Updated: Dec 8, 2022
The benefits of meditation are profound and far reaching
For those of us that don’t know how to meditate, we remain wilfully ignorant of the benefits, and consistently ignore this practice with dire consequences. Meditation originates in India and predates 3,500 BCE, the practice itself has been adapted, changed and these days it transcends spiritual beliefs.
“Meditation — because some questions can’t be answered by Google.” — Wandering Yogi
The benefits of meditation are espoused by spiritual leaders and corporate leaders, and even occasionally prescribed by the medical profession. There are many resources and endless scientific studies proving the benefits of meditation.
In 2011, Dr. Sara Lazar and her team at Harvard University found that mindfulness meditation could actually change the structure of the brain, improving concentration and attention, increasing learning and memory, and creating more grey matter volume and forming new connections throughout their brain.
In my experience, what each person gains is largely dependent on the person, why they chose to start meditating, what they are dealing with, and what they hope to draw from the practice.
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The Four Pillars
Stephen R. Covey writes about four principles of balanced self-renewal, but I have always known them as the four pillars of health — physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
In recent years I have stringently built habits to incorporate the four pillars, being physically active, mentally stimulated, and emotionally connected every day. I had always believed the fourth pillar of spirituality was elusive to an agnostic person like myself, but meditation was the missing link.
Meditation has become a pathway to fulfilling that spiritual pillar, enabling me to enhance all four pillars in tandem.
Physically it has taught me to focus on my breathing, to be present in my body and in the moment
Emotionally it has brought about patience, calm, and balance, giving me the emotional strength to withstand stressful moments
Mentally it has reduced my worry and stress exponentially, and opened my mind to more creative pursuits
Spiritually it removes me from my surroundings and the pressures of every day life to a peaceful inner sanctum