When introduced to meditation in 1974, I was skeptical. As an engineer, skepticism came naturally. Yet, the meditation instructor who had just given an introductory lecture was convincing.
Do Less, Accomplish More
Meditation, he said, was one activity that would enhance every aspect of our lives. In the same way that watering the root feeds the entire plant. In contrast, trying to enhance the quality of each leaf, stem, and flower separately is inefficient and not as effective as simply watering the root.
I decided to learn to meditate. My life was in turmoil. What did I have to lose? There was a fee for his meditation course, but I told myself that if it didn’t work, it would not be my first disappointment. It was worth the small financial risk. If half of what this teacher said was true, I’d be happy.
Well, many years later, I’m pleased to report that everything he said was right-on. What he taught me was how to be still. I learned a mental technique, meditation, to quiet my busy stressed out mind. Much to my delight, I found that my mind effortlessly calmed down during meditation. More importantly, there was more peace and joy in my life after meditating.
An analogy is helpful to explain the role of meditation. (There are many styles of meditation. I’m describing the one that I practice and teach – Effortless Meditation™.) Anyone who has ever seen the ocean knows that the surface always has some degree of turbulence. If a big storm comes up it could be overwhelming – perhaps 50 foot high waves. Such turbulence often brings destruction to anything in its path, and yet deep beneath the ocean’s wild surface the water is quiet, calm. Scuba divers tell us how peaceful and charming the ocean is at its depths even during storms.
Our mind is like that. On the surface of the conscious “chattering” mind, we have many thoughts especially when we’re under stress. Effortless Meditation™ is a mental technique that helps the active conscious mind settle down so that we can experience the stillness and calm at the mind’s core. Our peaceful, calm mind is fertilizer for personal growth. It nourishes us while recharging our batteries with energy for the activity that follows our meditation.
A client once wrote, “Meditation is like a mini vacation, and now I’m vacationing every day.” With each meditation, we draw the influence of meditation into our active life. In the same way that water sticks to our body when we come out of a swimming pool, the energy, calm and well-being experienced in meditation stays with us after our meditation session ends.
The Need of the Times
The need for this experience has never been greater than today. Observe as you walk down the street or into a restaurant, or even while driving, people’s heads looking down at their smart phones. They are multitasking, trying to squeeze more out of every moment. Life is so busy that many have lost the simple ability to sleep soundly through the night. Few would dispute that we live in a world of chronic stress and pressure.
With these concerns, it’s not surprising there’s a growing interest in and acceptance of meditation. The interest has certainly been fueled by the expanding and huge body of scientific research validating a multitude of benefits from meditation practice.
Those who meditate regularly find that the quality of their lives grow in ways never imagined. They are more patient, focused, healthier, and happier. That’s quite a payback for taking a little time each day to be still.
Stress Reduction Resources, Director