Meditation practice is a fundamental piece of self development and discovering high health and vitality. It’s been practiced for thousands of years and it’s at the root of every religion. It’s not just a Buddhist or Hindu practice…praying is a form of meditation.
Meditation is not necessarily quieting or emptying the mind… it’s focusing the mind on purpose. Think of it like aiming a flashlight at something. Stillness and silence are the usual byproducts of that focus.
When an athlete gets into a flow state and becomes one with a ball handling drill… that’s meditation. When a musician sits down and plays the piano for an hour, having no concept of time… that’s meditation. When people are anxious they obsess (or focus deeply)… on a thought, object, or activity. It’s an attempt to quiet the mind through a form of meditation.
The Nature Of The Mind And Practice
The mind wanders. That’s what it does. It’s moving from one thing to another and the objects in the sensory world battle for it’s attention. Meditation is the practice of observing where the attention is going and then bringing it back to the basis of the meditation- be it an object, breathe, an activity, or a movement.
When the mind wanders from the basis… observe it, and bring it back. Don’t force the mind… it does not like to be restrained… it’ll fight back. Observe, relax the body, breathe out and bring it back to the basis. Each time you do this, you’ll strengthen the willpower muscle and become more present.
Notice I use the word “observe.” One tool to discover as you get better with meditation is that you are observing your mind wandering… then bringing it back. So the question becomes “who is observing.” This is a question worth looking at and the more you do, the more you will realize your mind is actually an instrumental used by the real you. You might have heard “you’re not your mind” or “you’re not your thoughts.”
4 Key Benefits Of Meditation
1) Clarity: Meditation helps people see. I don’t mean see with your eyes. I mean really see. The more you meditate and brush away the toxicity, the more you realize on a deep a level. You’ll begin to understand more about human nature and the problems we cause for ourselves. This is wisdom.
2) Happiness increases: Having more clarity about yourself and others allows you to take a huge step in self development: clearing away what you don’t need, and rebuilding with the essentials. Understanding more gives you the power to strip away things in your life that are making you unhappy, and the byproduct of that… obviously more happiness.
3) Increased testosterone and muscle: Meditation turns on the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the rest and digest system… healing and recover occurs when the body is truly resting. Meditation will reduce stress and cortisol (which breaks down muscle) and increase testosterone (repairing and building up muscle). Remember that everything in life is yin and yang. There’s breakdown and there’s rebuilding. Meditation allows the rebuilding… physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
4) Decreased illness and disorder: The mind and body is one. Focus and still the mind in a positive state, the body follows. Meditation increases all chemicals connected to happiness and wellbeing. It boosts the immune system. It connects the body and mind… the disconnection is what starts all illness. When your mind and body is connected, there is no confusion. No internal disorder. Higher energy and vitality flows in this environment.
There’s no one right way to start meditating. Just start with one basic idea: Attention. Sit for a few minutes with the complete intent that you’ll be watching your breathe. Don’t expect to sit for too long if you are just beginning. It is possible, but not likely. Start small and make it a daily practice. Remind yourself that for the next 5 minutes you have NOTHING to do or worry about.
And keep this in mind too: You don’t have to be a Buddhist monk or herb to meditate. The ideas associated with meditation turn some people off to it. I remind my clients all the time: Famous athletes, rappers and rock stars, entrepreneurs, and movie creators all meditate on a regular basis. The benefits are unreal.
That’s it for now, but try meditating for a week and note your observations.