No doubt you’ve been hearing a lot about the benefits of meditation. It’s no longer “airy-fairy” or something just for those who practice Eastern religions. It has made its way into mainstream America.
And although I meditate daily and believe it in passionately, I can’t help but wonder why meditation has increased in popularity, why it has made its way onto Main Street, why it has become such a common topic. Why? Like any good meditator, I meditated on it! And the answer that came to me was that maybe we need it now, more than ever before because we live in a world of “too much.”
We always seem to have “too much” to do and our calendars are filled with “too many” obligations. Consequently, time management programs, experts, books and tools were born. Our houses are brimming with “so much” that professional organizers, organizing books, The Container Store and self-storage units sprung up around the country.
Thanks to smartphones we have “too much” access to “too much” information. We’re so busy checking our emails, instant messaging and texting each other that we’ve stopped talking. And so, apps that limit time on our apps were invented.
Now we have more to help with “too much.” How much sense does that make?
Maybe the real problem is that the “solutions” never get to the root of it all, an addiction to overfilling our lives, an aversion to quiet, an inability to be alone?? We could think about this, analyze it and fill our minds with more “too much” trying to figure out the whys of “too much” or…we could just meditate.
At its fundamental core, meditation clears our busy minds and declutters “too much”. Yet, at the same time, that seems daunting. And the fact that it seems daunting IS daunting. Are we afraid to clear our minds? Are we concerned that if we slow down for even 5 minutes that our lives will spin hopelessly out of control? Or does our desire to be perfect and to do everything perfectly make us afraid that we will be less than perfect at meditation? What if our minds can’t clear? Just thinking about meditation can add to the “too much."
But maybe that’s because meditation is misunderstood. Like art, there is no right and there is no wrong. It isn’t judgmental. It just is. What it is NOT, is complicated…until we try to make it that way. So, don’t. Just do it. Simply. Easily. Without pressure. Like this:
- Sit or lay in a comfortable position. Get comfortable. Make sure that the temperature of the room is right for you, dim the lights if that’s helpful; adjust your clothing so that it’s not causing discomfort; close your eyes and breathe deeply.
- While you are breathing, focus on your breath…nothing more.
- Thoughts will pop into your head. Let them.
- When they do, picture them like a bird with wings flying away. Or imagine them cascading downward in a waterfall while you watch and feel the mist on your face.
- Then focus back on your breath.
- Don’t give up.
- decreased stress and anxiety levels
- improved emotional well-being
- increased focus and concentration
- enhanced self-awareness
- improved heart health
- reduced anger
- improved immunity
- improved memory
- better sleep
- increased compassion for self and others
It turns out a decluttered mind can be helpful to the body as well. So ironically meditation should be one more thing added to an already overcrowded to-do list. And if that seems impossible, think about it this way…meditating will get your mind and body into a healthier state. When your mind and body are healthier, you can add more to “too much."
Or maybe you can learn to slow down and find that calm and peace within. Because in the end, underneath all the noise and all the “too much” what we’re all really seeking is nothing more than…serenity…and that’s exactly the business of meditation.
Peace and blessings,
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