let’s get real about meditation

Mediation is beneficial; this is known and obvious through thousands of years of scientific study as well as even more compelling anecdotal and empirical evidence.

We know it’s good for us.

It’s also FREE – it costs nothing.

Then why don’t we do it?

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The vast majority of people who find this post, will not be meditating daily, or even regularly.

I am not here to shame anyone about that.

I’m not even here to convince anyone that they *should* meditate.

That’s kind of beside the point, for me.

But I want to offer a few thoughts, and share some of my experience.

First: meditation is not (usually) an instant gratification activity.

In other words meditation rarely gives us a high. In contrast, we get an immediate boost from a cup of coffee or an impulsive shoe purchase (two delights I experienced this week) – that kind of thing.

Now – some people DO experience bliss in meditation –

However, that is rather rare.

And I’ve not met a regular practitioner who experiences bliss *EVERY time they meditate*.

(and yet they keep at it!)

So for me, this means we might decide to meditate – and commit to practice – knowing we likely won’t receive immediate benefits.

And despite the fact we engage in all kinds of “good habits” just because we know they’re good for us  –

(for instance very few people absolutely LOVE brushing their teeth but most of us do it regularly as the alternative is much worse) –

for some reason people don’t want to invest five minutes a day in something that could improve their BRAIN.

(I don’t know about you, but my brain needs all the help it can get!)

***

I want to point out that for many years, I was no exception. I crumpled up “meditation” on a list of things I “should” do, good habits I “should” employ – like saving 10% of my paycheck, or staying hydrated –

and I just let those “shoulds” beat me up.

Rather than doing anything about it!

So here is my second point:

Almost all forms of meditation are training the mind.

We KNOW that brains can be trained. We train our brains every day – either on purpose or,  for the most part, fairly unconsciously through the things we choose to put into our brains.

In fact we put in a LOT of brain-training time.

It follows that:

Any wholesome training of the mind, will result in improvements in our life.

In fact, that should be obvious.

In other words: we don’t have to know HOW our minds and our lives will improve –

we just get to TRUST that they will, and look forward to observing the change.

Actually, it’s a pretty cool process.

***

Personally, I don’t think we’re being lazy about any of this.

If you think about how hard life can be, our behavior makes sense.

For most of us our minds work well enough that we don’t give them much focused attention.

Our minds work pretty well or IF THEY DON’T, we’ve found a way to get through our day, to survive.

Well I don’t know about you, but I want more than survival.

I’ve been in survival mode and I didn’t like the kind of person I became.

I want to thrive, and I want to be able to help others to safety, to wholeness, to joy and healing.

So!

I’ve put a lot of effort into improving my health, my behavior, my life and the life of my community.

And in that effort – and in doing that research – I came to see that a committed meditation practice was missing.

So I added a meditation practice.

I am very clever so – I found two weekly groups to commit to (one in person at no cost, and one online for monthly dana), and I downloaded a free app for seven days a week solo practice.

I put meditation in my daily task list – so that I get to check it off at the end of the day.

(This feels quite satisfying!)

And this practice is starting to feel very good – and I’m experiencing benefits.

It’s starting to really take hold.

I’m glad I gave myself the chance to see it through.

***

So!

Once again: I’m not here to tell you to meditate.

But I will share that it’s made a huge difference in my life – in my relationships, in my physical health, but most importantly:

in the quality of my mind.

I hope you consider making a consistent practice of meditation – even five minutes, uninterrupted, per day.

Don’t let anyone talk you out of it!

(Even if it’s YOU trying to talk yourself out of it!)

Why not give yourself a chance?

You’ll never know how much your mind – and your life – can improve, unless you commit to the experience.

I look forward to hearing about your results!

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