For most people, the idea of focusing within is the last thing they consider when it comes to their overall health and well being. Let’s face it, we live in a culture that promotes a quick fix for pretty much everything. And to be truthful, meditation is not a quick fix. Rather it represents a commitment to oneself to discover all the good and seemingly bad things one believes consciously and unconsciously in an attempt to heal.
John M. Kalb, in this recent Daily Tidings post, presents a valuable take on meditation as a way to achieve spiritual and psychological health. Says Kalb, inner peace isn’t something to be expected 24/7 in one’s life. It’s an ideal to work toward that is supported through the practice of meditation. Key to Kalb’s take is that meditation can assist people on their search for life purpose. In doing so, passion for life is recognized.
Another big piece of peace for me is feeling fulfilled and living my life on purpose. For me, passion and purpose go together. Spending time developing my life mission has helped immensely to give my life meaning. In my quest for truth and to be of service in the world, I have come to realize that asking and answering the question, “Why bother?” is crucial. Why bother to get out of bed in the morning and do what I need to do stay healthy and happy? Why bother to exercise, eat right, deal with my inner conflicts, and connect with other people? As I’ve gotten an inkling of why I’m here and where I want to go, my journey has become much more peaceful.
I’ve only met one person who claimed to have inner quiet and not have a little voice inside chattering away. Many of us are carrying on an inner dialogue that when examined, seems banal and pointless. Research has shown that when we are not focusing on a specific task, the mind is wired to daydream, to think about the past and future. This is considered beneficial for creativity and problem-solving. However, meditation, which cultivates an inner quiet, is proving to be one of the best things we can do for our brain and body. Researchers have seen profound changes on the brain scans of meditators, showing just how meditation improves mood, relaxation and even decision-making. Meditation even helps physical performance, so athletes are getting on board. Meditation is not just for monks anymore. It’s being done by all sorts types of people from Marines to artists, and moving out of the meditation room and into the boardroom.
If you don’t already have a meditation practice, let me recommend mindfulness meditation. It’s easy to learn, can be done by everyone, and can be done both “formally” and throughout the day. Being mindful is paying attention to present-time experience, and fully accepting that experience. Usually it helps to have an anchor to bring us back to the present when we catch our mind wandering, like focusing on our breath. Practice a few minutes each day and then gradually increase as you become more comfortable with the process.
Read more from Kalb on using meditation to connect to your life purpose here.