Imagine all of the things you think about throughout the day. In the course of your waking hours, process, for a second, how many different thoughts must go through your head. Now consider, our technologically-dependent society where we’re constantly stimulated from morning until night— digital devices, many times nearby even while asleep — we’re always devoting our energies outward, particularly in helping make our decisions in our day-to-day tasks and endeavors. With so much time spent looking outside for inspiration, it’s quite easy to forget that we can, and should, look inwards— isn’t it?
According to Pema Chodron, the most popular American-born Buddhist teacher, in an article for Shambhala Sun, Reasons to Meditate, here are five reasons in favor of meditation; but first, like anything of great value, unleashing the potential of these principals requires much patience and practice. Most importantly, being kind to yourself, whether you’re starting a routine for the first time or picking one up after a time away from practicing regularly.
Wherever you fall, it’s paramount to remember that each time we choose to sit and reflect quietly, even for just a few moments, it is a brand new, singular experience— the willingness to take this precious time is a testament to your desire to create or restore order in your life.
Chodron explains, “If we can train ourselves through meditation to be more open and more accepting toward the wild arc of our experience, if we can lean into the difficulties of life and the ride of our minds, we can become more settled and relaxed amid whatever life brings us.”
Not only does meditation help establish a sense of order for the continual chaos of daily life, Chodron says it also “gives us the opportunity to have an open, compassionate attentiveness to whatever is going on. The meditative space is like the big sky—spacious, vast enough to accommodate anything that arises.”
With that perspective in mind, Chodron moves on to her list:
1. Steadfastness: “If we can train ourselves through meditation to be more open and more accepting toward the wild arc of our experience, if we can lean into the difficulties of life and the ride of our minds, we can become more settled and relaxed amid whatever life brings us.”
2. Clear Seeing:“Meditation helps us clearly see ourselves and the habitual patterns that limit our life. You begin to see your opinions clearly. You see your judgments. You see your defense mechanisms. Meditation deepens your understanding of yourself.”
3. Courage: “Meditation is a transformative process, rather than a magic makeover in which we doggedly aim to change something about ourselves. The more we practice, the more we open and the more we develop courage in our life.”
4. Attention: “When you practice meditation, getting your cover blown is just as embarrassing as it ever was, but you’re glad to see where you’re still stuck because you would like to die with no more big surprises.”
5. No Big Deal: “Meditation helps us cultivate this feeling of no big deal, not as a cynical statement, but as a statement of humor and flexibility. You’ve seen it all, and seeing it all allows you to love it all.”
With these five mindful meditations to focus on, now is your chance to try again, or for the very first time— allow yourself the opportunity to reflect on all aspects of your life, frustrations and joys alike. ‘
When you seek what you most desire from within your own self; you will soon start to discover nuances and patterns in many of the decisions you make; opening brand new doors to happiness and peace in everyday life.