Many people will say that meditation is difficult or even impossible but it actually quite easy if you let go of the idea of achievement. Meditation is just observing without aim or goal. If the whole population of our planet can lethargically sit in front of a tv screen for 2 to 6 hours out of every 24 you can also sit with your eyes closed and just watch what’s on the screen of your mind without interfering. If you make that into a daily practice you will start to understand your mind more and more. Meditation is nothing more than the practice of observing and experiencing. You create some time to do nothing and during that period you let whatever wants to happen happen, without preferences. Boredom, fatigue, thoughts, fears, itches, anger, self-critique, bliss, stillness, peace: it’s all good.
So we have this super simple and elegant tool at our disposition. Everybody can take some time to meditate every day and it is completely free (!). The list of benefits is longer than me (and for your entertainment I will post 100 benefits of meditation at the end of this post). What is perhaps more fascinating than meditation is that we have a superb practice that we structurally avoid or resist. Why do we prefer watching tv mindlessly over practicing our mindfulness? How come we keep ourselves in a sedated state and are the ones who try to escape that state in the minority?
I don’t know if you ever read reports of the meditative experiences of very advanced Buddhist monks or from enlightened masters of other traditions. But what they claim to have experienced is nothing but mind blowing. And they all describe very similar states. Just like with a computer game there are levels that few have seen but the ones that were there saw the same thing.
The only difference between them and most of us is that they have decided to overcome the barriers that the mind raises. We live in a strange paradox. We have a potential of endless depth and at the same time parts of us want to remain unseen. It are these parts that try to hinder our endeavors to explore our inner being. And it are these parts that we want to see, acknowledge and dismantle. This way we bring subconscious patterns into awareness, we bring stuff from the shadow into the light.
When we are new at meditation there is a lot of stuff going on in our minds that wants to distract us. If you close your eyes it is like you if go into a kitchen to find a huge amount of dirty dishes, so overwhelming that you want to flee the kitchen. Just looking at the enormous piles of pots, pans and plates is disheartening. But if you take a deep breath and start cleaning, slowly slowly the kitchen will become cleaner and more organized. You will create space and eventually your relationship with the dishes will change. Because you give special attention to every dirty pan or plate you can see it change it’s appearance and by putting it back in it’s appropriate place you restore a sense of harmony. You feel uplifted. Intuitively you know that what you are doing is good and meaningful.
It is not a coincidence that doing the dishes is considered a way of practicing mindfulness in monasteries.
As promised, 100 benefits of meditation:
1- It lowers oxygen consumption.
2- It decreases respiratory rate.
3- It increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.
4- Increases exercise tolerance.
5- Leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation.
6- Good for people with high blood pressure.
7- Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
8- Decreases muscle tension
9- Helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis etc.
10- Reduces Pre-menstrual Syndrome symptoms.
11- Helps in post-operative healing.
12- Enhances the immune system.
13- Reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress
14- Enhances energy, strength and vigour.
15- Helps with weight loss
16- Reduction of free radicals, less tissue damage
17- Higher skin resistance
18- Drop in cholesterol levels, lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
19- Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing.
20- Decreases the aging process.
21- Higher levels of DHEAS (Dehydroepiandrosterone)
22- prevented, slowed or controlled pain of chronic diseases
23- Makes you sweat less
24- Cure headaches & migraines
25- Greater Orderliness of Brain Functioning
26- Reduced Need for Medical Care
27- Less energy wasted
28- More inclined to sports, activities
29- Significant relief from asthma
30- improved performance in athletic events
31- Normalizes to your ideal weight
32- harmonizes our endocrine system
33- relaxes our nervous system
34- produce lasting beneficial changes in brain electrical activity
35- Cure infertility (the stresses of infertility can interfere with the release of hormones that regulate ovulation).
36- Builds self-confidence.
37- Increases serotonin level, influences mood and behaviour.
38- Resolve phobias & fears
39- Helps control own thoughts
40- Helps with focus & concentration
41- Increase creativity
42- Increased brain wave coherence.
43- Improved learning ability and memory.
44- Increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation.
45- Increased emotional stability.
46- improved relationships
47- Mind ages at slower rate
48- Easier to remove bad habits
49- Develops intuition
50- Increased Productivity
51- Improved relations at home & at work
52- Able to see the larger picture in a given situation
53- Helps ignore petty issues
54- Increased ability to solve complex problems
55- Purifies your character
56- Develop will power
57- greater communication between the two brain hemispheres
58- react more quickly and more effectively to a stressful event.
59- increases one’s perceptual ability and motor performance
60- higher intelligence growth rate
61- Increased job satisfaction
62- increase in the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones
63- decrease in potential mental illness
64- Better, more sociable behaviour
65- Less aggressiveness
66- Helps in quitting smoking, alcohol addiction
67- Reduces need and dependency on drugs, pills & pharmaceuticals
68- Need less sleep to recover from sleep deprivation
69- Require less time to fall asleep, helps cure insomnia
70- Increases sense of responsibility
71- Reduces road rage
72- Decrease in restless thinking
73- Decreased tendency to worry
74- Increases listening skills and empathy
75- Helps make more accurate judgements
76- Greater tolerance
77- Gives composure to act in considered & constructive ways
78- Grows a stable, more balanced personality
79- Develops emotional maturity
80- Helps keep things in perspective
81- Provides peace of mind, happiness
82- Helps you discover your purpose
83- Increased self-actualization.
84- Increased compassion
85- Growing wisdom
86- Deeper understanding of yourself and others
87- Brings body, mind, spirit in harmony
88- Deeper Level of spiritual relaxation
89- Increased acceptance of oneself
90- helps learn forgiveness
91- Changes attitude toward life
92- Creates a deeper relationship with your God
93- Attain enlightenment
94- greater inner-directedness
95- Helps living in the present moment
96- Creates a widening, deepening capacity for love
97- Discovery of the power and consciousness beyond the ego
98- Experience an inner sense of “Assurance or Knowingness”
99- Experience a sense of “Oneness”
100- Increases the synchronicity in your life
This is episode 14 in a series of 100 blog posts that will be published daily during the 100 Day Warrior, a unique program around physical strength, inner wisdom and meaning. All posts are written by Atalwin Pilon, founder of Basic Goodness and creator of the 100 Day Warrior. For requests for motivational speaking, in-company workshops, online coaching and mindfulness training click here. If you would like to join our international community of brave and inspiring human beings or just follow this blog and receive updates, please click here of sign up on the right side of the page. Atalwin specializes in coaching smart and creative people, both groups and individuals. If you are interested in a free coaching session click here.