I remember the first time I heard the suggestion, “Why don’t you meditate?” I made several excuses to not meditate. My protests heard only by myself.
I was raised in a Catholic home where attending mass every Sunday meant we were “good Catholics.” My house, I’m guessing was a little different from the homes of friends in that we were strongly encouraged to behave because you “didn’t want to go to Hell.” I didn’t but I also didn’t want to walk around with all of the guilt which I felt. Guilt which I could not explain.
I began to look into other spiritual paths but this needed to be done in a covert fashion because my father wouldn’t understand and my mother wouldn’t approve. Quite frankly I didn’t want to have to explain myself, so I went underground. As you can imagine, this did nothing for my anxiety other than to increase the symptoms.
I covertly tried meditation and found this tool to be the number one weapon in my arsenal. The positive effects of a dedicated meditation practice have helped me transform my relationship to stress and fear and has so deeply impacted me that it has become one of the cornerstones of my therapy practice. It has become an integral part of my winning formula for helping my clients overcome a host of issues to create the lives they want and ultimately love. I was so covert in my meditation practice that I shunned a meditation teacher. In Buffalo that’s actually not a difficult thing to do as it was difficult to find such a teacher when I did look. Faced with the thought that my meditation practice would not grow I practiced by myself. I read voraciously. I watched videos and I spoke with others online. As my meditation practice grew, so did my love for the way I felt when I made the commitment to meditate.
When I talk about my meditation practice I am met with a host of reactions, mostly negative but some curious. The biggest complaint I hear is “I can’t sit still.” I also hear “I tried to meditate but it’s just too hard.” My personal favorite is “I just don’t have the time.” There are also a host of meditation types from walking meditation to guided meditation to sitting meditation. The latter is what most of us are familiar with. The vision of a male with a shaved head wearing flowing white robes and chanting “Om” scares most of us away.
Many people claim they have “no time” to meditate. With the onset of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, I have been amazed at the amount of time spent by individuals updating their every movement. I spoke with a friend recently who stated, “If you were guaranteed $5 million in cash at the end of successfully meditating twice a day for 21 days, could you find the time?” No one has ever said, “Nope, I’ll pass on the five mil. THAT’S how busy I am!” It is a commitment to make the time to meditate much as it is a commitment to make time for other things in your life.
There are many proven benefits to meditating:
- It can help lower heart rate and blood pressure
- It can help boost immune functioning
- It can help improve airflow to our lungs
- It can help decrease/slow the aging process
- It can help improve creativity, learning ability and memory, emotional stability, mental clarity and happiness
- It can help decrease anxiety and depression
- It can be done anywhere, anytime and at no cost
Now, go meditate!