Modern life races on at seemingly lightning speed. Its hectic pace leaves many of us feeling stressed out, over-worked and with little or no time for the things we enjoy. Stress, over-stimulation and tiredness leave us feeling frustrated, irritable and just plain miserable. Sooner or later, you might well find yourself heading off the rails.
Increase your lifespan
In his latest book, The Science Of Enlightenment, meditation guru Shinzen Young claims that if you find time to meditate for even a few minutes a day, you can significantly increase your lifespan. Even if such a claim is a wild exaggeration, the benefits of meditation are legion, and have been proved over centuries.
Some of the key benefits of learning to meditate include:
- Improved emotional well-being: less worry, anxiety, stress, fear and depression. Enhanced self-esteem, resilience, optimism and relaxation. Improved overall mood
- Healthier mind: increased mental fortitude, improved focus, memory and recall. Better decision making, creative thinking, problem solving and information processing
- Healthier body: improved immune system, breathing, heart rate and overall energy levels. Reduced blood pressure, inflammation, heart & brain problems, breathing issues
Learn to meditate for true happiness
The broad purpose of meditation is to help our mind achieve a calm and peaceful state. If our mind is at peace, we will be free from worry and so we will experience true happiness; but if our mind is not peaceful, it will be very difficult to be happy. In learning to meditate, our mind will gradually become more and more peaceful and we will experience an increasingly pure form of happiness.
According to Buddhist teachings, if we learn meditation systematically, we will learn to eradicate from our mind the delusions which cause of all our problems. We will come to experience a permanent inner peace, known as “liberation” or “nirvana”.
Learning meditation is straightforward and benefits can be experienced quickly. Setting aside time for ‘formal’ meditation is important in establishing a routine and getting comfortable with the practice.
Although meditating on your own is an essential part of a complete practice, it’s important to consider that the steady guidance of an experienced teacher can be invaluable, especially as you’re getting started. Our minds wander easily, so the clear instructions of a teacher can help bring us back to the present moment.
More positive ways of being
Some excellent and in-depth ‘How To’ guides to meditation can be found on the NY Times website and on the Fitness Goat website as well, with excellent advice on simple techniques, times and places to meditate, the challenges you might encounter and how to go deeper by joining a class and using meditation apps as part of your routine.
On a more fundamental note, take a moment to consider your breathing technique – this is all-too-easily overlooked but is an important first step in managing how you are feeling. Groom & Style offer some excellent advice on the science and methhods you can employ.
Whichever method you choose to follow, by engaging with a particular meditation practice you will learn the patterns and habits of your mind and you will find ways to cultivate new, more positive ways of being.
With regular work, such nourishing, focused states of mind will expand into a profoundly peaceful and energised state of being, and these transformative effects can lead to a new understanding and appreciation of life.
It might just slow down the crazy train.