Most people gravitate to meditation primarily for its relaxation and calming benefits. However, in addition to calming, it also provides many profound possibilities for transformation.
As a meditation teacher and someone who has been meditating from a young age, it is easy to forget and even overlook the significant and small changes that have resulted from consistent practice. Writing this article is a wonderful reminder.
The success of any new or developing habit depends on several factors. A very important one is regular review of our motivation and the benefits of the habit. For example, if you are engaging in a healthy eating plan, a quit-smoking regimen, or a new meditation practice, then recalling your reason for undertaking it, the required daily tasks, and the benefits will help you refocus, adapt, and remain inspired until you reach your goal.
An important support to meditation is reflection. Reflection can be done on the go; while walking or doing things you can think deeply about life experiences to gain an understanding or insight about them. Formal meditation is sitting still on the meditation cushion/chair and meditating on the contemplation insights to gain a deeper felt experience of them. This combination of noticing, reflecting, and meditating on experiences will help you gain control over your behavior, thoughts, speech, and feelings to empower and transform you to meet your life goals.
I’ve broken down the benefits of meditation into categories simply for the ease of reading and grasping, but in reality the benefits overlap and are compounded with one change affecting and building on another.
Develop valuable life skills
Intelligence alone isn’t enough to ensure successful and meaningful relationships or even a prosperous life; it also depends on having vital life skills. Life skills grow our emotional and mental resilience (emotional intelligence), so we are able to effectively deal with emotional demands, mental pressures, and social expectations in skillful beneficial ways. Regular reflection and meditation practice
Cultivate clear seeing and awareness
We believe that the way people, situations, and things appear to us are actually how they are. In fact, our perception is almost always clouded by emotion. The two most important emotions affecting how we process and relate to our life experiences are attachment and aversion. Another way of saying this is liking and disliking. As an example, attachment or desire is wanting a new car which causes us to exaggerate its good qualities and overlook any faults. Then when we have the car, our attachment makes us afraid the car will get damaged or stolen. Aversion is disliking or hating someone or something, and only focusing on their or its negative qualities, and overlooking the good qualities. Or it could manifest as being in a challenging situation and only focusing on the hardship of it. Liking and disliking increases our pain and anxiety, and causes us to act in ways that are damaging to ourselves and others. When these emotions are operating our ability to see clearly is severely impaired. A regular meditation and reflection practice
Getting to know ourselves
The Tibetan meaning of the word for meditation is ‘growing familiarity’. In meditation we are becoming familiar with ourselves and whatever other object of meditation we are choosing to focus on. Every time we make the effort to sit in meditation, we are demonstrating determination and steadfastness in connecting with and getting to know ourselves. In the meditation space, we experience ourselves as we are and let go of judgments of ourselves and others. We learn to deal with our expectations, idiosyncrasies, beliefs, attitudes, and blind spots. Meditation and reflection practice
The overarching idea is that while meditating requires individual effort, the impact and benefit are widespread.
The beneficial changes meditation creates in one individual tend to ripple out and affect our personal and professional relationships and society, as well. So ultimately our personal effort and commitment to a meditation practice can have a global effect.
May your perseverance in meditation lead you to great well-being.