A few weeks ago I decided to try something a bit different… I meditated on the roof of a 61 story building.
Unlike most of my meditation sessions, this one was unique… not only did it give me a breath of fresh air, it also helped bring me closer to the source that brings us all together.
As I was sitting on that 61 story building I started to imagine myself floating above the skyline. As I was ascending I looked down on all the small stuff that individuals take so seriously — petty squabbles, ego centric needs & a slew of other issues. It made me realize that, above all else, people need to be more mindful of their actions.
I also came to the realization that I don’t meditate enough.
Here are 10 reasons to meditate more:
Daily meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Elevated cortisol contributes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and more.
So it follows that meditation can play in role in preventing and reversing these conditions.
Along with regular exercise and a healthy diet, meditation is a part of living a healthy lifestyle It can also reduce chronic pain, and help you sleep through the night.
Statistics show that those who practice meditation regularly have overall lower healthcare costs than those who don’t.
Bottom line: meditation is good for you. Everyone should do it – everyone who wants to be healthy, that is.
2. Inner Peace
Of course, meditation isn’t just good for the body, it does wonders for the mind and spirit, too. Studies show that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and can be at least as effective as prescription medications.
But even more convincing than any research study is the personal testimony of millions of people who have found meditation to be a pathway to inner peace and happiness.
Meditation teaches you to observe your thoughts without getting tangled up in any of them. It shows you how much of your suffering is self-imposed, the creation of your own mind. And it teaches you you to let go of the beliefs and mental stories that cause stress, depression, anger, fear and inner turmoil.
In essence, it teaches you to shift from your head to your heart. To stay centered and connected to your soul, your sanctuary of peace even in the midst of the chaos of life.
Have you ever stopped at a sidewalk cafe, or a public park, and just sat and watched people going about their day? If so, you might have noticed that everyone seems to be in a hurry.
Most of us have a lot to do, and not enough time to do it in (or so it seems), and as a result we are usually rushing. We are always hurrying from one place to another, from thing to another, so much so that we get furious when anything or anyone slows us down.
(Road rage, anyone?)
But you can’t enjoy life that way. The key to happiness is slowing down, taking your time, being present to each moment as it happens.
Meditation teaches us not to hurry. It teaches us to slow down, be patient, be present, to stop and smell the roses. It teaches us how to enjoy being alive!
Have you ever felt lost? I know I have.
Sadly, I think many people in the fast-paced modern world struggle to find a genuine sense of meaning, purpose, and identity. We are so focused on external things, that we don’t take the time to explore our inner world, and discover who we really are, deep down.
The good news? Meditation can help with that, too.
Meditation teaches us not to look outside ourselves, to stop identifying with our job, our relationship, our status and possessions. We discover that the richness and the meaning of life lies within.
Meditation reveals who you really are, beneath the surface. It reveals to you the infinite depth and beauty of your own spirit.
And when you truly know yourself, you will never feel lost again.
Think back to the last time you bought a new computer.
Do you remember how fast and clean it was? How quickly it would load websites and programs? But over time, the machine becomes clogged with software. With so many tasks always running in the background, it’s performance is slowed down considerably.
Guess what? Your mind is a lot like that.
Most of us have so many worries, regrets, and random thoughts running in the background that we have a hard time thinking clearly about what’s right in front of us. Our thoughts are jumbled, and hazy. Our performance is compromised.
Meditation is like a reboot for the mind. It teaches us to let go of those worries and compulsive thoughts. It quiets the mental noise so that we can think clearly, function at optimum levels, and give 100% of ourselves to the task at hand.
Do you ever have trouble staying focused? Of course you do. Who doesn’t?
I would say that lack of focus is one of the most universal challenges, one of the biggest obstacles that prevents people from living up to there highest potential, accomplishing their goals, and making their dreams a reality.
And meditation might just be the best remedy, the perfect cure for poor concentration.
Laser focus isn’t something you’re born with – it’s a skill that you can develop with effort and practice. Concentration is like a muscle, and certain kinds of meditation (focusing on the breath, a mantra, or a candle flame, for example) will help you flex and strengthen that muscle.
