“We don’t meditate to get good at meditation. We meditate to get good at life”
I heard this recently and it summed up exactly why I practice meditation. While meditation can often be an incredibly pleasant experience, other times it can be really frustrating, and over the years I have come to see that those experiences can be just as powerful as the relaxing and peaceful days.
When we meditate the power often lies in the awareness and acknowledgement of what is happening in that moment, rather than in trying to push uncomfortable feelings away, whether that be difficult emotions, pain in the body, or sometimes just an overactive mind.
Mindful awareness is about acceptance of what is arising for us, being with that feeling and allowing it to be there, having a sense of curiosity about it, knowing that there is no right or wrong.
When we first come to mediation we might be coming for relaxation and a sense of calm, and those feelings are a definite benefit of meditation. I encourage you to let go of any of those expectations and be open to whatever arises, as this is where the magic can lie.
There are thousands of scientific studies that mindfulness & meditation improves our health, our mental clarity, our immune function, our sleep and can even assist with pain management.
We are all living increasingly busy lives, and meditation gives us an opportunity to come back to ourselves, to be in the moment and to know what is really going on for ourselves, rather than being on autopilot going from one activity to the next.
There is often the cry, “I don’t have time for meditation”, or “I don’t have time to just sit around”, however what meditation teaches us is that taking space to sit and just be, often leads to increased creativity, productivity and clarity within your life and work, as you’re giving your brain the opportunity to rest in an aware state. Often this is where insights, solutions and ideas can emerge.
Meditation and mindfulness also teaches us how to focus, as we train our mind on being in the present, whether that is through the breath, our senses, or the sensation within our bodies. It encourages us to use these techniques in our daily lives so that mindfulness doesn’t just happen on the meditation chair, but out in the world.
Once we have learned how to use these tools we can use our breath to bring calm in times of stress, our senses to bring ourselves into the present if we are feeling disconnected, and focus to our activities rather that multi-tasking distractedly.
They call it a meditation ‘practice’ for a reason because it does take time, and it is constant learning, every day bringing a new experience. Just like exercising your muscles, you can’t go once and expect a result, it’s the regular habit that helps us build and sustain our strength.
Meditation and mindfulness opens up a new world of possibility, not only by bringing a sense of peace; it creates space for us to empower ourselves with tools to lead happier lives, with greater self-awareness and improved health and wellbeing.
About the author
Sacha Stewart is a holistic wellness coach and meditation teacher, with a focus on mindfulness, nutritional guidance, stress reduction, and lifestyle shifts to keep your health and wellbeing at an optimum.
Where to find her http://www.sachastewart.net