Why do people meditate?

ubc-nitobeWant to know why people meditate? Have a look at my guest article in this month’s UBC Healthy newsletter.  @HealthyUBC.



How combining meditation and change management began

meditation_change_management_resiliencyIncreasing personal and organizational change resiliency by combining mindfulness meditation with change management expertise – on the surface, this doesn’t even make sense.

I was asked to tell my story because it is unusual.

The global Association of Change Management Professionals’ (ACMP) Vancouver chapter was curious about how a cancer diagnosis led to creating mindfulness meditation in the workplace. This happened in 2011 which was a time that was pretty bold to do so.  Then, this turned into unveiling and documenting the business benefits of this unique combination.

With much gratitude, it has become an honour to help people discover the important life practices of mindfulness and meditation.

Warmest wishes,

~Wendy Quan, founder, The Calm Monkey.

The Calm MonkeyTheCalmMonkey is an innovator in training and certifying passionate meditators to become mindfulness meditation facilitators in their workplace or community, and helps organizations implement self-sustaining mindfulness programs. The first and only online and in person training of its kind.

Why mindfulness matters to your daily life

If you notice you have unease, anxiety, tension, stress or worry in your life – start to notice that your mind is not in the present moment in such moments.

When I describe mindfulness to people, I start by giving the common definition, as per Jon Kabat-Zinn, which is this:

Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose,
in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to things as they are.

But then I see a sea of confused faces looking at me, so I then say:

“And why would you care to learn and practice mindfulness?  Because when you are present, that means you’re not thinking about the future or the past, so you learn to create a better experience of life.”

Here is a wonderful reminder from Eckhart Tolle:

Not enough presence

This is one big benefit of practicing mindfulness

Mindfulness and meditation are called a ‘practices’ because they take practice, you may not think you’re getting it right, and they do take some effort. Definitely worthwhile.

Have a wonderful day,

~Wendy Quan, of The Calm Monkey



Why do people meditate?

Group meditating

Meditation can help create a different experience of life

Why isn’t there one simple answer to the question:  “Why do people meditate?”

That’s because there are so many benefits to meditation.  It’s actually near impossible to create a definitive list of all the benefits, because it can affect people’s lives in multiple ways, and there is a ripple effect where one benefit can lead to more benefits.

When I teach beginners to meditate, they want to know why people meditate.  I start by explaining that meditation is fitness for the mind, and when you cultivate the practice, it can change your experience of life, and improve your health.

Simply put:

  • Most people meditate to deal better with life – primarily stress management. This is probably the first benefit that people will notice from having a meditation practice. This unto itself can be life-changing.
  • The multitude of health benefits has been vastly proven in recent years, and continue to be actively researched. The Harvard Business Review is now recommending that health insurers cover wellness and prevention-oriented therapies that are both low-cost and evidence-based, as both yoga and meditation are.  See: “Now and Zen: How mindfulness can change your brain and improve your health”
  • Some people choose to use meditation for spiritual growth.  This can be a beautiful practice to cultivate a connection with something bigger than yourself, whatever your belief system may be.

So when someone asks me ‘Why do people meditate?’, my answer is that people come to meditation for many reasons and it is a personal choice as to why one meditates.  What inevitably happens once someone starts a meditation practice is that they can cite many benefits they are getting, and the initial reason they started meditation is happily accompanied by numerous other benefits.

So if you are thinking of starting a meditation practice, it’s well worth doing so.  It’s life skill that can be life changing.  Ensure you find a good instructor that you trust and can guide you.  There are many wonderful meditation apps to get you started and keep you going, but in my opinion, when you are learning, it is best to find a group with a good instructor.

Wishing you a wonderful day,

~Wendy Quan, of The Calm Monkey.




Dealing with tragedy in the news

peaceThe gravity of the Orlando shootings a few days ago is felt everywhere I go. As it comes up in conversation, it seems to connect us in a way that few things can. The feeling is universal among everyone I’ve spoken to:  “I don’t understand how this can happen.”

I struggle to make sense of what happened, and at the same time realize that there is no sense to this. In a world where people generally make daily efforts to just be happy whilst dealing with their busy, full lives, isn’t life already difficult without such hateful actions on top of everything else?

As a teacher of mindfulness meditation, I have learned to recognize and accept the emotions I have about this – the sadness, the confusion, the hurt and the disbelief.  Then, I turn my mind to recognizing that there is so much good around us, and that there is much out of our control.  What we can do though, is be mindful of how we show up in this world, and contribute positively to this world as much as we can. There is much to be grateful for.

I just finished delivering a keynote speech at the Justice Institute of British Columbia this JIBCmorning. The topic was building resiliency through mindfulness meditation. The JIBC is a superb, well-respected organization that trains first responders; a school for public safety, health, community and social justice. I tip my hat to these folks, and am reminded that there are so many good people in this world. Thank you to those of you who help others.

There are no good answers to what happened last weekend, but it is a reminder to live life with intention, self-awareness and to make a positive difference in the world where you can.

Be mindful, be good to others and to yourself.

~Wendy Quan, of The Calm Monkey