10 Holistic Benefits of Meditation
There are many benefits of meditation. I hope to share with you what these are, especially if you are new to this practice. Over the years, meditation has made a huge difference to my life. Hopefully, it can help increase your holistic wellness too 🙂
While there are already many articles describing the benefits of meditation on the internet, I hope to share what I have gained from my personal experiences as well.
On the side, I would like to dedicate this post in memory of my mother-in-law who first introduced meditation to me. It was more than 10 years ago when she taught me how to meditate. My mother-in-law was 70 when she became a Buddhist nun who was very interested in meditation.
Since then, I had learnt from various revered teachers; some whose classes and retreats I had previously attended. I hold their teachings close to my heart. Each had helped me experience the wonderful benefits of meditation holistically. I am laying out 10 of them as follows here…
10 Benefits of Meditation for Mind-Body-Spirit Wellness
1) Improves Physical Relaxation
Many people experience tension related stress in the body these days. It’s resulting in aches and pains. A sendentary lifestyle has also not been helpful.
Well, you can start to experience the benefits to meditation with a body scan. With “sweeping meditation”, you can help your body to completely relax. Sweeping meditation involves sending loving-kindness to each of your body part. With each part, you tune into the sensations felt, relax the muscles around, ease off tensions and make peace with any pain.
“Sweeping meditation” is a wonderful pre-start to breath meditation. Relaxing the body beforehand is helpful to calming the mind sufficiently for focus on the breath. Meditation, whether via the watching of the breath or any other form, becomes very much a gentle exercise when it is combined with loving- kindness.
2) Improves Immune System
“Meditation is like having a spa for your brains. Your brain lasts longer. And you don’t have to worry about degenerating brain cells even after 40 years old.” Ajahn Bram, head abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery in Western Australia.
Prolonged stress can lead to a lowering of your immune system. Thus, you become more susceptible to diseases. Numerous studies have already shown that meditation is helpful in cases of cancer, depression, anxiety, bad spine, etc.
Through meditation, you become more aware about the stories that you are creating. Hence, the realization that you are not under any real threat. This reduces the body’s need to tax on its coping mechanism. Overall, developing a regular meditation practice reduces the amount of stress-related chemicals in your body.
3) Doorway to Inner Peace and Acceptance
When you meditate, you are simply observing. Hence, you are not attaching labels or names. Silence simply means no commentary. You are not judging or giving comments such as “oh..this is beautiful” or “this is gross”.
With the mind empty of judgments, comments or opinions, you are able to appreciate things as they are. You are also able to notice details that you have not quite observed before. You are in full presence of the beauty before you.
It also becomes easier to see that there can be more than one way of looking at things. You can either see that roses have thorns or that thorns have roses. Not one perspective is wrong. You are able to embrace life fully with a balanced perspective.
Life is rich even while there is polarity. There can be no joy without sorrow. There can be hot without cold. The contrast is there to help you gain an understanding of what an experience truly feels like or is.
Developing equanimity or a balanced state of mind is a great benefit of meditation. With an increased ability to embrace polarity and that things are perfect as they are, you gain a sense of inner peace.
4) Increases Your Ability to Let Go of the Past
Through meditation, you bring awareness that the most important moment is now. There is realization that clinging on to any idea or the past will only create more suffering for yourself. The past is already gone. To hang on to the regret, sorrow and anger is to keep the pain alive when the past is really comprised of dead moments.
You are hurting yourself unnecessarily.
Also, through observation, you become more willing to surrender. You become more willing to let go of wanting events to happen according to your expectations. There is a limit to the things that you can control. Other than these, you have to surrender to the will of the divine. In the face of storms, you tell yourself: “this too shall pass”.
The willingness to let go serves to lighten the unhappy burden that you carry. It is also when you find it easier to forgive anyone who has contributed to the situation that you are in. From making a release, you feel a lot lighter and free. It is when you truly experience the benefits of meditation!
5) Improves Clarity for Decision Making
Are you seeking for clarity or for answers on what to do? Difficulties with making a decision could arise because there is too much noise going on in your surroundings. You are presented with a lot of opinions or options. Everyone around you is eager to tell you what to do.
