good news and reasons why meditating is so amazing. Read on and be inspired!
1. You don’t have to stop thinking!
It is more about “noticing” your thoughts as they come into your minds eye, and then acknowledging them with no emotional attachment and then asking them to move on. When I teach meditation, I liken this letting go of thoughts like clouds in the sky, or like switching the tv channel. You don’t get emotionally attached flicking from BBC to ITV, do you?! Well it’s sort of the same thing.
2. The mind feels calmer, and so you are calmer
Once you get into it, it feels really great. You are able to process your thoughts differently and become more of an observer, rather than a reactor to them. This is why if you cultivate a meditation practice in calmer times of your life, when things get a little crazy, you have a tool to help pacify the mind racing that can then cause anxiety and depression.
3. You stop being controlled by your thoughts, you can control them!
Yes! By cultivating a meditation practice, and becoming more of an observer to your monkey mind rather than in it, this basically means that you aren’t being as controlled by your thoughts anymore, and you have more control because you start to notice those repetitive negative thought cycles and don’t respond to them emotionally. Noticing these negative patterns is the first step and then not engaging in them is the second, which meditation helps with, so that you can break the negative loop! No more, “I can’t do this”, “I am not good enough”, “They don’t like me.” It is an ongoing challenge for anyone who practices meditation, even if they have been practicing for 20 years, so don’t feel you fail getting attached to the negative cycle, it’s always a work in progress.
4. It’s a great way to start the day
Clearing the mind of the previous night or days clutter, refreshing the drawing board. Wiping the slate clean. Try it!
5. There is a meditation practice for everyone
It’s not all about sitting meditation focusing on your third eye or your breath. There are so many different types of meditation that can suit each individual person better. For those with an active mind and new to meditation, for example, those people who find it hard to sit still or find meditation boring, start with visualisation meditation. I particularity like chakra meditation as it is colourful and chakra cleansing meditations are lovely because you systematically work through your chakras, polishing them and energising them so they shine brightly. It’s uplifting and calming and feels like you are getting rid of old thoughts and habits.
6. Relieves depression and anxiety
Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness not only prevents depression, but that it also positively affects the brain patterns underlying day-to-day anxiety, stress, depression and irritability so that when they arise, they dissolve away again more easily. One of the many studies out there now, conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, taught mindfulness to a group of people with clinical levels of anxiety and found that 90% experienced significant reductions in anxiety – and depression too. Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn was one of the Doctors on this study in 1992 and he went on to create MBSR (Mindfulness based stress reduction) courses that are 8 week courses and are very popular all over the world.
7. Once you get it, you connect or “click” with it, there is no turning back
It’s the most beautiful feeling. A peace and calm washes over you post practice and during, when it is a “good” meditation it is amazing. On a “good” day, it takes me about 8 minutes for my monkey mind to calm down, my thoughts to slow, to stop jumping from A to J to Z in the space of a millisecond, and a wave of a red pulsating light washes over me in my minds eye, (sometimes green) as I focus on my breath and my drishti (focus point) is the space between my eyebrows. And that is it. I am in. And I retain the focus on the red pulsating light that washes over me, like it’s my beacon, my guide, my angels watching over me. You can have days where your mind doesn’t stop jumping around, but that’s ok too, it’s important to learn that this happens, and not to judge yourself or be your worst critic.
Feeling tempted? If so, that’s great! For next week I have written 5 top tips for a successful meditation, all about how to sit, and set yourself up and begin your practice. If you would like to experience different types of meditation, then join us on our yoga and meditation retreats or holidays where we practice some kind of meditation every day.