World Meditation Day is celebrated annually on May 21st to remind us that meditation is accessible to everyone, and everyone can benefit from its healing impact. Meditation refers to focusing the mind and body to boost emotional well-being. There are a variety of ways to meditate, but the essential goal of meditation is to integrate the mind and body into a focused state. Meditation has been scientifically studied and has shown to reduce stress, anxiety, pain and ease withdrawal symptoms from nicotine, alcohol or opioids.
I define meditation as an oasis from the busy-ness of life…an opportunity to connect with your soul. It allows room to replace negative thoughts with positive. It provides space to hear intuitive thought and increase self-awareness which lead to being more grounded and self-confident. I function better in the world when I give myself the space to touch base internally and ease disruptive thoughts.
All that said, I want to dispel the beliefs that meditation is something that must be learned, and a particular methodology applied, that the mind must be completely still and without thought, that a higher state of being or awareness must be achieved, that a particular amount of time must pass for it to be of benefit. My experience has shown me that none of this is necessary for meditation to be effective.
I began my practice 10 years ago. I had always wanted to meditate, and had dabbled, but had never committed to it, because I held the beliefs mentioned above. The biggest roadblock initially was believing I couldn’t sit long enough for the meditation to be helpful, and how long is long enough? I started small. I set a timer for three minutes. By setting the timer, I didn’t think about how much time had passed. Initially, I had zero faith that meditation was going to help, but as I continued each day for three minutes, my mind grew a little quieter and I began to feel less agitated from daily stressors. As the time passed, I would incrementally increase the time and I began to enjoy the daily practice. Ten years later, I continue to meditate almost daily and feel that my life has been transformed.
A benefit I wasn’t anticipating emerged as I continued to meditate. Meditation connects us all energetically. The helplessness of watching the world community struggle is lessened when I sit down and meditate on the concern of the day. It eases my own stress because I feel that by simply meditating and focusing, in my small way, I am participating in the healing of the people by honoring them in silence. Like so many of us, I feel very deeply, and it can be overwhelming at times. Having meditation as a tool to ease the intensity of feeling has been a sanctuary when the heaviness is too great.
Meditation provides the opening to learn more about ourselves. To discover our uniqueness and discover what makes us tick. It manifests compassion for ourselves and those around us. It frees us from the pressure that living life on life’s terms sometimes requires. It helps us discover our own life template that leads to our own personal happiness.
On May 21st, simply sit and connect to your breath…you are meditating…
“Discover your deep inner-self and from that place spread love in every direction.”
― Amit Ray, Meditation: Insights and Inspirations