Why would someone who has grown up and been trained in a culture that is immersed in meditation say that it is the greatest? In my view, in my experience, it is simple. The regular practice of meditation brings out the best in all aspects of what it is to be a human being.
My guess is that many of you who are reading this will have done some meditation already. Maybe you have been practising for a long time. However, despite this, maybe you are in a similar boat to many people I have questioned at workshops presented over many years who say they are somewhat dissatisfied. So many people feel they should be spending more time meditating, and they are dissatisfied with the quality of their practice. This is despite the coexisting fact that these same people tell me how much benefit meditation has brought to their lives – in so many ways.
So this then will be the immediate aim of the next few meditation blogs – to prompt you to reflect a little, to help you to establish realistic expectations and to gain genuine satisfaction from your knowledge and practise of meditation
Everything we do starts with our motivation. Why then do we want to meditate? Maybe you began to meditate, or currently are considering doing so due to some burning issue. A health crisis, personal trauma, a feeling of being out of balance, stress, anxiety; maybe a realisation there is more to life, an urge to get to know yourself, to experience the truth of who you really are.
The reality is that meditation offers benefits to all aspects of life. The practice of meditation has 7000 years of written history to draw upon. Over 4000 research studies have been published in scientific journals all around the world attesting to the wide ranging physical and psychological benefits. Meditation brings out the best in us. As a consequence we can be at our best for others and be most useful in our lives.
The key point here is to remember your motivation. Maybe you did begin to meditate with a passion burning to address a particular issue. As time goes on, without reminders, without stimulus, passion can wain. Other things come to take precedence. You can slip into “I don’t have time now, I will meditate tomorrow”.
The antidote is to develop the habit of reminding yourself of your motivation each time you begin your meditation. In the spiritual traditions this was often done using prayer, but it can be done just as effectively with a secular affirmation.
This requires taking a little time to develop a short, positive statement that encapsulates why you are motivated to meditate. Write it out. Learn it. Make the commitment to yourself to say it each time before you meditate. And when you do say it, aim to say it freshly, with meaning; each time reconsidering it and remembering its meaning.
Many people I know have transformed their meditation through this process. Give it a go. Then maybe you would like to give some feedback. What works for you? Have you a prayer, an affirmation you want to share? And what other meditation questions do you have?
In the next meditation blog, I will address the old and the new – some amazing facts about meditations ancient history and some of the mind blowing new research that has been published recently.
- Free access to research on meditation is available via biblio.noetic.org
- Sogyal Rinpoche’s book is: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
- My most recent book on meditation: Ian Gawler and Paul Bedson: Meditation - An In-Depth Guide
- DVD to learn meditation: Meditation Live by Ian Gawler
- CD for learning and practice: Meditation - A Complete Guide by Ian Gawler
- Meditation Courses and Retreats (and leaders who may be in your area and who have been trained by Ian and Paul) : The Gawler Foundation: www.gawler.org