Are you fully aware of exactly why meditation is so important? Or are you just going through the motions because you’ve heard others say that “you should meditate”? Many are not truly convinced and end up giving up.. and that’s a shame, because I know personally how important meditation was and still is in my growth. I’ll share my experience here to give you a deeper look at why it’s so worth getting proficient at sitting still.
Let me start by ranting off the list of actual/real benefits I’ve already achieved in my practice: less anxiety, shorter depressive moments, more patience, an appreciation for the grounding power of a quality breath, less judgement of myself/others, more compassion for others, more acceptance, no more frustrations with traffic/driving, a higher tolerance for “boredom”.. the list goes on and on.
What all of this boils down to is awareness. By continually returning your focus back to your breath (or whatever else you choose as your focal point), you are basically training your ability to become aware of that which was previously unconscious or automatic. You realize that holy shit.. so much of my thinking, emotions, speech, and actions have been dictated by automatic, subconscious, and pre-programmed habitual patterns.
Welcome to your ego.
We all have an ego. And I’m not talking about ego in the Western sense of arrogance or anything like that. The ego actually encompasses our entire identity that we believe is who we really are.. but in reality, it is merely a illusory layer that sits on top of our spirit/soul. Our true nature. This ego is actually a culmination of all of our upbringing, schooling, family/friends, experiences, traumas, failures, etc. It is a programmed identity that is the source of all your fears, limitations, and suffering.
So who are we then? Well, that’s a whole other topic, but I will say that who we truly are is closer to the awareness that’s capable of watching the thoughts as they come and go.. like we do in meditation practice. By doing this we are creating a gap or a space between our true selves, and this automatic ego. When you experience this gap for the first time, that’s when you understand the true power of meditation.
The more I meditate, the more I realize the reasons behind my problems and suffering.. because I can finally see all the nuanced ways I hold myself back as they are happening. I am able to see the ego for exactly what it is. And that takes its power away. When you become more aware/conscious, your ego no longer runs the show. You do. And so no longer will you be a slave to your lower, unconscious self that is the single greatest source of your suffering and unhappiness in life.
I could go on and on with this topic, but seriously meditation is totally worth the effort. And the more you do it, the deeper you’re able to go as you discover new things about the practice and yourself. I also encourage learning more from various teachers and readings along the way, as they will help you to go deeper in your practice. I will for sure write follow up articles on this topic, because meditation is that important. In the meantime, all you have to remember is to just breathe.