Why Meditate? … a basic, then deeper perspective

Nitobe Gardens at UBC

Notibe Gardens at the University of British Columbia. A lovely place to meditate.

This blog post is an important one if you want to gain a better understanding of what meditation can do for you.  Meditation is much more than relaxation.  The more you learn about meditation, the more fascinating it becomes for you.

Without fail, people consistently talk about meditation as ‘clearing the mind’ and ‘relaxation’. Interestingly, many mistakenly think it is the same as yoga.

I want you to know that there is no right or wrong in what you personally get from meditation. Everyone’s experience is unique. Are you aware of what meditation can do for you? Going deeper with meditation can offer more meaning in life, and take you on a journey of spiritual growth.  Sound exciting?  Well, it is. I offer some basic insight below:

The basic view:

  • Meditation allows us to take the time to be still and be present.  It’s relaxing.

A bit deeper now:

Beyond simple relaxation, the cultivation of meditation can bring:

  • Resiliency – the ability to handle stress better and not react as harshly to challenging situations.
  • Self-Awareness – becoming more aware of own thoughts and reactions.
  • Acceptance – increased acceptance of what goes on in work life and personal life, and judging others less. Self-acceptance.
  • Clarity – thinking more clearly and calmly.
  • Personal joy – Cultivating a sense of peace & calm, stress reduction and relaxation. Reducing manufactured emotions/thoughts.

And now very deep:

Meditation practice can be a key to spiritual growth. Meditation allows us to ‘be ourselves’.  What is ‘ourself’? – that is a mystery and our task in life is to discover and arrive at the fullness of who are we. It means finding our true self, without fear and preconceptions of who we are. It’s about finding your life’s purpose and living the human experience with full acceptance of self.  I credit Reggie Ray for helping me understand this better.

What meditation is not

It is just as important to say what meditation is not.  It is not about emptying your mind – I believe in a western society it is rare that one can entirely empty the mind, although it is possible for moments at a time. In our society, I believe the goal is to calm & focus the mind and experience the present moment.  Also, meditation is not religious (although some people choose to pray during meditation).  Personally I tend to enjoy the meditation teachings of the Buddhist way, even though I personally am not a Buddhist.

I hope this helps shine some light on why meditation is so important to our being ‘human beings’.  In future posts I will talk about the mind & body connection and the importance of our thoughts.

In summary, here’s a powerful question to ponder:

Yes, relaxation techniques like exercise, reading and yoga are all great as they help you release tension – but consider this question:  “How did the tension get there in the first place?”  This is what meditation addresses.

If you are new to meditation, please see my Learn to Meditate page and my free Meditation downloads.

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3 thoughts on “Why Meditate? … a basic, then deeper perspective

  1. I never meditated but I believe one can achieve the same state of mind and resulting mental and health benefits. Basically for me it comes down to attitude or rather perspective on life, priorities and overall big picture of what life is about. Then finding time to enjoy simple things, the nature and people in positive way.

    I think it helps to realize that what is happening at work or elsewhere does not really matter when you think about it from the perspective of someone dying or someone from another planet. Try your best but don’t get too stressed about it. The Universe will keep expanding =)

    I dream a lot about the future, about possibilities and about beauty of the nature and science. Perhaps that is a kind of meditation itself? =)

    • I agree that some people can achieve some of the benefits of meditation through attitude and perspective on life. But I think this is rare. Most people are pretty caught up in themselves and the western way of life, always wanting more and more, and not being satisfied with what they have. It sounds like you have a lovely perspective and attitude, and that is wonderful. Spread this around as much as you can! It’s people like you who can help others gain more peace and calm.

      Also, meditation can be so much more than achieving peace and calm; it can also be a means to grow spiritually and living your true self, moment by moment.

      • I agree. I was going to edit my comment, basically saying that meditation is great tool and use it if you can

        cheers

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