When I was eight years old, my Dad invited me to meditate with him. “Close your eyes”, he said. “What do you see?” I didn’t see anything, just a black abyss. I didn’t understand what I was trying to achieve and why anyone would want to spend their time on this task.
My indifference to meditation continued up until this year. Recently, two of my work colleagues passed away unexpectedly and my co-worker suggested using meditation as a way to maintain good mental health.
I tried it, and I finally got it. Meditation is amazing.
For the unconverted, meditation brings to mind monks or hippies sitting motionless for hours chanting and connecting with the universe.
My experience of meditation was different. On my lunchbreak at work I sat on a chair in the sun, started up the App Stop, Breathe & Think on my phone, put my earphones in and took 5 minutes to assess the state of my body.
The five minutes where my mind wasn’t racing from the daily work grind felt like 30 minutes of mental relaxation. When it finished, I was noticeably less uptight in body and attitude.
Now that I’ve been meditating for about a month, I look forward to those times when I am able to completely detach from the outside world and focus within.
It even helped when I was frustrated with my boyfriend! We had arranged to meet at the swimming pool after work. He was meant to bring the towels and forgot. I got annoyed. After a terse conversation, I suggested we do a guided meditation together, one called ‘Gratefulness’. Ten minutes later, we were both in a much better mindframe after being guided to focus on the multitude of things we were grateful for in everyday life.
I’m not alone in espousing the benefits of meditation. A recent scientific study compared the brain activity of participants in relaxation and meditation groups. Those who undertook meditation had heightened levels of activity in the part of their brains that process stress-related reactions and other areas related to focus and calm.
What are your experiences with meditation? If you have never tried, I challenge you to take 5 minutes this week to give it a shot and post your experience here!