What is Meditation?
The world was a very different place in the past from the viewpoint that even one hundred years ago six weeks worth of sensory stimuli is what we would get the equivalent of in a single day these days.
Because the world is changing so fast we are constantly under pressure to learn, adapt and perform at higher levels. One thing is for sure, the amount of information and sensory stimuli we get is going to continue to speed up, which means we will need to learn and adapt even faster.
This keeps the mind constantly working to keep up with the constant demands made on our mental, physical and emotional resources, which obviously then impacts our health, well-being, relationships, performance and quality of life.
What it boils down to is that we have less space in our lives and specifically, less space in our minds to have the calm, clarity and focus to keep things in balance with ease.
Meditation is the answer to our busy lives. It helps to clear the mind which is almost as good as having a good nights sleep in terms of the health benefits we can get from it because when the mind is quiet, the body starts to rest and rejuvenate.
That’s why meditation is such a great way to help reduce and even prevent excess stress and tension in your life. It helps to give you a break from the onslaught of thoughts, feelings and physical sensations that all want a piece of your time and energy.
The bottom line is that if you can give your mind a bit of space each day, you’ll be much better equipped to adapt to the ever accelerating pace of life and the demands on your mental, physical and emotional resources.
Meditation can really be applied by anyone, anywhere you like, and anytime you choose, because it’s all about how you focus your attention and how present you can be with what you are doing in the moment.
For example, walking, jogging, running, or even swimming can be a meditation, you just need to be aware of what you are doing and not let your mind wander and get distracted. If you’re movements are mechanical and your mind is elsewhere thinking about what you will do next, or what happened earlier in the day, then you will miss the chance for meditation.
Meditation is a space of calmness and peace that happens naturally when we stop allowing ourselves to be constantly distracted from where we are now and what we are doing. That’s why meditation can happen for runners without trying. While they are running, the body is working and the mind starts to slow down until at some point the mind stops thinking altogether.
In that moment, when the mind goes quiet, a meditative state naturally occurs. This is when a runner becomes one with their body, mind and the environment. It’s also known as being in the ‘zone’. I have experienced this myself and the best way to describe it is that you are aware that the body is moving, but on the inside there is a sense of lightness, space and freedom.
It’s almost as if you are watching yourself running and there is no effort required to make it happen. You also experience a blissful like state that is impossible to describe except to say that it feels like you’ve just had the most amazing experience of happiness, health and harmony all rolled up in one. This is what meditation feels like.
That’s what meditation is – being totally present in the moment with what is happening without any distractions getting in the way. Yes, the mind will always try to distract you and pull you in a hundred directions, but that’s okay because that part of the mind is just on the surface.
When the wind blows across the surface of the ocean the sea looks starts to get rough, yet not far under the surface the ocean remains calm and still. The mind is much the same. Our conscious thoughts that occupy our waking mind only belong to the surface of the mind. They can’t touch the part of the mind that’s below the surface, called the unconscious mind.
The unconscious mind is where the mind is always calm and quiet. It’s mostly know as that part of the mind that we access when we day dream or go to sleep, but it can also be accessed u using meditation techniques. By the way, the conscious mind is only about 10% of the whole of our mind. The other 90% belongs to the unconscious mind.
This is where we can tap into our hidden creative talents, come up with ideas that can change the world and find answers to who we are and why we are here. Once you learn how to use meditation to access this part of the mind, where calmness, space and silence is natural, that’s when a deep centering and aliveness arises within you.
This is where new sources of energy are released and you will rejuvenate and refresh the body.
The next time when you’re considering whether you should give meditation a go or not, think about expanding your idea on what meditation is to include that it’s for anyone, anywhere and anytime, because that’s how I have come to know it after 17 years of practice.
Meditation really is the art of doing nothing because when you can quiet the mind and be happy with nothing but silence in your head, then all the benefits that meditation bring such as calmness, joy, improved memory, better concentration, and all the others you read about, are yours to be enjoyed.
The key is to finding someone that can make meditation simple and fun for you so that you don’t get bored or despondent with it. Just like going to the gym and exercising muscles, the mind can be trained to be more present and become quieter – it just takes consistent practice.
One of the most life-transforming decisions you will make is to take control of your life, by taking charge of your mind. Even five minutes a day is enough to start with, and then over time you can add to it when you start to notice the benefits of daily meditation kicking in for you.