The Importance of Meditation

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What we think meditation should look like...

If I had a dollar for every time a client or friend told me that they really should be meditating, or they really need to restart their meditation practice or they have to find a way to meditate regularly, I’d be swimming in dollars!

The thing is that if you’re meditating – or wanting to meditate – because you feel like you should have a meditation practice, you’re not going to get much out of it. And you’re not likely to stick with it.

We all have an image in our mind – maybe it looks something like the one on the left – of what meditation should look like. If you’re not in pure thought-free bliss, then you must be doing it wrong, right?

Not so much.

Here’s the thing. If you find a way to meditate that really feels good to you, you’ll find that you look forward to it and that on days when you don’t meditate, you miss it.

In fact, on days that I don’t meditate, I can actually tell a difference based on what events transpire. Lately, my meditation-less days are fraught with unexpected, undesired interactions and things just seeming to go inexplicably “wrong.”

A new study on the impact of meditation on the brain

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Even animals meditate

I ran across this story about how meditation actually rewires your brain the other day. It’s fascinating how science is beginning to prove the enormous impact of meditation and other personal growth practices  on our health and well-being.

The study seems to indicate that when we are distracted and allowing our minds to wander from one subject or one thought to another, this leads to unhappiness. And we have so much opportunity these days to be distracted! There’s the internet and all its many “time sucks” (like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), there’s television (hello, Sex and the City reruns!), there’s work and friends and family and going out to hear music and, and, and…

You get the idea.

And if it’s true that meditation can lead to a more focused existence, then it follows to believe that meditation leads to happiness! Or at the very least, more appreciation of what’s happening right now, in this moment.

Yes, but how do I start a meditation practice?

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Animals are great at teaching meditation...

Just start. Really.

Meditation can be a completely individual, unique experience. It doesn’t have to look like you, seated cross-legged with your index finger and thumb touching and resting on your lap, eyes closed, slight smile on your lips, noticing your breathing in a state of utter peacefulness and bliss. Or it could be you, taking a walk around a lake, noticing the beauty around you. Or it could be you, riding your horse through a huge open field, noticing the connection you feel with him and the world around you. Or you, laying in your bed, with a cat curled up in the bend of your knee, drifting off into sleep.

Whatever it looks like for you, just start doing something. After all, the point is not to become The Buddha… the point is to make time to JUST BE every day. Start small with 5 minutes of noticing your breath. Really. Even 5 minutes will make a huge difference!

And, if you’re feeling ready to get started, this is perfect timing because The Chopra Center is starting their 21-Day Meditation Challenge and you can sign up for free!

In case you were wondering… Yes! This is a sign from The Universe!

Enjoy the journey and let me know your thoughts, questions or comments on meditation in the comments below.

 

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