Meditation is one of those things people often think they “should” do but don’t know why, exactly. Not to mention it might feel like just another “something” to find time for. And then there’s that whole stopping one’s thoughts issue. At night it makes you fall asleep. Who has time in the morning? When things are tough, I think of it longingly as something I know will bring comfort, but rarely do it. When things are easy, I figure I don’t need it.
If these aren’t your thoughts on meditation, they’re some of the multitude I’ve had over the years as I’ve dipped in and out of a practice with no real consistency.
And then I read THIS article in the NYT:
Some of the choice tidbits included: “M.R.I. brain scans taken before and after the participants’ meditation regimen found increased gray matter in the hippocampus, an area important for learning and memory. The images also showed a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress. A control group that did not practice meditation showed no such changes.”
Also: “It has been hard to pinpoint the benefits of meditation, but a 2009 study suggests that meditation may reduce blood pressure in patients with coronary heart disease. And a 2007 study found that meditators have longer attention spans.”
Whether you’re spiritually motivated, or just motivated to feel better, meditation seems to bridge the divide between the two. And because I love to challenge myself, I decided that I’d launch back into the process of stilling my mind, reducing my blood pressure and helping my concentration by doing a daily meditation and journaling challenge. Every day in September I’ll meditate for a minimum of 20 minutes at night and journal first thing in the morning. It’s my hope that, like exercise, this month-long challenge will kick into gear a life-long practice. And I hope some of you will join me. I’ll be blogging weekly about the process, about epiphanies and tips both from my own experience and the wisdom of those who have gone before me.
And I’ll tell you one last reason why I’m eager to meditate on a daily basis (I’ve been meditating on a weekly basis but not consistently, this past month): in that twenty minutes of silence and calm, I experience a feeling of pure joy that is disconnected from any event or person. I can’t explain it either—why should joy come to me while I’m sitting there doing nothing? I don’t know, but it does, without fail. No striving, no accomplishments or tasks to earn it, either. Just sitting, silently, with myself.
I’ll take more of that please. Hope you join in!
(That’s my son in the picture)
If you like what you’ve read, you might enjoy my novel, Forged in Grace, my writing book Make a Scene, or my creativity guide with Rebecca Lawton, Write Free (purchase through one of us directly).