I’ve meditated in some way, shape, and form for the past five years. To be honest, when I started meditating, I wasn’t all that sure of what I was doing, but I figured that anything I tried was better than nothing.
One of the most difficult things about meditation, in my opinion, is that it takes a bit of work at the beginning, and you don’t see a lot of return on that investment of time and effort. Someone had used the analogy of putting a drop of red food coloring in a bathtub full of water. One drop, two drops, and three drops make absolutely no difference in the color of the water in the tub. However, drop after drop, if you keep adding drops of red food coloring to that water, you’ll begin to see changes in the color of the water.
As I’ve really put in the time and effort over the past year to establish a regular meditation practice and routine for myself, I’ve really noticed some differences, and some of them have been pretty surprising. So, on the off-chance that you have started on your own meditation path, or whether you’re considering establishing your own meditation routine, I wanted to share with you the eight biggest surprises that I’ve discovered through meditation.
I used to struggle with elevated blood pressure. I know it came from mentally pushing myself to achieve, achieve, and achieve. While I know it’s good to have goals and ambitions, I also know to pursue them at the expense of your well-being is not wise. Meditation has helped me relax and relieve the self-pressure I’ve applied over the past five years, and I’ve seen my blood pressure drop as a result.
Related to the point above, my resting heart rate usually is below 60. I am physically active as well, and I know that physical health contributes to lower resting heart rates, but I’ve been active for well over ten years now, but I don’t recall consistently having a resting heart rate that low. Since I’ve “upped” my meditation practice, I’ve lowered my resting heart rate.
One of the great benefits of meditation is building a sense of awareness. If you want to call it an awareness of the self, the non-self, the universe, or whatever you want to call it, I’ve benefitted from it nonetheless. I’ve noticed that I don’t get caught up in materialism. I don’t really care what other people have. I don’t need to have the latest gadgets or devices. Does that mean that I completely cut out the “creature comforts” of life? Absolutely not. However, I can safely say I am much more selective when it comes to deciding whether I really “need” something. I’ve noticed that I have found that I can live better with less.
Piggy-backing off of the observation above, with increased awareness I’ve been able to put some things into perspective, and realize that some of the things that people get worked up over are not really “big” things. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not significant, and if we stop paying attention to these things, they’ll go away. Some problems are perpetuated only by people talking about them. A breakthrough moment came to me last year when I was walking alone in the woods. I was thinking about all the things that were bothering me, and I thought, “Does this matter to the trees in this woods? Does it affect the woodland creatures that live here? Do they care?” I realized those things that were such a big deal to me were of absolutely no significance to the living things in the woods. I felt very small, and my concerns were so much smaller still. I realized right then and there that things aren’t as important as I believed them to be. Meditation has helped me to realize how unimportant and insignificant some things are.
Through increased awareness, I’ve realized that I had a hard time letting go of some things. I’ve made large efforts toward letting go of the need to be in control and make decisions. I’ve been working very hard on letting go of having the last word in a conversation. I know there are more that I’ve let go of along the way, but no doubt as my meditation practice has improved and developed, I’ve become more aware, and I’ve let go of more things that I didn’t even realize I was attached to.
This has proven to be a huge benefit. I’ve struggled my entire lifetime with keeping my emotions under control. I’ve gotten so much better, but I’ve got so much more to go. But, as long as I continue to meditate and build that awareness, I know I will continue to improve. It’s gotten to the point now where in the moment of losing control of my emotions I am consciously aware, at the moment, that it’s happening. The next step for me will be to stop immediately when that awareness comes. I’m getting close, but I still have some room for improvement.
Because of all the items mentioned above, I am much happier. It’s amazing how much our attachment to certain things and our tendency to get caught up in unimportant and insignificant matters can get between us and our happiness. The more aware I’ve become and the more I’ve been able to cut the unpleasant and unnecessary out of my life, the happier I get. Life is good!
This was the biggest surprise for me. At the beginning, meditation felt like something I was “compelled” to do. It was kind of like brushing teeth. It’s not exactly fun to do, but if you do it, you’ll benefit from the practice. That’s how meditation was for me. I did it because I knew I could get some benefits out of it. That really sounds selfish, doesn’t it?
What was surprising is that as I’ve really made an effort to do it consistently and deeply, I’ve enjoyed it more and more. I actually look forward to being able to meditate, and when I can’t I feel like I’m missing out on something. Meditation has become a joy to me, and it has become something that I eagerly anticipate. And, it’s become a practice that I do for the betterment of this entire universe, and not only me. I don’t do it for my own personal benefit, but when I do it I enjoy benefits in the way of feeling joy, love, compassion, and peace.
If you are interested in discovering what benefits you can get from meditation, but you don’t know where to start, feel free to contact me and let me know you’re looking for some help. I’ll be happy to engage in a dialogue with you and help you find a meditation path that works well for you.
Meditation is a wonderful practice to engage in. As you can see, there are many benefits to meditation, but you can’t experience those benefits just by reading about it or thinking about doing it. I wish you the best as you consider or continue your own meditative practice and routine.