The Benefits Of Meditation And How To Incorporate It Into Your Routine
“In getting you where you want to be, meditation may show you what you don’t want to see” – Jay Shetty.
Honestly, meditation is HARD. I hated it. I always imagined it as being seated in an upright position with my eyes closed, reciting, “Ohmmm”. But reading Jay Shetty’s book called “Think Like A Monk” changed my perception. It was a real eye-opener. Meditation is actually about being aware of our thoughts and being mindful. It opens up every moment of our life that still haunts us, those we would rather let pass by. Meditation gives us permission to have open communication with ourselves as we dig deeper.
Here’s how it can help us:
1. Meditation helps you to be more self-aware.
I have always been labelled as confused. I didn’t know what I really wanted in life, or what made me truly happy. So I tried out journaling my feelings and thoughts and came across question meditation (a kindinterrogating oneself). An article by Vantage Point Recovery pointed out that developing self-awareness helps us understand why negative emotions take place and increases control over managing when our thoughts.
For instance, I know happiness for me meant my family. But, what else also brings me happiness? I wanted to do something that brings me joy. After my 9-5 job, I ask myself, “How do I feel?” Most of the time, I feel physically and mentally drained. However, after dancing my weekly dance workout, I feel pumped. After writing, I feel light. The satisfaction I feel after writing a poem or article and by receiving good feedback makes me feel complete. Therefore, I learned that I needed to allocate time for my dance workout and writing so that I can balance up these good vibes.
You see, we never really put time into better understanding our feelings and reactions. If we had been doing that from the very beginning, I think we would do things with much more purpose.
2. Meditations teaches you to control your emotions well.
I’ve been through my fair share of days when I feel depressed and can’t get myself out of bed. I also tend to utter negative things to myself too. Then, I realize that I make myself feel that way. Would I make others feel such of themselves? Absolutely not. It’s harsh. That’s how little we think of ourselves. So, how can you handle it differently?
First, acknowledge what you’re going through. Then, try using the question meditation method to get to the root of this issue. Ask yourself: “Why? What is making you feel this way? Is there a reason I believe this thought?” Let your thoughts and responses flow through you. You might have been holding to them for a long time.
Maybe you feel sad because you recently went through a breakup. Are you in control of how others treat you or feel for you? We never are, and so we should focus on what can be done instead. Recite to yourself that sometimes, people are temporary. They are meant to pass us by. “It was because the other person had different plans and priorities. There is nothing wrong with me. It is not because I am ugly or a loser.”
Try looking at the positive side of how we can discover new connections and use the time for ourselves. Through practising mediation, you’ll know exactly what you can control and how to let go of things. You know when to let go of negative thoughts and be more aware of identifying them. If you struggle with negative thoughts, try Jay Shetty’s Spot, Stop, and Swap method.
3. Meditation trains your patience.
I was very impatient and used to always demand results at once, not knowing everything takes time. I struggled to sit still and find thoughts that trouble me and to dig deeper, to bring my mind back to focus rather than just calling it a day for today. Making your mind calmer even though your surroundings are chaotic requires a huge amount of focus. Your level of patience will certainly increase if you do this constantly.
Our tiny little mind actually thinks between 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts in a day. That is about 41 to 55 thoughts a minute. WOW! Now we truly see the need of taking charge of our mind. The racing thoughts in our minds can’t be resolved just like that. Instead, we need to guide them and filter out unnecessary thoughts. If we can control our mind, we will have the greatest skill of self-control, the ability to focus on things we want despite the distractions.
4. Meditation builds forgiveness.
When we are hurt badly, it seems nearly impossible to forgive the other person. However, it’s also vital to forgive ourselves first in order to free us from the anger that we may have buried deep within us. With anger comes the act of revenge.
If you struggle with letting go, take the first step to forgive them for hurting you. It gives you peace of mind. If we make forgiving part of our life, our relationships with everyone will start to grow and prosper.
Jay Shetty proposed a method on how to untangle this matter. First, list down things that you think the other person did was wrong and what hurt you. Then, begin with “I forgive you for…”. Next, list down things that you think you have done wrong and write, “I forgive myself for…”.
After I wrote it, I had to visualize myself in that person’s shoes. After all, we are all human beings. Of course, we hurt. We hold on to the pain. But by forgiving, we can allow the pain to slowly ebb away.
Here’s a step by step guide on how you can start meditating today:
- Start off in a seated position. Draw your focus towards your breath. Notice how your body and chest feels when you inhale and exhale.
- Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and exhale for the same amount of time. Try to regulate the pace of your breath. (Repeat this step 10 times). Feel how your stomach expand when you inhale deeply, Imagine that you are inhaling positive energy and exhaling negative energy.
- Try to deal with any thoughts that have been bothering you. When it surfaces, dig a little deeper (with the question meditation method). Repeat the breathwork if you do not feel calm and at peace.
If you’re interested, try reading Jay Shetty’s “Think Like A Monk”. He has a practice column and step-by-step guide on how to dig deeper into yourself. You can also try watching the Netflix series called Headspace Guide to Meditation!