So you’ve heard of this thing called meditation. You heard it may have some benefits. Now, you wanna get all zen and spiritual with it. I applaud your attitude; there’s no better time to pick up meditation in today’s fast-paced, no mercy, no-holds-barred society. Meditation has its benefits, but don’t be fooled by the “spiritual” tag. Meditation isn’t just made for monks or hippies; spiritual just means you’re in touch with yourself a little more than the average person.
At this point, the word meditation shouldn’t be foreign. You’ve probably seen it everywhere. The Buddhists got it right thousands of years ago. The Hindis figured it out in the course of the last few centuries. Enlightened individuals like Thich Nhat Hanh and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi have brought meditation and enlightenment to the mainstream over time.
It’s been touted to help reduce stress, reverse some physical ailments, help with mental clarity, and provide peace and calmness amongst our busy world. Almost too good to be true, you’re told that simply sitting down for a few minutes every day will open you to a whole new realm. Sounds awesome, right? As in, what are you waiting for? Sit down, shut your eyes, shut your mouth, and breath.
Here’s seven of the biggest ways you can get some “spiritual” benefit out of meditation. But let’s start with the biggest.
1. You’ll find more meaningful work or activities
More authenticity means you’re a little more laser-focused on what rocks your boat, strikes your fancy, or tickles your pickle. You’re a little more in line with the things you find value behind.
When you start putting attention on those things, it’s easier to pick up on potential opportunities coming your way. After all, how can you find things if you don’t know what you’re looking for? With meditation, you’ll get a better feel for your radar, and when an opportunity comes up, you’ll strike.
Does your job suck?
If you’ve been looking for a job that doesn’t suck, and more importantly you feel stuck, take note of why your current predicament isn’t working. It’s probably because you don’t align with it; your values aren’t in line with the job you have. How do you find a job that doesn’t suck? You find your values, but it’s important to note you find your values through knowing yourself just a little better. How do you know yourself better? The first step is to stop looking outwards. In other words, stop looking to outside people, material things, or activities that you think solve your issues.
Instead, look inwards. Look inside to know what you’re all about. But how do you look inwards?
Need more meaningful activities?
On the flip side, what if your 9-5 is OK, but you want a little more fulfillment in the 5-9? If you’re having trouble finding yourself motivated to do anything besides come home, workout, eat, and watch some TV, here’s some news for you: the same rules as above apply.
You need a few things to try out, but to figure out what to try, you need to know your values. And how do you find those values? Know yourself just a little bit better. How do you get to knowing yourself just a bit better? You look inwards. And how do you look inwards?
Here’s six other ways you’ll get some spiritual benefits out of meditation, too.
2. You live more authentically
When you sit down and focus on yourself, you don’t have the time to pretend you’re someone else. There’s no one to impress, no one to worry about how you come across, and no one to judge you. You probably have some form of a “mask” when you’re out in the real world, but the degree to which you keep this mask on varies, depending on how much you know yourself.
So the more you’re forced to look inwards, the less time you have for a ridiculous mask to hide behind. The Mask may have been a funny movie, but do you really want to look like Jim Carrey all the time when he’s in character? Didn’t think the green face suits many people.
3. Become more disciplined
Sticking with meditation is discipline enough; it’s not easy to sit down, shutup, and attempt to stay in the zone for ten, twenty minutes at a time. Trying to do it every day is hard; it’s like working out. Except it’s mental instead of physical. Getting into the groove is hard as fuck, but once you’re in it, it’s a little easier to swallow.
But life throws curveballs of course, and you’ll find any excuse to put the brakes on the mental practice for a bit. Boy, that was easy to let go. Picking it back up again is another story.
So the more you stick with it, the more disciplined you become, which translates into other areas of your life. It may become just a little easier to do the things you don’t want to do, like your job sometimes. Maybe…just maybe.
4. Become a spicier person
Authenticity, a little more happiness, and more meaningful work should be a recipe for living just a little spicier life. You know, having a slight pep in the step, a bit more zest. Hopefully, you’ll begin seeing some of these benefits. As you begin connecting with your values and your idea of what living should be, things just get a bit more exciting.
It won’t be a quick night and day difference, so don’t expect miracles. But like a chain reaction or a snowball turning into an avalanche, the steam picks up and things start clicking.
5. Ride the waves of life
The more you meditate, the bigger your boat becomes.
Meditation brings about a calm and peace that’s unrivaled; in those moments of solitude and silence, things slow down and you relax. The extreme ends — especially the really low lows — tend to ease a bit.
The surface of the sea is a great metaphor for your life; it’s choppy and always will be. If you’re in a kayak, you’ll be tossed around like chicken drumsticks in breadcrumbs ready to be fried. But if you suddenly upgrade and find yourself on a cruise line, you barely feel the chop of the sea. Upgrading your boat is like upgrading your meditation. Let the chop subside.
6. Deal with stress a little more easily
Like riding the waves of life, even the daily stressors which seemingly attack you nonstop take a bit of a backseat when you’re an experienced meditator.
The small stuff no longer bothers you as much, because you know better than anyone how quickly it can throw you off. So why sweat the details that don’t even matter?
Careers are the biggest culprit of stress in your life. The little daily “fires” thrown your way put you in a tizzy. The boss emails you and wanted the memo yesterday. Your colleague messages you asking for an update. The client acts like they’re the only client you have.
Look, meditation is no miracle solve; you’ll still get stressed in these moments. The biggest difference is now you can drop it at the door when you get home.
7. Get a better understanding of how everything works together
A big part of meditation is realizing you aren’t the center of the universe. In fact, you’re no bigger part of it than the ladybug or pigeon outside your window. It may be a tough pill to swallow, as most people think they are the center. And like the sun, everything revolves around them.
The reality is you’re all working together to create harmony — to create this thing you call life. Even other humans. They helped you get to where you are and they’ll continue to do so in the future.
Everything in life works together in harmony; from chaos comes clarity. Get used to it.
If you can focus on the spiritual benefits of meditation, you might be a little more inclined to give it a try.