When I first begin my journey meditating it was a very private matter. No one that I was hanging out with was meditated, and I was paranoid about what my friends would think, imagining they might regard me as a nutcase. However, any potential embarrassment paled into insignificance compared to my outrageously overactive mind that refused to become stilled. I was always extremely stressed at work, and my mind was continuously on overdrive, always in a state of anxiety and worrying about all the smallest things that may or may not really happen. It was always holding on to the stories of the past, replaying them over and over to justify the way I was feeling in that moment. Sometimes it would wake me up in the middle of the night with my bed full of sweat. The whole experience was totally exhausted, I felt very lonely.
Hanging at the pubs guzzling booze with my friends on the weekends was my only escape from the life, I was leading and my mind would never rest. Until, of course, I finally burned out. Since then a very simple, sustainable meditation practice had honestly changed my entire life and I truly believe my friends, anyone can benefit from meditation. I don’t see meditation as the answer or a big fix, but instead a much-needed vehicle to slow down and check in with myself. In this space I know and do understand myself much better and can make choices that are more aligned to what actually serves me the best. It has ultimately led me to creating a real life then I love.
To begin with, it will be helpful to break down meditation and view it afresh, let us begin.
There are many theories, approaches, and philosophies when it comes to meditation. In the beginning, these can seem overwhelming and confusing. If you have already been involved with meditation and found it to be difficult, it is important to know that this is to be expected, and is completely normal. Us humans are complex creatures but rather then give up before you have begun, instead let explore different ways of meditation as a way to truly know yourself a little better. What works for one person may not work at all for another. You can try movement meditations such as t’ai chi, yoga, or breathing techniques (pranayama) or explore different guided meditations in a class or online. They are all equally valid and very effective.
We all live busy, with complicated lives that involve attending to all the myriad tasks, looking after our family members, and solving problems. So my friends when you sit down to meditate, especially for that first time, do not be at all surprised when your mind almost immediately wanders. The art of meditation is noticing when your mind had taken a new direction and bringing it back to your focus.
See your practice of meditation as time and space being just for you. In the moments of quiet, you are completely free of life’s challenges and complications. You can let go of your responsibilities and the roles that you identify yourself. You more then likely have meditated naturally in your everyday life at times, but might not realize you were doing it. Unless you are following or involved in a structured path or approach to meditation, I believe with all of my heart you cannot ever do it wrong. You have to start somewhere if it is only a few seconds of quiet, a feeling of some deep relaxation, being free of distractions, or having a calming of your thought, you are meditating.
Western science now proves what Eastern philosophies have taught throughout the centuries-taking some time each and every day to simply sit quietly and breathe, listening to your heart and your surroundings, and quieten your mind has enormous physiological and, o yes, psychological benefits and will lead to a heightened sense of will-being. In our fast-paced society being able to take the time to be still is more important then ever. We remember to take care of our bodies, even our homes and our cars and also our pets but quite often we forget to look after our minds. The long-term benefits of meditation will not happen overnight, we must be patient, doctors, scientists and any long-term mediator will always tell you the practice is worth it.
You do not need to believe a certain thing or dress in any certain way, or have a certain outlook on life for you to benefit from meditation. Whether you are a C.E.O. of a large successful corporation trying to manage the pressures of running the company or a busy parent seeking to handle all of the family challenges, meditation is for you. Similarly, it really does not matter if you are simply looking for a way to balance your emotions or even if you are a spiritual person hoping to deepen your connection to the great spirit, everyone is very welcome. Always see meditation as your, your mind, your meditation. Whether it is being more mindful in your everyday life, carving out a few much-needed minutes each and every day to simply breathe, and be still with more awareness, or a more formal practice, it is for you.
The practice of yoga, which unites body and mind could pave the way for you to have a healthier, happier life. My dear friends, my practice of yoga has given me the beautiful perspective to realize that when I am feeling defeated or sad, this feeling will not be forever and I will grow and learn from the experience. I am happy to say to you, I now see the world in a new fascinating, beautiful way, which has open the doors to personnel clarity, understanding, tranquility and peace.
May your life be always filled with love and happiness. Humbly your Paul Earl.