3.5 Sweet Benefits of Meditation
From all the training and meditation I’m doing, I was prompted to write about 3.5 sweet benefits of meditation. Not quite four of them. Okay, maybe there are four or more. How does one choose?
A Journey Within
It’s actually pretty hard to just narrow it down to 3.5 things. But also, meditation – no matter how you approach it – secular or not – invites you on a journey within. Whether a person is atheist or Christian, Buddhist or Sufi, the journey within becomes a spiritual journey. At some point you’ll touch the vast emptiness with the mind and understand that there’s a whole universe out there to explore.
That alone could be the ultimate way meditation influences my spirituality. But to bring it back down a few notches, how has my spiritual life changed?
I experience more compassion now – but a more even-tempered compassion than years ago when I first started meditating. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for kind, sensitive people. I consider myself to be one of those. Perhaps even highly sensitive.
I understood what it was to be “the underdog” and became a champion of the downtrodden.
My chosen profession? Teaching. I have taught all ages and all sorts of populations of students: those in poverty all the way to those who are wealthy, from public school to private school, ranging from preschool to college. It was a sense of compassion and a sense of wanting to help and serve others that made me become a teacher.
This enthusiasm eventually turned to burnout as I bore the burdens of the emotions and issues of the students in my charge.
As I have meditated, my sense of compassion has only grown. It has a more “tempered” feel, now. My sensitivity to the sufferings of the world still very much exist, but I’m feeling a layer of protection from that shock a little more with each passing month and year that I meditate.As I continue to meditate, my sense of love and compassion keeps growing. It's bliss. #meditation #love #mindfulness Click To Tweet
I had been feeling an increased need to honor my own path and to remove myself from situations that did not serve to elevate me. I’ve even begun working at home more for this very reason: the suffering in the world and the angst I’ve experienced in everyday work situations would often be too much. And well…time and location independence are quite appealing.
Sometimes We’re Called on for the Greater Good
I used to think that by weeding out all the toxicity and toxic relationships in my life, that it would be easier to raise my awareness or vibration. Now I’m beginning to understand that sometimes we are called to be present in a situation that might not serve us personally, but could actually help the greater good.
For example, in teaching meditation, I might find myself in tough situations, such as in a high-poverty school district or working with immigrant populations that are the target of ICE raids.
Though that sounds heartrending and difficult, I’m beginning to understand that always removing myself from, or avoiding, these “suffering type” of situations isn’t the answer. I can protect myself and continue to develop my meditation skills to better-cope with a situation. Then when the event is over, I can still remain present. If I feel an emotion, I can investigate it, accept it, and then detach and let it go.
This still is easier said than done, but the idea of feeling this level of compassion is guiding my choices to serve others. In addition, around two years ago, I decided to become a vegetarian to honor the need to have and hold compassion for the animals who are not treated well in the American agricultural system but provide the world (humans) with food. I just knew that I couldn’t participate in that system any longer.
Becoming the Highest Version of Myself
Another way meditation has benefited my spiritual life is that I am compelled to investigate the ways in which I can become the highest version of myself. I am doing this by seeking out other like-minded people, reading books, music, and information to further guide me on my journey.
Feeling the Love
Still, the word “love” has become a more-frequent part of my vocabulary.
Honestly, I am seeing more love in my life. I recently visited some family in New Mexico. They were asking “why don’t you go to church?” My response was immediate: I didn’t feel like one religion could contain the wisdom and love that is out there. Love has become my religion. Besides, belonging to any group – religious, political, geographical, or whatever – sews division. Or it can.
I am finding out that there are mystics – people who elevate to that pure love consciousness – in every religion, so perhaps my argument is a bit flawed.
Still, though, I am learning to love for love’s sake and this has a direct impact on my spiritual path. It is easier to love those who have wronged me. It is also easier to admit when I’ve been wrong.
Still, I have to include one more observation about meditation. It is also making me aware of what I consume – food, entertainment, the products I buy, and more. I have a need to buy second-hand or from a local business, or businesses that use fair trade practices.
Calming meditation-type music is what soothes my ears. I’ll listen to other music, but not nearly as much – it’s almost cacophonous. (I promise I’m not becoming an old codger!) The daily news is something I find jarring, but I read and listen enough to stay aware of what’s going on in the world, but no more. I am more aware of what I put into my body – physically, mentally and emotionally.
In the few years since I started meditating 30 minutes or longer each day, and especially in the last couple of years as my meditation went up to at least an hour per day, the rest of my life has shifted to be more in alignment with living with intention and mindfulness.
It’s changing how I do everything.
If you’re a meditator, has it changed you? If not, do you have other things that have influenced your spiritual life?