For anyone struggling to develop a consistent meditation practice, it’s essential to know why meditate – the specific benefits and value so you stay motivated in pursuing it.
So, here for my benefit as well as anyone else’s (who might use it to get some momentum for their practice) are the reasons why I meditate.
1. It keeps me in touch with a sense of “rightness.”
No matter what happens in your world, or in the world at large, no matter whether relationships are broken or jobs are lost or anything else, when you sink into the profound sense of peace that comes in the midst of meditation, everything feels okay. You’ve touched the source of peace within, which is true and always there beneath the surface, as opposed to looking for it “out there” in the world, where it shifts constantly according to people and circumstances.
2. It relaxes my body and heals it.
Being a little on the overachiever side, my tendency is to be in motion and oftentimes in exertion. Though I practice yoga and that also has a balancing effect on my body, few things feel quite as good as the sense that there’s no left-over tension in my body after a good meditation practice. I certainly feel mellow, but not limp: it’s an empowered state where I could instantly call upon all my energy if necessary yet enjoy using the least possible amount of it that’s consistent with efficiency.
3. It raises my wisdom.
I know that there’s only so far I can develop my intelligence, my street-smarts, my spatial reasoning, or my conceptual understanding. At some point, it’s all limited by how much I can experience, take in, and process. Meditation goes beyond the mind, into a state that I believe is the source of wisdom, which encompasses far more than intelligence. Consistently dipping into the pool of meditation washes away the static in my mind so that wisdom starts to emerge more and more. I think of it as the ultimate way to upgrade my mental software… even if often I can’t see the changes immediately. These changes will often show signs in flashes of intuition or creativity and a growing willingness to trust the direction in which both the intuition and the creativity take me.
4. It sets up a different tone to my day-to-day living.
When I meditate first thing in the morning, I feel like I’m not living my life on auto-pilot; I feel like I am far more of a conscious participant of the choices, events, and people who populate my life, and that hence I also respond more consciously to them.
5. It makes it easier for me to take better care of myself.
The level of awareness addressed in the above point means that I’m also more conscious of taking better care of myself (getting to bed early, being aware of not getting sucked into the computer, drinking water throughout the day, eating good food, breathing well), which in turn makes it easier to maintain my meditation practice, in a self-reinforcing loop.
Perhaps as my practice of meditation continues, I’ll discover new reasons to keep meditating. If you have some more, please share them with everyone here.
Photo credit: TomRaven