Before one embarks on a meditation journey and attempts to become more self aware, you may ask yourself ‘what are the benefits of meditation?‘ and ‘why should I learn to meditate?‘. These are very reasonable questions, and the answer is multifold as practicing mindfulness and meditation has many benefits, sometimes unique to each individual who gets something different out of it each and every time. In order to understand what we may get out of meditation practice, we take a look at 5 things that you stand to gain (or lose) from this mindful art.
When a person takes up meditation they are often looking for answers, answers that they struggled to find by any other means. Sometimes in life, decisions can be black and white, but more often than not life is very much grey in colour. There is no set path, and we struggle to find our way sometimes with no direction or guidance available. One of the benefits of meditation is that it allows us to find those answers within ourselves. It helps us to become self aware and to gain a better understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
Certain meditation techniques, such as using mala beads to perform a chanted mantra throughout your meditation, centers our entire being and gives us focus. The repetitive nature of saying a word or phrase over and over allows us to shut out our other thoughts and become entirely present in the moment, completely wrapped up in what we are saying. This instills instant peace throughout our mind and body, but more importantly that sense of calm and ability to ward off distractions whilst meditating follows us into other areas of our life and improves our ability to concentrate in general.
When Buddha was asked what he had gained from meditation, he replied “Nothing!” “However, let me tell you what I have lost: Anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.” As Buddha states, it is not what you stand to gain from meditation, but what you can potentially lose. Through the use of different meditation techniques and practicing mindfulness we can rid ourselves of a lot of negative emotions and traits about ourselves. We can also heal our pain and wounds from the past, and learn to forgive and move on.
The very act of meditation is a gentle one. Soft sounds, relaxed environment, peace and quiet – when you learn to meditate you learn to be okay with being still and serene. This does not come naturally to everybody, some people are noisy, outgoing and have a big presence but everyone can learn to embrace the silence. It is there that we truly see within the depths of our mind and begin to make a connection to the world around us. Becoming a more gentle, understanding and compassionate person in a world that can sometimes makes that a very difficult thing to do is one of the great benefits of meditation.
Meditating teaches you to have more patience and you will quickly learn that there is no easy way to become self aware or ‘enlightened’. Meditation, much like life, is a journey – it does not have a desired end point or final goal. It is a constant process of seeking, learning, listening and growing. The important thing is not what you find but what finds you, things you never even knew you were looking for might become apparent. This persistence and perseverance that comes from meditating is a life lesson that will stand to you in your everyday existence and allow you to appreciate things for what they are.
Remember, meditation can be practiced anywhere and at anytime, so take 5 minutes of your day and sit in silence or with meditation music. You never know what you may get out of it until you give it a go.