Scallywag

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Meditation Thanks

August 20th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 47 secs

Not sleeping, meditating.

Not sleeping, meditating.

Meditation often presents as a cliché to me. Think of monks in orange robes and baldheads, all chanting “Ooohm!” and sitting together with their legs impossibly crossed. Good for them. But what about us?

Unless you happen to be of Buddhist, Jewish, or Hindu leaning, the prospect of meditation might leave you feeling uncomfortable: “I’m not religious thank you very much” or “No thanks. That’s not for me. I’m a Christian” (or perhaps a Muslim).

Yet, it would seem to me that meditation offers something for everyone, regardless of our beliefs. While praying can certainly be meditative, so too can spending time in a quiet, contemplative state.

Yet I’ve met some Christian people who are terrified of meditation. For them,  it’s as if you are suggesting they renounce their faith to engage in that kind of contemplation. Such is their fear of somehow being “got at”.

While it’s true that some people do have hidden agendas, there’s nothing in peacefully reflecting that anyone should ever need worry about. Actually, what is worrying is that some folk actively keep trying to distract themselves every waking moment, for fear of experiencing silence.

We can all benefit from meditation and make it what we choose it to be. For some, it can overtly be a religious experience. For others: a process of opening up their mind to contemplate.

Scientists have consistently found that meditation offers significant health benefits, and it’s easy to see how quietness and relaxing could counter the effects of stress. But are there any negative implications?

I suppose you could become so enthused about peace and quiet that you might never want to lift a finger again. But, like your favorite vacation, life has a way of demanding participation. So I don’t think escape is ever that easy.

To me, the process of meditation tends to flow through my activities, touching many parts of my life. For instance, when I pray, sit quietly in bed drinking a cup of tea, or go for a walk along the beach by the sea, I enjoy that meditative state of being in the moment and happily forget about thinking for a bit.

Thinking too much (really: overthinking) leaves us feeling uptight. So it’s good to structure time for quiet.  As we turn down the white noise in our mind by allowing ourselves to chill out, we actually start to find ourselves consciously tuning in.

Like a mental reset button, meditation brings you back to the here and now and, somehow, to clearer thinking. If you have faith, then the process seems to draw you closer to your Creator (such is the power of stepping away from life’s activity and simply being still).

So if you often find yourself overthinking, getting too tired too often, or just feeling out of sorts, try meditating for a while. Allow yourself 15-20 minutes somewhere quiet and just relax (without falling asleep). If you can clear your mind, that’s fine. But if not, that’s okay too. These days, I like to focus on my breathing to help me relax and often that’s all I need to do.

Do it every day or as you are able and you might find yourself looking forward to your time out without interruption. If, after a week or so, it makes you feel better keep it up. If you find it doesn’t help then let it go. Simple.

There are many ways to meditate and not all are especially structured. By letting go of your preoccupying thoughts and becoming more attuned to being in the moment, time in reflection is a wonderful catalyst.

If you could benefit from a calmer mind, and greater wellbeing (And who wouldn’t?), why not give meditation a go?  By all means, do it your way and enjoy the privilege of taking a mental break.  With a bit of regular time to quieten yourself, who knows what it will help you do and think through?

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