The stress of today’s fast paced world has left us mostly trying hard to catch up.To cope up with this stress we plan our days well in time – wake up early to exercise or meditate, work continuosly so we can leave the office on time, take the shortest route to home so our family can spend more time with us and then hit the bed early to ensure a headstart for next day’s schedule.It’s really appreciable that people are including meditation in their daily routines.But, let’s think for a moment about why do we save time for meditation.Is it to be mindful of our reactions to the inner and the outer world’s stimulus? Or is it because we’ve realised that meditating is the only way to be happy? Well, most of us would say the former as the internet and our own experience with meditation practice has told us that it calms us down and we feel happier.Some will say it’s crucial to meditate in present times to maintain our sanity. But, isn’t meditation way older than any of today’s fast paced world’s demons?
Some of the oldest written records of meditation date way back to 1500 BCE.That means we’ve been meditating since the origin of the first few languages.I’m sure social media anxiety or monday blues were not the terms you’d throw around frequently back then.So why were humans meditating way back in 1500 BC?
Well the answer is that meditation doesn’t serve a purpose, it is the purpose – The purpose of life! Everything around us is a distraction from our inner world, even nature for that matter – its beautiful landscapes make us forget all our inner conflicts and worries.By meditating we ensure that our real well being isn’t ignored while we are performing our daily chores. According to a research carried out in University of Wisconsin by a neuroscientist, Richard Davidson, where he performed EEG (electroencephalogram)scans on monks in his lab, the Gamma waves shown in EEG, which are created when we get a feeling of contentment — like after completing a task or taking a bite of an apple, were way more prevalent in the monks than in non – meditating brains. Moreover, when the monks were asked to meditate on request, the gamma waves jumped up by 700 to 800 percent in a few seconds. That means meditating gives us the biological equivalent of being content, a state of peaceful happiness.
In meditation, we are taught to observe our feelings and emotions while sitting in a comfortable position.Now what it does is that the feelings of stress,anxiety and fear that usually hijack the rational mind become less overpowering as we are observing them rather than being blown away.This gives some power back to us – to act in our healthiest interests.Meditation can be like a 20-minute vacation, we feel so refreshed and content.
Why I say meditation is evolution’s gift to mankind? Well, it’s so because our hominid predecessors didn’t need meditation.Survival was their biggest worry as they shared space with untamed carnivores.The limbic brain served its purpose of ensuring appropriate fight-or-flight response during any threats to life. But, in today’s civilized world, threats to life aren’t common – animals are in sancturies and we are not solely dependent on nature for food and shelter.The demons created by man himself is what pulls away his peace of mind.The ever growing work targets, the narcissism of social media and lost sense of self has pushed love out of our sights.Whereas, humans are supposed to co-exist and love each other.Unfortunately,we are being conditioned to think that all this stress and angst is part of our daily lives when it’s not.It doesn’t have to be that way at all.
Meditation not only helps us manage our emotions or thoughts better, but it can also heal trauma or any unhealthy genetic predispositions.People with PTSD have vouched for meditation practices to have helped them change their hampster wheel thoughts of self deprication.With regularly practicing meditation, the neural pathways in the brain get modified which means new thought processes can be created by constant exposure to mindfulness.Meditation breeds mindfulness.If you haven’t started meditating, go and ask someone who just did it for the first time recently. They’ll tell you how they were pleasantly surprised at what happened to them after meditating – they’ll seem so incredulous.
Nature wants to support us in what we are doing.Look at the oxygen,the trees,fire,water and what not do we get from nature.Even the body that meditates is a piece of nature right.We are exposed to real growth through meditation – one that is comprehensive and all encompassing.We might start meditating because we want this or we have that.But its effects are not exclusive to what we are looking for.It’s like watering a plant – all the leaves and branches get nourished.We start to radiate something so beautiful and energising that people notice and they are drawn to us like butterflies to flowers.Think of walking through a waterfall, it’s that refreshing.A lot of people report that since they started meditating on daily basis, they feel that they are at the right place and at the right time quite often.Things start falling into place for us and we do less and accomplish more.We can make excuses for not having the time for it, but think of it as a daily mental health hygiene regime.
A great meditation practice increases all the benefits that come with a good night’s sleep.Some beneficial things that come out of having a regular sessions are :
Increased sense of calm
Ability to control emotions better
Mental and physical relaxation
Increased awareness of your body
Increased awareness of other people’s emotions
More rational decision-making
Meditation has helped me in healing from the trauma of losing both my parents and narcissistic abuse by my one I though I was in love with, both in the same year.I also happen to have essential tremors which I have seen become slightly less frequent because of reduced stress and anxiety.I owe it all to my twice-a-day meditation practice.
I’d say give yourself the meditation you need.