Our culture does not support contemplation.
A few years ago, I posted “10 Simple & Fun Ways to Stay Healthy” and one of my suggestions was meditation.
When meditation was first suggested to me, my reaction was, “Who? Me? Meditate?” The thought of sitting with myself and doing nothing was crazy for me. So I decided to do it for just five minutes a day. That was all I could tolerate.
I slowly, very slowly, began increasing the time. I got to a point where I could actually meditate for hours. I even lived at a Buddhist Retreat Center for two years, but that is a whole other story.
When I first began meditating, my mind was crazy with thoughts. So crazy that I thought it was hopeless. I would wander, fantasize, fall asleep and criticize myself, until I began to realize that this is exactly what we do to ourselves every day.
We beat ourselves up.
And I realized that my meditation wasn’t going to be perfect immediately, but it was beginning to give me an awareness of just how many crazy thoughts we all have. Some people refer to the craziness of our thoughts as our “monkey minds.”
Our culture does not support contemplation. Culture encourages us to go, go, go, watch a lot of TV, play video games and wants to constantly keep us distracted from our day-to-day life. So half the time, we don’t even understand or care why we are doing the things we are doing.
We mindlessly say or do things that can hurt people, make decisions hastily and never really sit with ourselves and understand why we do the things that we do.
I never gave up on meditation, and began to see that my mind did become calmer, and it started to affect how I lived my daily life. It helped me make more rational decisions, be in touch when I was fearful and realize how judgmental I was, and how I wasn’t being supportive of myself. I also began to learn about patience toward myself and others. This wasn’t an overnight process; it took a long time.
My life and decision making have changed dramatically since I started meditating, and so I urge you to begin and begin now, even if it’s just for five minutes a day.
You will slowly start to see what kind of “monkey mind” you have, and learn about calming yourself down, relaxing and being in the moment.
The Dalai Lama is a high lama in the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism, and once participated in a scientific experiment where some of his long practicing monks of meditation were tested right after their sessions. The results showed remarkable and positive changes in their brains.
You too will see changes in both your personal and business decisions and you will see your health improve. Who wouldn’t feel better being calmer, more relaxed and making decisions from a stable place rather than out of fear?
It will open you up to many possibilities, as well as your creativity and innovativeness. Again, not immediately, but be patient with yourself and you will learn to be patient with others.
One more important point: There are many Buddhist Centers in major cities that give free meditation classes, usually on Sunday mornings, and you don’t have to be affiliated with the centers in any way. You can go online and Google “Buddhist Centers” in your local area and you will find many offering free meditations.
Sherri Rosen is now living in Harlem, New York. She has had her own publicity business for 12 years, giving a powerful voice to people who are doing good things in the world. She writes her own blog at SherriRosen.com.
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Assistant Ed: Thandiwe Ogbonna/Ed: Kate Bartolotta