Meditation is important because it’s a tool that can help you cope with all of life’s ups and downs.
The way I see it, meditation is important because it does for the mind what exercise does for the body.
You exercise to keep your body healthy. You lift weights to build strength, you run to improve your fitness and you stretch to become more flexible.
Meditation is like a workout for your mind.
It’s an opportunity for you to create focus and calm. An opportunity for you to get to know what’s happening up there in your head, which creates self-awareness.
Meditation is important for busy minds with busy lives
Our lives have become busy and stressful. We’re constantly on the go, moving from one task or activity to the next; bombarded with messages, emails, calls, adverts.
While technology has brought about some incredible changes to the way we live our lives, it has also brought about the ability to be switched on 24/7 and connected to the outer world constantly.
But the irony in being connected online 24/7 is that we become disconnected from ourselves.
We’re so busy connecting outward that we’re not connected inward. And that’s why meditation is important, because if you don’t know what is going on internally, you can end up living your life on auto-pilot.
Living your life on auto-pilot
When you’re living life on auto-pilot, you react to the world around you, rather than being able to choose how you wish to respond to it.
Maybe there are some things that need to be attended to internally – things that could do with your attention to resolve or let go of.
But instead you reach for your phone and scroll through social media avoiding those thoughts.
I get it. I used to do that too. Whether it was social media or something else, I would distract myself from the stories and thoughts playing out in my head that I didn’t want to deal with.
And before I started meditating I didn’t know how to…
Well, the truth is that I didn’t even know that there was stuff that needed to be attended too.
Not knowing what’s going on in your mind
But if like me, you ignore, suffocate or push away what is happening in your mind for too long eventually life can force you to take notice.
For me, that was having a mental breakdown at 27 which led to 9 months of mild depression and anxiety and a period where I was having daily panic attacks.
It wasn’t until a few months into that breakdown that I took some serious steps to make changes by embarking on a 10-day silent meditation retreat.
Now I wouldn’t recommend starting there with meditation because it’s a bit like deciding that you want to learn how to run then heading off to run a marathon.
But what that 10-day experience showed me was that I had a lot of stuff going on in my head that I wasn’t aware of. Stuff that needed to be looked at.
Learning to meditate
Learning to meditate showed me that there were stories and thoughts playing out in my mind that were acting like a software program which was operating my life.
But when I looked at what was going on in my mind, I realised that these thoughts and stories are not the software program that I wish to operate my life by.
So by meditating and becoming self-aware, I started to gain insights into my mind and my life.
I became aware of how my thoughts and stories had been dictating my decisions and my choices.
And its through having this level of his awareness that you can change your relationship to your thoughts and stories.
When you meditate, you can see them play out like a movie in your mind.
And as you start to watch this ‘movie’ play out, you start to understand why you make certain decisions.
And when you gain that understanding you can use that insight to reframe your perspective and approach to life.
You can essentially reprogram your mind. It’s like you’re giving yourself a software upgrade.
For me, I was operating at Joe 1.0 but if I wanted to enjoy my life more and become who I truly wanted to become then meditation was the tool that was going to help me gain the awareness so that I could upgrade to Joe 2.0.
What I discovered when I meditated
And what I discovered when I started to meditate consistently, month after month, year after year, is that I there was more and more to unpack, to understand, to let go of.
There was more to learn about my internal programming.
And over the years there have been constant upgrades to my mind, just like the upgrades that happen with your phone.
Understanding what your mind is up to
And as I’ve built up my level of understanding and awareness of what my mind is up to and what data it has stored, the more improvements I have been able to make to my life.
And the more I’ve started to live a life that is true to me.
The importance of meditation
For me, it’s the number one tool in my toolbox which I use to navigate my life.
It’s helped me to create a strong mindset and a lifestyle that is true to me.
A mindset and lifestyle which keeps me happy and healthy.
But meditation isn’t an 8-week challenge or a quick fix. It’s a long-term skill that benefits you when it’s practiced regularly and over a long period of time.
I spent 27 years unaware of what was happening in my mind, and after 10+ years of practicing and upgrading, there’s still plenty more upgrades to come.