25 May Meditation is a necessity not a Luxury
Meditation and mindfulness are big buzzwords these days. The benefits of feeling more calm, clear and connected would make anyone at least a little interested in trying it out. With the boom of the wellbeing industry, meditation might be considered to be a luxury… something to do ‘when you have the time’. But with our minds on overdrive, stress of the rise and no sign of things slowing down, meditation is becoming more and more of a necessity.
Let’s think about this…
Luxury – Holidaying to a tropical island and being pampered for a week. Necessity – Getting the deep rest you need each day to cultivate your capabilities and live your purpose.
Luxury – Drinking cold-pressed, hand-squeezed, bio-dynamic, triple distilled on the full moon almond milk in your latte (delicious).
Necessity – Dissolving the stress in your nervous system so your body can properly digest and absorb the nutrients in your food.
Luxury – Learning to fly a helicopter.
Necessity – Learning to tap the source of who you really are.
I consider getting deep rest, cultivating your capabilities, living your purpose, letting go of stress and knowing who you really are, to all be necessities. Now I’m not saying you can’t have both… meditation is a necessity and feels extremely luxurious at the same time. But when it comes down to prioritizing, we need the necessities first. By creating a calm, stable and connected foundation we can then really enjoy all the luxuries of life. The way in which you achieve all this is through the simple practice of meditation.
Looking after your mind.
I’ve been practicing a technique known as Vedic meditation since I was 20 and have experienced first hand its transformative power… so much so I ended up becoming a teacher. Vedic meditation is simple to learn, effortless to practice and easily integrated into daily life. This 20-minute twice a day practice has a revolutionary effect on your entire being.
Early on in my personal practice, I realised it was my mind causing the stress, anxiety and depressive states I would dip in and out of. It didn’t matter what healthy food I was eating, how often I exercised or what herbs I was taking. I still felt tired, nervous, couldn’t help but worry and as a way of coping, I loved to control. Meditation gave me a way out of the rat race of my own mind. I found something I could do by myself, every day and feel damn good afterwards. It became a daily necessity… and one I loved (kind of like eating chocolate).
So what exactly is meditation?
Depending who you talk to, you’ll probably get a different answer. For some people swimming is their meditation. Others practice eyes open chanting or activating their chakras. Someone may pray or simply let their mind wander. Each technique has its own form and outcome.
As a Vedic meditation teacher, I describe meditation as a simple and powerful practice that expands the mind and gives the body the deepest rest possible. It gives you the experience of who you really are, beyond your thinking mind. You realise there is another way of thinking, acting and being. You are exposed to the pure potentiality of your self and the joy of living in flow with your nature.
When I get asked ‘What’s the best meditation technique to learn?’ I always say ‘One you enjoy doing and will practice every single day’.
As a teacher, this is my aim. Meditation should be an enjoyable practice that you look forward to each day. It’s important to learn a technique that feels good, is easy to practice and fits into your daily life. It really helps to have an expert teacher guide you through the process, explain the nature of your mind and teach you a technique you can practice by yourself anywhere, anytime. When you learn this way, it’s much easier to make meditation a daily habit.
This style of meditation is taught face-to-face with a teacher and you receive your own personal mantra and instruction for practice. You also get a lifetime of support on your meditation journey and access to a huge community of meditators. Support and community are both key to making meditation an effortless part of your daily life. When you have like-minded people around you, can share your experiences and connect on a deeper level, it really uplifts the spirit and fosters greater connection and compassion. The desire to keep expanding and letting go becomes an enjoyable challenge!
I don’t have the time to meditate and can’t turn my mind off.
These are probably the two things I hear most that prevent people from establishing a healthy daily meditation practice. When it comes to not having time to meditate… this is where priority kicks in. There is always going to be something more urgent to do. But we need to move out of our reactionary approach to life, and move into a more prospective way of living. This means prioritizing your mind and creating the time/space needed to master your self. Meditation gives you more energy, creativity, clarity and focus. For only having to close your eyes 20 minutes twice a day, it’s a very worthwhile investment. What you’ll discover is you actually end up with extra time as you become more in flow and less resistant to life.
And if you can’t turn your mind off? Well you’ll be happy to know that in Vedic meditation, thinking thoughts is a part of the practice. You actually want to be having thoughts. We see meditation as a process rather then an outcome. There’s no striving for silence, stillness or peace. That might be one of your meditation experiences. But a more likely outcome is you sitting down, closing your eyes and then having the Niagara Falls of thoughts cascade through your mind. And we say bring it on. In Vedic meditation, thinking thoughts means you’re releasing stress. And this is exactly why we’re practicing. We want to release stress in meditation so when we open our eyes and go about our day we feel clearer, calmer and more peaceful. A necessity in this modern world!
So where do you go from here?
The best way to learn how to meditate is face-to-face with a teacher. Like any science, music or art, preparation and training are essential. There are many Vedic meditation teachers around the world and a quick Google search, or asking friends for recommendations are great ways to start. Whichever meditation technique you chose to learn, go meet your teacher and ask lots of questions! They’re going to be there to support you in your meditation journey and you’ll know if it feels right to learn with them.
If you don’t have access to a teacher, then I highly suggest downloading the 1 Giant Mind learn to meditate app that I’ve created with a wonderful team for this exact purpose. It’s a free and easy way to get started with your meditation journey and makes it as simple as pulling out your phone, putting in your headphones and following the simple instructions.
Remember… you have the power to create whatever life you desire. But it starts from the inside out. Master your mind and the rest will follow.
By Laura Poole