While it is okay to seek advice, the choice you make must ultimately sit with you. After all, you bear the consequences. There is no one else more responsible for your happiness than yourself.
“These days people don’t search for the Truth. People study simply in order to find knowledge necessary to make a living, raise families and look after themselves, that’s all. To them, being smart is more important than being wise!” Ajahn Chah
When you quieten the mind, it is much easier to tune into your inner guidance. It is in the quiet moments that the answers that you seek arise. Meditation is the doorway to inner wisdom for decision making.
6) Helps You Gain Insights into Life Lessons
Find yourself stuck in your life right now?
Could there be negative patterns that you are trapped in?
When you are emotionally attached, it is more difficult to spot the repeated patterns. You find yourself reacting in the same manner and encountering the same negative outcomes. It may also be when you ask yourself, why me?
Well, if you have not learnt your lesson, guess what? The same patterns are going to happen again and again.
Meditation helps you gain insights into the life lessons that you need to integrate.
There is the lesson on forgiveness, self-love and courage in situations of betrayal, helplessness and the breach of personal boundaries and so on. Each situation provides valuable feedback, creating opportunities for you to make a shift.
An integration happens when you get that “aha” feeling. You sense the shift in your body and entire energy system. It’s like in one cosmic moment, everything about you gets aligned. You feel the upgrade in your consciousness. (Work with me to know how this feels like). From this space, you resolve to no longer to go through the same negative experience again. Integration is complete at this level.
7) Helps You with Inspired Ideas
Can’t get your ideas flowing? Feeling creatively stuck?
Inspired ideas often arise at the end of meditation gaps, the silent spaces in-between your thoughts.
8) Increases Your Ability to Enjoy Each Moment
Meditation helps your mind to rest in the present moment. Mostly, your mind could be preoccupied with thoughts about the past or worries about the future. It is rarely in the now.
“If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.” What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future -and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.” Thich Nhat Hanh
When you meditate, you are bringing attention to the now. You are present in this moment. Thus, you are able to experience each moment fully. With fuller presence, you open yourself to the miracle of living. You become more alive.
9) Enhances Productivity
I used to believe that meditation is a waste of my previous time. Why meditate when there are so many tasks to get to, I wondered. However, after having experienced the benefits of meditation, I realised how wrong I was.
Setting aside half an hour a day for meditation can enhance your overall productivity. You are able to stay more alert and process things much faster during the rest of the day, when you allow your mind the space to rest without thoughts.
The relationship between increased productivity and meditation has already been backed by numerous well-known studies. Indeed, I found myself able to focus and be more present to the task at hand. These days, I am finding truth in the following statement…
10) Enhances Spiritual Connection
Meditation helps you buld a spiritual connection to a deeper underlying presence or field of awareness. You are able to experience the interconnectedness of all things and santient beings in the universe. Additionally, meditation helps you find greater purpose and meaing.
You realize that thoughts and emotions are not permanent. And so there is no point of clinging on to any thought of “I”, “me” or “mine”. You are more willing to step out of your ego.
You become more aware of what is of permanence instead. There is the deep realisation that you are a spiritual being in a human experience. You are able to tap into the profound experience of love, peace and compassion for everyone. With that deep connection, you become ONE.
“Enlightenment is not about feeling happy all the time. Enlightenment is not about solving all your problems at once. Nor is enlightenment about living up to some spiritual ideal. Enlightenment is simply a state of being. It is the continuous state of knowing—beyond all niggling doubt—that you are the source energy of life itself.” Jeddah Mali
Reaping the Benefits of Meditation
You can’t learn meditation just by reading a book nor by attending a spiritual talk. To enjoy the benefits of meditation, it has to be experiential. As it is always said, the finger pointing to the moon is not the moon.
Bear in mind that if you want to experience the benefits if meditation, you will need to keep up with a regular practice. Like any form of exercise, the rewards do not happen overnight. For holistic mind-body-spirit wellness, it pays to be consistent. Hence, I suggest making quiet sittings a daily routine.
May you be blessed with the benefits of meditation!
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