Most of the time, our minds are wandering. We’re thinking about the future – like what will I have for lunch today? Or something comes to mind that’s more serious than food. Thoughts related to work or family for example. We might be dwelling on the past; perhaps an experience that happened or a remark someone made. We worry, fantasize, daydream and even space out. We are somewhere in our head and not really connected to the present moment.
Meditation helps get you out of your head.
We can make ourselves miserable with our thoughts, beliefs or a desire for control in a particular situation. And for many people, the thoughts never stop because they identify as a thinker. The problem is not the thoughts themselves but rather the state of thinking without knowing that one is thinking. The awareness is missing. The inner observer is dormant. Meditation helps wake it up.
Observe your breathing. After a few breaths, invariably, your mind will wander. Meditation builds a skill in the practice of coming back from your thoughts without judgement. You come to discover that your thoughts do not define you. With practice, you begin to identify as the observer of your thoughts, the observer of your emotions. And it becomes easier to be less reactive to any of them.
It creates a more compassionate, calm and accepting approach to whatever happens in life.
You learn how to be mindful of your breathing, your senses, your thoughts and feelings and gradually, you become more mindful in your everyday life. You may even choose to treat a particular thought or feeling like a passing cloud in the sky as you would while meditating. You just let it go.
Being mindful can also bring alive an experience that might otherwise feel automatic. Like when you’re eating or talking to your family, friends or co-workers. Mindfulness helps you see the newness in every moment. It energizes what you notice. Life is actually NOT same old, same old.
Being mindful can also influence how much time you choose to spend in front of a screen; whether it’s your phone, laptop or Netflix. The distractions and over stimulation from social media, texting and online searches can feel overwhelming sometimes. It becomes harder to focus and for many, it creates an attention deficit.
Meditation helps train your attention.
There is mindfulness to consider but there is also concentration. Concentration gets you to focus your attention into one place. Concentration and mindfulness are not the same thing. Both are important and both are developed gradually by meditating. Without some concentration, mindfulness (active noticing) is difficult to sustain. Without mindfulness (active noticing), your concentration won’t bear fruit. They go together like hand in glove.
Self-care and Stability
Meditation is a self-care activity that can help stabilize and elevate your mood. It helps you to shift from busy thoughts to a deeper state of inner quietness. You connect to a neutral place of observation within yourself. It can feel like a battery charge to a power source that is calm and stable.
It takes practice but over time, your meditation skills deepen. You learn how to better recognize the subtle impulses from within. And your intuition, sensitivity, creativity and vitality become easier to access – which is pretty cool.
The transformative power of meditation is not just reserved for experienced meditators. A simple feeling of calm, connection and gratitude for life is possible every time you meditate. Why miss out on the full potential of your inner life – try meditating!