Meditation in all of its forms promote mental clarity, inner peace and enlightenment. That’s why every culture and religion encourages meditation in some form or another. There are a few different approaches to it. Generally speaking, eastern cultures practice clearing or emptying of the mind and western or christian cultures practice purposeful thinking on wholesome concepts like God, virtue or creation.
Many of my patients and friends share with me that they have difficulties meditating, which I totally understand. In a world of constant stimulation, tolerance to quietness is becoming extinct. But meditation was challenging long before TVs and smartphones. This is because humans are fixated on stories. At any given moment we are reflecting on stories from the past or writing stories in our head about the future. By doing this we become problem centered beings who express feelings of guilt, shame, anger, fear, doubt and anxiety. Present time mindfulness allows us to experience peace, joy and gratitude.
Here’s a great way to meditate if you’ve never tried it or find it challenging. Sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed and as a story pops into your head, surrender it to God (or the Universe if you prefer). That’s all you have to do. Do it for 5 minutes and work your way up to 20. As you improve you can begin to surrender smaller thoughts. You will move from stories, to paragraphs, to sentences and eventually to words.
So how will this change my life? Numerous books have been written on this topic, but Psalm 1:3 sums it up pretty well. Concerning a person who meditates, it states, “He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, a tree that produces fruit in its season, the foliage of which does not wither. And everything he does will succeed.”