People come to practice meditation for a variety of reasons. Not too long ago meditation was something of an oddity. Something that you perhaps might not have admitted to practicing when asked at a party…thankfully this has changed substantially in recent years and mainstream awareness of meditation and its benefits has improved significantly.
It is essential in our day and age that we develop an efficient and effective way to thrive in our ever changing society. Whilst the literature and scientific research supporting the numerous benefits of meditation is well established, the fact is that meditation is becoming more commonly understood, accepted and utilised as a daily practice that is improving the lives of people in all walks of life worldwide.
Having noted this however, many misconceptions exist for meditation practice particularly regarding how simple it can be. See our FAQ for more information.
A brief summary of some of the most commonly reported benefits are listed, however students at Inner Space Meditation are actively encouraged to directly validate this for themselves as part of learning to meditate.
Benefits listed on a web page are one thing, but direct and personal experience is quite another. Our students consistently report noticeable improvements within weeks of learning to meditate and continue to validate such benefits. It is this direct feedback from our students that we value most…after all its why we teach this technique.
We experience most of our lives as a constant stream of thoughts; current research estimates this to be in the order of tens of thousands of thoughts per day for the average person.
Thoughts about our work, health, finances, our family, or that funny look that the lady in the supermarket gave us, form a consistent and unending chatter that most of us are not even conscious of. Our own personal experience show that this incessant thinking (often having the very same thoughts we had the day before) can seem impossible to avoid and can often form the greatest source of stress in most peoples lives due to a tendency for ‘negativity bias’.
It is also interesting that we refer to ourselves in our common vernacular as ‘human beings’…but have you asked your self how much time you have spent as a human ‘be-ing’ rather than a human ‘do-ing’.
By learning to access the deeper and subtler aspects of the mind, it is possible to establish oneself in a thought-free meditative state, a state that moves beyond (or transcends) thought. What is not well understood is just how simple this can be to achieve.
You might have had some similar experiences of this kind at some points in your life, where time has passed, or you have ‘been in the zone’, but it is actually vitally important that we have the means to regularly ‘be’ as part of our daily life. Accessing this state on a on a regular basis is possible through meditation.
We all know that rest is a great antidote to stress…the issue is often getting it.
How many times have you (barely) made it to a planned holiday only to spend the first few days sick in bed. As the body finds an opportunity to shake off the built up stress, tension and fatigue from the previous 6-12 months, it decides ‘I need some more of this’ – and you feel under the weather. Clearly there has to be a better way…Meditation provides us an opportunity to regularly access deep levels of rest.
Many students, prior to learning to meditate, suffer from issues relating to sleep (inability to get sleep, stay asleep, or just poor quality sleep). The meditative state provides much deeper levels of rest than are normally experienced in our daily lives. In most cases students report improved sleep soon after learning to meditate.
reduced stress & improved sense of well-being
Despite improvements in quality of life in our society, chronic stress is a major factor that can rob us of many of the joys of life.
From an evolutionary perspective, the ‘fight or flight’ response has been useful, say when evading danger…however many of the daily activities that we now engage in can keep us in this state almost constantly. Whilst some small amounts of stress can be very useful, chronic stress is well documented as major root cause of many of health concerns.
Regular meditation can allow the release of stress from the body in a gentle and intelligent manner. As the mind experiences deeper levels of rest, the body will follow, allowing stress, tension and fatigue to be released in a natural way. As this happens, we find ourselves less overwhelmed by the challenges of daily life leaving us with a sense of calm.
My teacher, Tim Brown, when asked to succinctly describe meditation responded as providing the feeling of ‘un-overwhelm-ability'” – not a real word, but definitely a real feeling.
Learning to meditate does mean that you have to give up anything, nor require any particular belief system, or to change your lifestyle in any significant way.
Fundamentally, regular meditation makes you feel good. Full stop.
Think of a time that you have done something stupid and ask yourself this… “Were you in a heightened state of stress at the time?” We will often find that this is the case. The physiological response to stress gives you focus, but often makes it seem as though there is really only one option.
As we start to remove stress tension and fatigue from the body and expand our conscious state, we start to become aware of more relevant information for a given circumstance. Sometimes access to the right information transforms a difficult problem into a ‘no-brainer’.
improved relationships & contribution to society
Think of those times that you have felt calm, rested, without stress, clear and confident in your direction and generally feeling good. How do you think this affects your relationships?
Meditation provides an opportunity to bring your ‘best self’ to those that are most important around you, something that, when we are honest with ourselves, we all wish to do. When we bring our ‘best self’ to the world, we become a better partner, father, mother, brother, sister, colleague, friend, citizen…
It is important however to realise that the benefits of meditation extend beyond the individual. When we have groups of people in society operating in this ‘expanded conscious state’ we can positively influence our society.
So meditation is kinda like a form of community service if you think about it…