It’s no secret that meditation has many positive effects. Studies showed that people who meditated daily for eight weeks had enlarged parts of their prefrontal cortex, the executive centre of our brain. In other words, we can train our brain and have the choice to inhabit the most evolved part of it by practising conscious and mindful living. For further reading, I recommend The Biology of Belief by Bruce H. Lipton.
However, if this was easy, everyone would do it. As meditation plays a significant role in my coaching work, I am going to write a series on mindfulness and conscious living including meditation. Meditation is yoga, it’s one of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga and often referred to as ‘higher yoga’ along with pranayama, the conscious awareness of breath.
To meditate effectively, one has to become present in the here and now, which is a strange concept for many people in the Western world, and the reason why so many people struggle with meditation initially. The more we practise mindfulness, the better we become at observing ourselves, our mind observing itself, when we are entangled in thoughts about the past and worries about the future instead of living in the present moment. And the present moment is all we have.
As a consequence, it is essential to learn how to connect with the present moment. Let’s have a look at the five most important reasons to start meditating:
1. Connect with Yourself
To meditate gives you the opportunity to connect with your inner self, the real you at the energetic internal level. Some people refer to this as the soul or seat of humanity. By connecting with this space, you are also connecting with an energy that is greater than yourself, the universe.
2. Create Space
When you meditate, you distance yourself from the so-called Monkey Mind with its ongoing chatter. After some practice, you will be able to tap into the space between thoughts. A space between wanting and not wanting, between pleasure and pain, a space that allows you to practise equanimity. It is this space from which all of creation manifests. Quantum physics is beginning to help us articulate what yogis have known for over 50,000 years: everything is made up of energy vibrating at different frequencies.
3. Become the Observer
If you are starting out with meditation, this concept might sound strange. Once you become more experienced, you will notice that you are able to observe your thoughts, feelings, and emotions as they pop up, aka our external consciousness, which is our body in space. And thoughts will pop up, as our mind always tries to interfere with our practice. The goal is to allow them to be there, acknowledge them and let them go without judgement.
4. Reduce Stress
Science has proven that meditation reduces stress and enables better performance. It also supports recovery from physical and mental illnesses. Plus, it provides a state of being that enables us to reach our peak performance. If you have to deal with challenging topics in your private or professional life, I recommend meditating to ask for a solution or, as the bestselling, motivational author Louise Hay suggested “placing an order in the cosmic kitchen.” Stop stressing out about things you can’t change. The only thing you can change is your reaction.
5. Discover Your Real Self
By practising stillness, we become an observer of our ego. Our ego is part of our brain; it’s not who we are. It’s our identity of thoughts and beliefs that our parents have taught us and that we have adopted in our life based on our experiences. After lots of practice, meditation allows us to experience ourselves without these thoughts and beliefs for periods of time. What exists without the ego is a beautiful bliss feeling of connectedness, love, peace, and inner power with no boundaries. This state is infinite and expansive and ironically our true natural state of being.
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