Is There Anything That Meditation Can't Do?
"Someone once asked the Buddha skeptically, "What have you gained from meditation?
The Buddha replied, "nothing at all."
" Then, Blessed One, what good is it?"
The Buddha answered, "Let me tell you what I have lost through meditation:
sickness, anger, depression, insecurity, the anxiety of old age and the fear of death.
That is the good of meditation, which leads to Nirvana; the end of suffering."
This past Wednesday evening, at our weekly Tao Tribe meditation, I invited everyone to undertake a 21 day meditation sadhana (spiritual practice). Since the New Year is a time when many people are setting intentions and making commitments to do certain things (like get into shape or lose weight), it seemed like a perfect time to suggest that we do something that has the ability to cultivate inner-peace and transform our lives in profound ways. With so many challenges happening in the world around, and within us right now; and feelings of fear, worry and uncertainty at an all-time high; many people are seeking out meditation as a way of finding some sort of stability and tranquility in their lives. And so, it felt like the perfect time to suggest that we commit ourselves to a practice that can actually give us what we most long for in the deepest sanctuary of our Being.
If you doubt this, then just doing a little research on the actual benefits that have been documented in those who meditate regularly will quickly open your eyes to the truth of how powerful it actually is. These benefits have been verified by over 3,000 studies, over a period of four decades or more. Though I usually mention the spiritual benefits that happen through meditation in my talks and blogs, here are some of the 76 known benefits that occur in the body, mind and emotions through this ancient practice:
It reduces worry and loneliness, as well as enhances self-esteem and self-acceptance.
Regular meditation reduces your blood pressure and increases your longevity. It lessens inflammatory disorders and asthma, while helping to prevent arthritis and fibromyalgia.
It keeps you from getting depressed; in fact, people who meditate regularly (thats the key), are 75% less likely to experience depression, 30% less likely to feel anxiety, and feel a sense of well-being at a 65% higher rate than non-meditators.
Do I have your attention now, because there's more:
It boosts your immune system; in fact, regular meditators experience up to 50% less disease, and report an overall elevation in their moods on a consistent basis, while experiencing a lower incidence of dementia and other cognitive disorders.
It also gives you more energy and clarity.
Meditation gives us all of that (and more), and it does so in as little as 12 to 15 minutes a day, with an additional 5 minutes after you've finished doing your technique, to just relax and rest in your Being (by all means meditate longer if you wish). I haven't even mentioned that every spiritual teacher since the beginning of time has recommended meditation as a way of letting go of the minds obsession with the past and future, and waking up to the miracle of the Present Moment. By turning our attention away from the constant dramas and problems in our outer-lives, and turning our awareness within, we rediscover the peace, joy and ease that we long for.
For those reading this who would also like to make a commitment to join us for the next 21 days in our meditation practice, simply make time everyday (for at least 12 minutes) to do the following meditation technique that all of us are currently doing: sit upright and let the body be completely still as you listen deeply to the space around you for a few moments. Take a few refreshing breaths and feel that you are relaxing right into the middle of your head. From there, lift your interior gaze gently upward, feeling that you are looking out through your forehead into the space of a big open sky. As you gaze, begin to repeat the mantra Ah Hum (pronounced Hoom) gently to yourself (like calling the name of an old friend). When you notice that you have gotten 'lost' in your thinking again, just gently return to repeating the sound of Ah Hum. You do not need to time the mantra with your breathing.
Do this for 12 to 15 minutes, and then rest and relax for 5 minutes afterwards before moving into your day. Do this for the next 21 days and see what happens. Perhaps what you will find is that, by engaging in a practice that costs you nothing but a few minutes of your time; by resting your Awareness right where you are; is that you land in the heart of the Sacred Eternal Moment, where everything you long for is waiting for you just as surely as the breath you are taking right Now. So, is there anything that meditation can't do? Why not begin to practice regularly, and find out for yourself?