And as you’re focus and concentration improve, you will find it easier to follow through with your plans, achieve your goals, and be successful at whatever you put your mind to.
When you can stay focused, there is nothing you cannot do.
Meditation isn’t all about focus and concentration, of course. It’s also about relaxation, letting go, opening your mind and surrendering to the unknown…
Which, it just so happens, are essential elements of creative thinking.
As I’ve already mentioned, most of us have habitual thoughts and “mental programing” running in the back of our minds all day long. And over time, these thought patterns become deeply imbedded, forming “thought ruts” or “mental grooves” which are very tough to get out of.
But thinking the same thing over and over again does not foster creativity. Obviously.
Meditation can boost your creativity by quieting mental chatter, and loosening the grip of those thought patterns. It makes it easier for us to get out of the rut, out of our comfort zone, and think about things differently, see things from a new perspective.
And that’s how creativity happens!
And sometimes, when our mind is quiet, open and receptive, inspiration will strike us like a bolt of lightning. All of our best, most brilliant, earth-shaking, revolutionary ideas come to us like that – from the mysterious “great beyond.” No one can tell when or how inspiration will come…
But meditation can prepare you and make you ready.
It’s not hard to find evidence that the world is out-of-balance.
All you have to do is turn on the news, or look through your Facebook feed, and you’ll see countless stories of violence, fraud, abuse, and injustice. And while these stories may appear very different on the surface, deep down they have a common thread:
Ego. Selfishness. Lack of awareness. Lack of caring.
What the world needs, more than anything else, is for human beings to transcend the ego, to care more about each other than we do about money and personal pleasure. What the world needs most is compassion.
Meditation is the method by which we transcend selfishness and egocentricity, and cultivate awareness, compassion and caring. If the news upsets you, and makes you want to do something, to change something, to make a difference… then meditate every day.
If you really want to change the world, change yourself. The change starts on the inside. It starts with everyday people like you and me becoming more caring and compassionate.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
One of the most important elements of human happiness and well-being is our relationships, our connection to one another. Unfortunately, most of us are so caught up in our own little world, in our own mind, that we struggle to maintain healthy, loving relationships.
We feel disconnected.
Meditation helps us to bridge the gap, to make and keep more meaningful relationships. It teaches us to be present to each other, to listen and communicate on a deeper level. It teaches us how to let down our guard and relax, to be ourselves, to be open and honest, and share with each other, intimately.
More than that, meditation helps us to transcend the ego, our false sense of separation. It enables us to shift our identity from the mind to the Spirit, from our frightened little “self,” to the boundless, infinite, innermost Self.
Then we no longer feel separate, alone, isolated. We realize our connection to each other, our connection to Nature and all living things. The whole universe is inter-connected, and we can feel that Oneness, that sense of intimacy and belonging…
It’s a joy indescribable.
In the Far East, meditation has been practiced for thousands of years as a “way of liberation.” But what does that mean, exactly? Liberation from what?
It means that most of us live our lives within the narrow confines of fear and limitation. Fear of failure, fear of what others might think. Limitations on what we should think or believe, on what we should and shouldn’t do.
Perhaps the biggest way that meditation changes your life is that it frees you from those fears, and dissolves those boundaries – most of which are imaginary, and self-imposed.
Meditation liberates us from the confines of the ego. It frees us from the endless list of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts.” It frees us from social convention, from all the guilt, shame, doubt and fear that keeps us from reaching for the stars, and living the life that we long to live.
Meditation frees your mind, and opens you up to your own infinite potential, to the unlimtied possibilities that life holds for you.
No matter who you are, where you’re from or what you’ve been through, right here and now you have a choice. You decide the direction of your life. You determine your future by what you decide to do with this moment.
You – yes, you! – can write a book, start a business or a charity. You can go back to school and get that degree. You can have anything, do anything, and become anything you wish, if you can let go of your boundaries and limitations, and open your mind to the possibilities.
Are you ready to begin? Check out our in-depth guide, How to Meditate, and get started today!
As always, thanks for reading! Please feel free to ask questions or give feedback in the comments section below.