It came up again, over dinner.
My friend, who is always looking to improve her physical health asked me if she “really had to meditate?”
“Yep,” I said. After years of her telling me what to eat – fish oil, fish oil, fish oil – and how to strengthen my core – planks, planks, planks (she’s a nutrition coach and trainer) — I felt like bossing her around a little. But I also believe in the practice. I think meditation can help us all to feel better and healthier.
Not because you’ll become some blissful and enlightened soul – though some say that can happen. And, not because meditation will take away the challenge or ache of life. But, because when you meditate you will move through the day a little easier.
When those freak out moments come, you won’t, well, freak out. Or at least not all the time. You’ll have a practice in place to help you concentrate and focus better. To ease stress. To live with compassion.
Mostly, for me, meditation takes me out of the drama that can upend my life. It helps be become more present and aware, to marvel over the amazing, to settle down. It slows me down long enough to remind me of who I am and how I want to show up.
All this is just leaves me feeling more grounded. Just leaves me feeling better. Meditation is like a mental massage in the middle of our stressed-out busy lives. When I’m done meditating I’m more relaxed, flexible, compassionate.
In our culture we talk so often about what we put in our bodies, and how to exercise properly to strengthen our physique and tone our bodies. But it is just as important to be aware of what we are putting in our heads and of what we hold in our hearts.
What we think about, the thoughts we hold, and how we manage those mental flares is just as integral to our well-being as exercise.
And truth be told, if I get to choose between 30 minutes on the elliptical or 20 minutes sitting still, alone in meditation. I’m picking that one. Though the right answer is probably to do a little of both.
Despite the stacks of research now that says all this meditation business is a good thing, it makes many of us nervous. Really nervous. I mean what will come up if I’m sitting alone and quiet? And, who has the time for this stuff, anyhow? How can I possibly do this stuff, I’m not a guru and I’m waaayy too stiff to sit cross-legged anymore?
Good thing is, you don’t have to sit cross-legged to meditate. And, you’re in luck, you don’t even have to be a guru.
In Wednesday’s post, I’ll offer some tips for starting your own practice and overcoming the blocks that may keep you from it.