What is the Goal of Meditation?
As we're continuing strongly through our National Meditation Month, it is a good time to take a moment to remember why we meditate in the first place. Because of that, here are 5 reasons to meditate.
1. Increasing Our Sense of Peace and Calm
When we take time to meditate, suddenly the problems of our daily life doesn't seem quite so insurmountable. One of the biggest benefits of meditation is the ability to gain perspective, or to zoom out. When we are deeply zoomed in, even something as small as a pimple can ruin an entire day (all 43,200 seconds of it). However, when we zoom out further, we realize that a month or a year from now we will not even remember this nuisance at all. So why put ourselves through such torment if we can mentally skip to the calmness right now.
2. Learning to Live In This Moment
When we live in the past, depression tends to follow. When we live in the future, axiety tends to arise. However, when we can learn to live in this very moment, we know that the brain can only focus on one thing at a time. We can focus on stress or we can focus on the simple pleasures all around us... the delicious taste of the dessert, the sound of a bird outdoors, the feeling of warm water on skin, the smell of your favorite meal in the oven. Life is full of these simple pleasures. In fact, time seemed to pass more quickly when we were children because we were constantly fascinated by the world. A summer felt like an eternity and a school year felt even longer. The only thing that makes years fly by in the blink of an eye in adulthood is that we stop enjoying the little moments.
3. Connecting to Our Inspiration
There is a wonderful TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert called "Your Elusive Creative Genius" in which she said that historically, a genius was like a genie-- a being outside of oneself which grants some lucky souls boons. When the genius is outside of us, it puts no stress on us in our creative endeavors because somedays our inspiration is there and other days it just won't come. Society made a mistake when it transitioned from people "having a genius" to "being a genius". But we can personally decide to remove that stress by using our meditation time to connect to the genius outside of us once more. Some days we may experience deep inspiration and other days it may be evasive. But we trust that we are not the smartest/greatest/best out there and simply tap in to the beauty that is all around us all the time.
4. Enhancing Happiness
When we tune inward to this very moment, we realize that every single emotion we feel is a choice. We can't blame our stress on others because we are the ones choose to react in a stressed-out manner. It is a choice we don't have to make. We can choose happiness and we can choose to not let anyone take that away from us. This isn't to say that we should feel guilty when sadness arises. Sometimes certain unpleasant emotions are there to help us know that a change needs to take place. But when we choose happiness, happiness can't help but follow. Besides, anxiety is contagious but so are postitive emotions like calmness. If we increase the calmness of our own personal world, we won't help but spread the calmness epidemic with those around us.
5. Improving Sleep
According to a recent study conducted by the Harvard Medical School, mindfulness meditation reduces fatigue, insomnia and depression after less than two months. As the world is becoming increasingly competitive, sleep will inevitably help us to perform as the best versions of ourselves. Who could ask for anything better than that?