Meditation is a tool for rediscovering the body’s own inner intelligence. Practiced for thousands of years, it’s not about forcing the mind to be quiet, it is finding the silence that is already there and making it a part of your life.
Silence is the birthplace of happiness, creativity and infinite possibilities. From this field of pure potentiality we get our bursts of inspiration, our most intuitive thoughts, and our deepest sense of connection to the Universe. Practicing meditation on a daily basis allows us to weave silence and stillness into our mind and body to create a life of greater compassion and fulfillment. Meditation is a journey to the center of our very being; a journey to emotional freedom; and a journey to the reawakening of our unconditioned self.
We live in a society where typically we move one step ahead of ourselves, anticipating the next task on an endless to-do list, multi-tasking to fit it all in, and very much conditioned to strive for something other than what is right in front of us, preoccupied with what the future holds. Or we move through life letting our choices be informed by past experiences, outworn memories that inhibit us from moving into the potential of the present moment.
All of this impacts us physiologically. With each thought we hold our body responds. Research tells us that each day a person has somewhere between 50 – 80,000 thoughts. Clearly we are not always aware of the ride our mind is taking, often moving through life on auto-pilot. And we are wired with a stress response – an internal response to what is happening in the world around us. Many of our thoughts are emotionally charged by our perceptions of our past or future. For the most part we have become accustomed to a baseline amount of stress in our lives. But, this does not have to be our norm.
When we consistently practice meditation we learn to inject a pause into the stream of thoughts, to bring our attention back to the present moment. We practice moving from our thoughts to our breath or a mantra. Occasionally we slip into the space between our thoughts - that place that holds the potential for our next thought: the gap.
This practice is like an exercise for the brain. The more we do it, the better able we become at experiencing ‘response flexibility,' the ability to pause before responding as we put temporal and mental space between the stimulus – what is happening around us - and our response to it. From a neurobiological perspective this space of mind enables the range of possibilities to be considered, to just “be” with an experience, to reflect before engaging the “do” circuitry of action. Response flexibility allows us to be in a place where we are better able to respond to our world consciously, thoughtfully, and reflectively rather than reflexively. Herein lies our path to well-being.
Practicing meditation on a daily basis promotes both physical and psychological benefits. Meditation can help you to:
Meditation is ultimately about self-care. It is an incredibly effective tool for learning self-regulation and to manage stress. We practice meditation to care for our well-being. And then it becomes metaphysical: we care for ourselves and are then better able to effectively and generously offer care to others. The demands of our modern lifestyles can overwhelm us. But if we really want to show up for life in a meaningful and fulfilling way then self-care needs to be something we prioritize. A daily meditation practice is a conscious choice to care for yourself and others.
Begin where you are.