I posted this back in November on Election Day, eight months later I think it’s time to spread the gospel of meditation again with a repost and the addition of a new link to Organic Daily Post for a comprehensive list of benefits and resources to get you started.
Just like this election cycle there are many things that are out of our control. Life is full of challenges, change, highs and lows. What I’ve learned over the years is to accept the good and the bad and not rely on outside circumstances for your well-being but cultivate inner strength and happiness that can withstand the inevitable storms we all face from time to time.
Up until my forties I considered myself an extremely lucky person. I loved my career in fashion, family and friends, enjoyed excellent health and was happily married with two beautiful healthy daughters. I had not suffered any devastating tragedies. Then one November morning ten years ago my brother called with the news that our mother was killed the night before in a car accident. In that instant everything changed. I managed to get through my days robotically doing what was required of me. A year later I finally sought therapy and realized I had been clinically depressed. Time does eventually begin to heal but then came the second wave. A beloved sister in law had been diagnosed with breast cancer and after a brave battle for five years she succumbed to the disease. She was the kindest person I knew. At the same time my marriage was falling apart and would eventually end in divorce. Something I never thought would happen to me.
Throughout it all I continued to exercise, running, swimming and practicing yoga. I knew I had to keep exercising for my mental health as much as for my physical health. About four years ago during the worst of the separation and finally divorce proceedings I began to add a short meditation to the end of my yoga practice each morning. The meditation, to put it bluntly, was a game changer. Just ten minutes every morning helped me to clear my mind and set an intention for the day. To this day I meditate every morning, grateful for the day ahead of me and ready to take on the challenges. Most importantly though I believe when bad things do happen, with a regular meditation practice you’re better able to cope and tap into your reserves of inner strength. I’m fully committed to my meditation practice and can’t imagine I’ll ever stop.
Meditation is very simple. Just find a quiet place to sit or lie down, though I prefer to sit. Sit up straight supporting your back with pillows if you wish, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Try to quiet your mind. When thoughts do come up try to release them. Put very simply that’s it. I set the timer on my phone for ten minutes. I’ve taken a few classes but mainly I learned through reading. I’m just now beginning to learn about the scientifically proven health benefits and the physical changes that happen to the brain when meditation is practiced regularly. Below are links I found interesting and I hope you will too. If you don’t already I urge you to try it, for me it has been a gift.
Organic Daily Post: The Benefits of Meditation
A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation
Meditation For Beginners: 20 Practical Tips For Understanding the Mind
The Washington Post: Harvard Neuroscientist on Meditation and Stress
The New York Times: How to Meditate
6 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Mindfulness and Meditation