All traditions and religions describe some form of enlightenment or spiritual awakening. Unfortunately, most people are spiritually asleep, some snoring soundly. Meditation is your wake-up call, when you rub the sleep of ignorance from your eyes and begin to enjoy the great bounty that awaits you.
The good news is that you’re all already enlightened and perfect in every way—perfectly happy, perfectly healthy, and all of your desires are instantly fulfilled. I know you’re rolling your eyes, but at least that’s how it’s supposed to be.
Sadly, the bad news is that you may have forgotten it and thus live a less-than-perfect life where you get sick, depressed, frustrated, and so on. Meditation is the journey back to perfection and, in the process, you are showered with its gifts. Here are nine benefits of meditation.
Most people spend their lives looking to the external world for happiness and, certainly, you have periods when you feel happy. However, external happiness is rarely lasting and most of the time you’re on an emotional roller coaster—someone pays you a compliment and you feel happy, the next day they ignore you and you’re miserable.
Meditation takes you on a journey from external activity to inner silence—from the chaos and confusion of forgetfulness, to the peace and quiet of remembrance. Remembering the joy and bliss that you always are.
For the most part, your life is very limited. Your thoughts and actions are a result of your memories and desires—you do an action that creates a memory, this in turn generates a desire, which leads to further action. For example, if you go to Starbucks and drink a cup of their coffee for the first time, this was your action. This creates a memory, and now you know what Starbucks coffee taste like. If you enjoyed the coffee, you might have the desire to return the next day for another cup, and so the cycle goes on.
Even though you like to think you have freewill, most of the time you repeat the same old habits, the same social conditioning. You are a prisoner of your own beliefs, fears, and doubts. You live your life like a little hamster running in its wheel, thinking you’re getting somewhere, while in fact most of the time you’re just going round and round. Your possibilities are very limited.
Meditation guides you to turn your awareness within, to discover a deeper meaning in life. During it, you can realize that there’s more to life than just repeating the same things over and over. There’s more to life than grasping for material happiness. The journey to infinite possibilities begins.
The teacher and mystic Osho called meditation, “The first and last freedom.” It’s the freedom you were born from and the freedom you can return to. When you give up all the concepts, stories, limiting beliefs, and constricting attachments, you’ll be free to live the life you were born to enjoy.
Meditation is the key to reconnecting with this life. Meditation awakens you to what’s already here, always has been, and always will be. As the Sufi poet Rumi said, “I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to known reasons, knocking on the door. It opens. I’ve been knocking from the inside.”
Meditation is being rather than doing; it’s being aware, being the observer rather than the doer. Although it is often called the practice of meditation, it’s is really about doing nothing. Meditation is doing less to accomplish more and doing nothing to have the potential for everything. When you are doing nothing, you are meditating. There’s nowhere to go, nothing to do, just listen to the wisdom within the silence.
Of course, you cannot create silence, you can only create noise and most of us are pretty good at that. However, when you allow the noise to settle, the silence that’s always there, reveals itself. To quote Osho again, “Collapse into silence.” When asked why he didn’t give more lectures, Ramana Maharshi said, “The only reason I speak at all is for the benefit of those who don’t understand the message in my silence.”
Although silence is often thought of as something negative or an emptiness, it is actually full of the potential for everything. It contains the wisdom of the universe in seed form. Nothing can touch or disturb your inner silence and only you have the power to enter it, because it is you. It’s your universe waiting to unfold.
Meditation is to be aware of the present moment and, although it may sound odd, most of the time you are not here. Your thoughts take you into the future or the past so consequently, that’s where you spend most of your life. However, you are not your thoughts. You are the one who thinks the thoughts. So the only place where the real you can be, is in the spaces between the thoughts.
Meditation takes you to quieter and quieter levels of the thinking process until you slip into the spaces between your thoughts. Here, you rediscover your true self, the person who you really are and always have been. The self beyond the ideas and concepts, beyond the self-made prison, beyond anything your limited self can imagine. The self who is always with you, always ready to support and guide you, always watching over you. Meditation means to be aware of what you are doing, rather than being consumed by the doing. When you live your life with awareness, your whole life becomes a meditation. You regain self-awareness and enjoy the fullness of life on all levels.
In the New Testament, Jesus says, “The kingdom of Heaven is within you.” In the Gnostic Gospels, he says, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner as the outer, and the upper as the lower, and when you make the male and female into a single one … then you shall enter the kingdom.”
Meditation a journey through all the layers of your life, until you reach the source of everything, pure consciousness. Then you may realize that everything is pure consciousness expressing itself in different forms and disguises. This is the coming together of all opposites, the end of separation. Just as the wave has its own individuality but cannot be separated from the ocean, so you have your individual consciousness but, with meditation, realize that you are one with the ocean of pure consciousness.
When you don’t forgive, you are the one who suffers. How many times do you hear people complaining about someone who’s been dead for years? Do you think the dead person is bothered about how the other feels? When you don’t forgive, you remain energetically connected to the other person and allow yourself to be drained of your personal power.
The deep rest you receive during meditation allows the stresses to begin to dissolve, bringing the growth of acceptance, understanding, and compassion. You can move beyond fear, anger, and resentment, and once again take responsibility for your own life.
In your essence, you are pure love. Sadly, nowadays, most people have forgotten how to love and who to love. As the Indian poet Tagore said, “While God waits for his temple to be built of love, men bring stones.” Fear contracts while love expands.
Meditation reconnects you with the infinite so that the heart expands fully and once again you fall in love with all creation. When you learn to truly love and think from your heart, all good things spontaneously flow into your life.
Life is a long journey and like any journey, sometimes you may feel lost and confused. It’s been said that all sickness is some form of home-sickness. Meditation takes you to that safe secure place deep within. The place where the storms and conflicts of life can no longer touch you The place where you can rest, and be nourished and nurtured. Meditation is your journey home.
Meditation has many, many gifts to bless all areas of your life. The greatest gift you can give yourself is the gift of meditation itself.