When we first begin a meditation practice, it may seem unnatural and hard. The mind likes to be engaged & distracted and western culture feeds this with via constant distraction. If we are not engaging with other people, attending school, work or a social gatherings we are often be hooked up to our computers, smart phones, reading or listening to music. Silence and quiet observation are skills that have not been developed too much, so naturally, when we begin a meditation practice it may be a struggle to establish patience and consistency. However, the benefits of meditation are widespread, especially for westerners whom greatly benefit from setting aside time to exist without being productive or mind centered.
Here are some of the benefits of meditation for beginners:
1. We live in a society that is quite masculine: Goal oriented quick paced and rational. Meditation teaches us to cultivate our more feminine qualities such as the ability to observe, receive and watch softly. Soon we find that rather than feeling bored or antsy in a nonproductive state, we can appreciate the simple fact that we are alive and breathing!
2. Meditation teaches us to pay attention to the breath, which automatically connects us to the present moment. Our breath is right now, it is not some vague story that is created in our mind. By watching our breaths’ natural flow we learn to become more present, one of the best natural remedies for anxiety.
3. We also learn patience by openly observing the process of our emotions unfolding without becoming entangled in the stories that arise around them from the mind. By continuing to watch we begin to undo the stories and accept a emotional texture as a part of being alive. Since difficulty is to be expected in all people’s lives, learning to live peacefully with it can completely shift the way we feel.
4. The breath reflects the mind and the mind reflects the breath. When we learn to slow and steady our breath, our mind automatically responds by becoming more peaceful and less frantic. Throughout our day we can use our slow and steady breath to find composure and presence.
5. Meditation illuminates the stories that we tell ourselves about who and what we are. The story that the mind plays over and over defines how we show up in the world, how we react to others, and the actions that we take. By understanding the story, we learn that we are not the story and have the choice to live to a higher potential, no longer a victim of habit.