Why meditate? Why occupy the time of your life in sitting down to go deep inside of you? You’ve heard it a million times before: “Start meditating. It’ll change your life.” I know it does sound convincing coming from so many people at the same time. Moreover, the internet is flooded by videos showing how much people’s lives improved after taking on the habit. If you are still in doubt, then read on and let this post be the little push you need to start today.
Why meditate? Listen to the internal monologue
The first reason in our answer attempt on why meditate is that the impasse provided by meditation allows you to listen to your internal monologue. By internal monologue, we mean the words that your inner voice uses to talk to you, ultimately shaping your thoughts. Usually, we are so caught up in our daily events that we lose objectivity and end up believing every word that our brain dictates. Objectively listening to repetitive thoughts and contrasting them with reality is paramount to live a better, quieter life.
Fight against the monkey mind
Our mind’s internal monologue is closely related to what Buddhists call “the monkey mind.” This term compares our minds’ ability and speed to go from one thought to the next to that of monkeys going from branch to branch. The negative effect of the monkey mind is very notorious. It manifests as the impossibility to fully concentrate on one task for some time. To fight the monkey mind, we must practice stillness and silence. As we fight back against the monkey mind, we also make our minds sharper and more powerful.
Find inner peace
As a side effect from the struggle mentioned above, we can reach deeper and find what we call “inner peace.” This type of peace is non-dependent on outside events but is rooted within our minds. To achieve that blissful state, we need to get to a quiet, silent spot inside our minds. How do we do that? The answer is straightforward: just making our minds concentrate on one thing at a time. The best of it all is that once you discover it, you’ll take that inner peace with you wherever you go.
As Buddhists say, happiness is within; and inner peace is one giant step in that direction.
Why meditate? No more cortisol
Cortisol is commonly known as “the stress hormone.” It is an ancient response from our bodies to danger and allows us to overwork our minds, stay awake, and live in a constant state of battle. If you translate that response to our daily life and add adrenaline to the combo, you have a cocktail that harms your body and mind.
When you stop the exaggerated flow of negative thoughts from the monkey mind, you can control external worries from ending your inner peace. Saying goodbye to stress, and therefore cortisol is the first step towards a much healthier version of you.
A shortcut to happiness
Happiness, as we know it, it is not about just one thing in life. Neither is it an overnight event. Happiness is the accumulation of good decisions and also, a force that pours from within. Once meditation allows you to silence the inner monologue repeating to you everything you lack; you might realize that you already have everything you need to be happy. Meditation is the answer to a mind with never-ending desires for more. Yes, you got it right; meditation is a way of learning that we already are enough.
Why meditate? Because silence is bliss
When was the last time that you heard absolutely nothing? Every time we commute to work, go for a walk, or even visit friends, we hear music, news, noise, and more. Having an instance of silence is a way of achieving a state of bliss. Yes, it is overwhelming, uncomfortable, and awkward initially, but it is a great way to fight back against a noisy world. In the 21st century, silence is bliss, and meditation can take you there time and again.
Learn how to breathe
Breathing properly is the basis of ancient techniques like Vipassana. It is a Buddhist belief that through breathing, a practice that is half physical, half mental, we can control the flow of our thoughts; thus, our minds. The biological part of learning how to breathe offers fantastic benefits for our bodies, like lowering blood pressure and hypertension and fighting back against stress.
Why meditate? Fight insomnia
As much as cortisol is the stress hormone, serotonin is the relaxation one. The frequent practice of meditation can lead to favorable outcomes for those who have insomnia.
- No more overthinking: One of the most common scenarios for those who have insomnia is the mind racing full-speed over bad memories, negative thoughts, and more. Being able to stop our inner monologue helps prevent our minds from wandering and going over future possible negative scenarios when we have our heads on the pillow.
- Endorphins instead of cortisol: While cortisol comes from ancient structures that helped humankind stay safe from predators even at night, it cripples our capacity to sleep. Meditating before going to bed can be a great way to release endorphins when you need them the most and have a nice night of sleep.
Say goodbye to anxiety, depression & stress
No drug known by humankind can release the three more essential neurotransmitters we need to live a happy life (dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin). According to studies done with meditators, entering the deeper stratus of the mind releases them simultaneously. This condition helps alleviate the symptoms of disorders such as anxiety, depression, and stress. Also, meditation achieves these results with no side effects.
The ability to stop our monkey mind and slow the world allows us to be present at the moment and make the most out of our capabilities. According to Buddhist wisdom, not worrying about the what-ifs and letting go of our desired future is the path to being more present at the moment. Also, breathing techniques sharpen the focus of our minds. Pursuing a single, simple task rewires our brains to be more present at the moment, thus enhancing concentration outside meditation moments.
Why meditate? To boost creativity
There are countless examples of highly-creative artists who rely on meditation to unlock their talent’s full capacity. A good example is David Lynch, a cult movie director from the United States who published a book about transcendental meditation called Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity. According to Lynch, he’s had the best ideas of his life while practicing transcendental meditation. He claims that the deeper you go in the stream of consciousness, the better the ideas (the bigger the fish).
Lengthen your attention span
Another outcome of focusing the mind on a straightforward task such as your breathing is that you can lengthen your attention span. In times like these frantic pace and multimedia bombarding, our brains suffer from a drastic shortening in their attention span. We are used to multitasking and having several screens with bright colors fighting for our attention. Indeed, our attention became a currency in the 21st century. Meditating can be a great way to fight back against this phenomenon and reclaim our mind’s attention and sharpness. You have no idea what you can when you put all your awareness into the present task.
Why meditate? Slow down your life
Most meditators find in the silence and slow pace of the meditating mind an endless source of happiness. The way that our minds live partially in the future and somewhat in the past makes us worry about events we can’t change or haven’t happened yet. Putting an end to the monkey mind’s endless chatter and the frantic pace of the world is the gateway for lasting happiness. We can also improve our relationships with those around us because our inner peace comes out as patience, understanding, empathy, and help. Besides helping you live a happier life, meditation enables you to cope with conflict, extending happiness.
Finally, the cornerstone of Buddhist wisdom is equanimity. Observing the world with objectivity, not judging if people, actions, or events are good or bad, is one of the secrets of long-term happiness. Indeed, much of our unhappiness comes from external judgment, or, worse, our fantasy about what superficial judgment will be. Once our minds start embracing equanimity and limit our responsibility to change, a considerable load comes off from our shoulders. Fostering equanimity in ourselves, and the rest could potentially erase hatred from our society.
Meditation is indeed a practice that grows stronger with time. If you sit down to meditate every once in a while and never really learn formally how to do it, chances are you are not going to unleash its full transformational potential.
On the other hand, a consistent meditator can and will change his or her mind and the approach to life. For example, understanding the concept of happiness as flowing from within is a giant step towards self-awareness and self-love. It can transform the world around you and allow you to see it with different eyes. You’ve probably heard the old tale of the glass half-full and half-empty; meditating is a great way to approach life as a glass-half-full.
Why meditate? We hope the list above (although it could go on forever) can answer and that you are finally convinced you should start meditating today. Happiness is closer than you think. Just don’t give up and start your path today.