There are many different kinds of legitimate articles and such that explain all the benefits of meditation. I’ve read so many and they all sound great and have been proven by science. However, the one thing I feel many of them lack is the ability to express the benefits in a way to where the reader can truly understand.
People will only pay close attention and be motivated by something they resonate and connect with. You can throw out a lot of information about the benefits of whatever along with some statistics, but no one will actually pay attention or be motivated unless you explain something to where they can truly connect and understand in a “aha” kind of way.
So with meditation, I feel that the one benefit everyone can relate with is the ability to take a step back as an observer.
What do I mean?
Let’s say you receive a phone call from a really good friend of yours. The moment you answer the phone, they are sobbing and going hysterical because they were just dumped. You aren’t sobbing and freaking out over them getting dumped, you just want to know what happened, find ways to console them and try to give some advice. This means you are actually in the position of being the observer of their situation. You are more clear headed than them, which allows you to see the solutions they may not be able to see because they are currently spending all of their energy wallowing in their own confusion of emotions.
Now instead of your friend, it is you that got dumped.
Instead of calling up a friend, you seek help from yourself. When you meditate consistently, you naturally have the ability to take a step back in the same way you did with your friend. You don’t have to try to take a step back, it becomes a natural habit in the same way you blink the moment something tries to invade your eyeball. You don’t start sobbing and freak out, you immediately become your own observer before you can acknowledge it. And when you become your own observer, you become aware of the solutions that are available to you so you don’t react like an asshole, and regret what you did later.
I have been meditating consistently for the last 11 days ranging from 2 minutes at a time to an hour. Surprisingly, I have noticed the difference in my response to my recent experience last night.
I was trying to look for an Air BnB room for the night but couldn’t find any available in the area I’m in. So I looked up hotels and though they weren’t cheap at all I really wanted to shower and sleep in a bed because I drove a lot and needed the rest. So instead of getting all worked up over not finding an Air BnB room or decent priced hotel, I just paid for a hotel room and that was that.
So I get my room and once I opened the door, I saw that the room did not have sheets and a blanket on the bed, as if housekeeping forgot to clean it. I go back to the lobby and get another room. It’s smaller but it is clean. However, I find out later that the shower doesn’t work and I can only take a bath. Then I get an email indicating that my credit card declined an automatic payment from my gym because I had forgotten to put more money on my credit card after reactivating my Hulu account. Doh!
Of course, at this point I would’ve been livid because I just drove all day, and was super tired and hungry but instead my brain function in a calm way and I just went with it. I didn’t go back to the lobby to complain, I just took a bath, paid my credit card, ate some food, chilled out and meditated before I went to sleep. This was awesome because I didn’t waste a lot of my energy getting livid and complaining about things that are out of my control. I was able to control the one thing I do have control of, which is the way I respond. And damn my response was on par and it felt really fucking good!
Even though I had only spent 11 days consistently meditating, the habit came back easily because I had started picking up the habit before. It’s almost like swimming, once you learn, you can’t unlearn or have to relearn all over again. You just pick the habit back up where you left off. The habit may be a little rusty at first but will smooth out pretty easily.
Once the habit is ingrained and you keep the momentum going, your response to just about anything will naturally be efficient without you trying. Therefore, you will only see everything from an observation point of view instead of getting lost in the ocean of emotions like your friend who just got dumped.
Photo: A view of the Pacific Ocean from a vista point located in San Simeon, California