08 Jun The Importance of meditation
Have you realised that we feel more familiar with people whom we spend the most time with? Perhaps it could be our partner, child, parents or even our best friend. But wouldn’t it then be evident that we should know ourselves the most? Especially given that we are never without ‘us’; wherever we go, there we are. However, since we are constantly surrounded by people, both physically and virtually, we lose touch with ourselves. And eventually, we use social interactions, including our phones, to run away from ourselves. Unfortunately, this distance from ourselves gives rise to a sense of emptiness and unfamiliarity, especially when we are in solitude. But this is exactly where meditation can help us. Meditation enables us to clear our mind, spend time with ourselves and gain focus. During this continued practise, we become more aware of our ever-chattering mind and our inner self.
It is an easy practice to implement in our lives and almost an essential ingredient for those of us who strive for a more peaceful and less stressful life. Over time, according to research, the practice of meditation allows us to reduce stress and stress-related health issues. It has also been proven that meditation has salutary effects on depression in some cases. According to another research, meditation also leads to a decrease in anxiety.
In essence, as we meditate and become more aware of thoughts when they arise, our ability to deal with life situations in a calmer manner evolves. A cluttered mind has little control over the 60,000 thoughts which arise every single day. However, meditation is similar to a form of exercise for the brain and enables us to gain better concentration and focus. This is an important benefit in the lives of adults and youth alike, as it allows for more productive days, healthier relationships as well as greater self-esteem. In fact, a regular practice of quality meditation brings permanent changes to the brain and creates new, beneficial neural pathways as we develop a sharper mind. With the ability to rise above transient emotions and thoughts, our happiness quotient increases. This enables us to lead a more content and fulfilling life, focussing on goals that matter the most to us.
These benefits are attainable to anyone who leads an ordinary life because meditation doesn’t necessarily consist of sitting on a rock in the mountains and maintaining focus for hours. Nowadays, the practice can be implemented through expert-guided meditations which address several aspects of our lives. We can choose guided meditations based on the most pressing self-transformation goal we may have. Very often, due to the stigma still present with regards to the mind, emotions and mental wellbeing, we may be hesitant to discuss our challenges with friends and family. In such situations, meditation apps can be of immense help as it allows us to gently discover ourselves. Statements, prompts, affirmations, reflections on issues such as low self-esteem, anxiety, anger, mindfulness and calmness, can trigger useful insight within. These provide essential guidance towards self-transformation. We just need to take it one day at a time.
As sages beautifully explained centuries ago, the ultimate purpose of meditation can be seen as a life devoid of anger, agitation, stress and afflictions:
“What have you gained from such intense meditation?” someone asked Mahavira, founder of Jainism, a contemporary of Buddha and equally enlightened.
“I have gained nothing actually,” the sage said. “But, I’ve lost much including my anger, pride, lust, hatred and misconceptions.” ~ os.me
With the gradual elimination of anger, stress, low self-esteem, greed, etc., a regular practice of quality meditation leads to a fulfilling and peaceful life – one in which we know and accept ourselves; physically, mentally and emotionally. In knowing our mind, our thoughts and our emotions, we can choose which thoughts to pursue or drop. With such control, we lead a life whereby bad days are far and few in between, while most days are filled with contentment. We learn to befriend ourselves and fill the emptiness with contentment and self-love. A life that includes a few minutes of meditation verily then makes way for a happier us.
~ Komal R