I love meditation for a handful of reasons, but mostly because it helps me break down the walls I’ve built that keep me from enjoying my life. My practice opens new doors, teaching me how to relax and live in this sometimes crazy world at the same time.
“Meditation makes life musical and music can lead to a deep sense of inner peace.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
I never realized how helpful a meditation practice could be. It wasn’t until recently, after going through a particularly tough time when the stress got unbearable, that I finally turned to meditation. I really needed and wanted peace. It took a lot of fear to get me back into the energy of love.
We don’t need to wait until life is too hard to handle to choose peace instead. We can choose peace instead of stress first. Meditation can help us do that, too.
I Love Meditation for What It’s Not:
Elimination of All Thinking.
A common myth about meditating is that you’re not supposed to think. The goal of meditation is not to eliminate thoughts, but to help you recognize that you’re something more than the chattering mind. Its goal is to make a connection with the part of yourself that’s witnessing the chatter.
I like to describe the experience like this: When I meditate, I’m able to see my thoughts go by. I become the witness, not the subject of attention. The thoughts are still there, but they’re not me anymore, and they never have been. This acknowledgement allows me to come back quickly from stressful thoughts and emotions, because I know that’s not who I really am.
A Perfect Practice.
You don’t have to “get it right” in meditation to experience the benefits. I’m not sure, but I think perfection is nonexistent, meaningless, when it comes to meditation, which is quite wonderful for all of us human beings who don’t even know what perfect is supposed to be anyway.
Though there are some fantastic stress-relief benefits involved in twice-daily 20-minute meditation sessions, you don’t have to meditate for a long time to feel better. Even if you meditate for a few minutes, you’ll feel the benefits add up over time.
It’s also okay if you take a day off here and there. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about wanting to show up.
You don’t have to sit silently to meditate. You can meditate while walking, lying down, performing tasks, and doing chores around the house. Mindfulness isn’t separate from living in the world; it’s a way of living more fully.
An Otherworldly Experience Every Time.
You don’t need a highly spiritual experience to know you’re doing it right; you don’t even need to be spiritual to meditate. Sometimes the practice comes easier, sometimes you fall asleep, and sometimes it just feels like you sat there going over to-do lists in your head. Not every session will be transcendental.
Pema Chödrön puts it like this: “It’s helpful to remind yourself that meditation is about opening and relaxing with whatever arises, without picking and choosing.”
Meditation can, sometimes, just be as simple as taking a few deep breaths and seeing all your crazy thoughts go by like a news ticker. You can still be rested and recharged from a short, simple practice. You’re building resilience, and that happens one breath at at time.
I Love Meditation for What It Offers:
Intimacy with All Things.
Meditation isn’t always going to be an enlightening experience, but you will have those experiences if you stay connected to your practice, because meditation is the practice of becoming intimate with all things. It’s about being in harmony with yourself, and recognizing that part of yourself that’s in harmony with everything.
When I peel away the layers of reactivity within me, I can open up to a more relaxed way of living my life. I don’t always need to be offended and defensive; the truth in me is untouched by any of the drama in this world. Meditation helps me become intimate with that truth, which helps me appreciate and enjoy everything a lot more.
A Connection to Joy.
Meditation gently reminds us that the elements for happiness are already here. As Thich Nhat Hanh said, “There is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle.” We can stay right here in this moment and experience peace. We don’t need to run away from our lives, go somewhere else, or be someone else in order to be connected to the joy of living.
Meditation is a way of keeping that little place where the magic grows inside of you, alive.
Access to the Silence Underneath the Noise.
We might think somewhere around 50,o0o thoughts ever day, but there’s a way of entering into the quiet that’s underneath. The quiet is there, it’s just hard to hear because it’s not found in this world; it’s found inside ourselves.
Our thoughts are like waves and ripples on the sea. When the ocean is calm, we can see the beauty of our own depth. When we become still again–though the thoughts may still flow, they do not control the sea—we can see below the surface.
Meditation is not about making our thoughts stop, but about seeing past them to the depths of who we really are.
This is what I finally realized: I am not my crazy, racing thoughts. I can identify myself with the silence underneath the noise.
A Practice of Shifting Perceptions.
A Course in Miracles says that a miracle is just a shift in perception, from fear to love. For me, meditation has been an evolving miracle.
Since meditation connects me with my inner world, I’m not so reliant on the external outcomes to feed my soul. I don’t need to demand impossible achievement, and I don’t need to expect perfection. I can still do the things I want and need to do, but I can do them from a place of love instead of fear, and peace instead of stress. That shift is my miracle.
Each time I close my eyes and look within, even if it’s only for a few minutes, my breathing is more relaxed and I can see creative solutions with greater ease. Inspiration comes naturally and anxiety melts away, a little at a time and sometimes all at once. That way of living is a miracle for me.
If I get another chance to see with love, to know what peace feels like again, and to enjoy the day I’m given, I know what a miracle really is. Meditation helps me have more experiences like this.
- Do you meditate? Why do you love meditation?
- What benefits have you experienced from your meditation practice?
- What lessons have you learned from your practice?
Please share your thoughts, helpful insights on meditating, what works for you, and any experiences with me in the comments.
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I love meditation because it gives me another chance.