Four years ago if someone told me that my life would be better if I was just present and mindful I would have kicked them in the nuts. Of cause this speaks loudly to where I was at that period of time…
Although in previous chapters it was vital to write about the past and the future it has all been one big lead up to this important topic, presence. But why is it so important?
If you are a natural sceptic I completely understand your reluctance to jump into this new age fad. Yet as much as the western world has steered towards it recently, this simple principle has been a familiar message since before even budda was born in the 6th century B.C. In fact, the first writings about meditation (which is a basis of being present and mindful) were found in India during 1500BC. And although the message of being present appears simple, when you break down the layers of how and why practicing it is so important, the complexity behind doing this becomes apparent whilst the benefits towards your psychology is revealed.
Meditation is about stabilizing the mind. Psychologists have found that just 5 to 10 minutes of meditation calms down a part of your brain called the amygdala. Part of the amygdala works with emotions and when this area of your brain is in overload it is hard to concentrate, see past your own situation/trauma’s/depression, or be able to function well in the 9 to 5 world. For this reason calming this area of your brain and possibly training it to be consistently calm, although hard, can be an important thing to do. Some will say that you are ‘bringing yourself back to center’ but really you’re just slowing down the engine so you have more stability behind the wheel.
So yes, meditation is said to be important though it’s the end result of mediation that we are actually seeking. This is mostly referenced as mindfulness. This comes through acceptance of who and where you are now whilst masting the ability to calm the mind to a point where thoughts don’t trigger emotions. Fondly enough you can get similar benefits from a massage, a warm shower or what our age likes to do best, over eating. The key is to bring yourself back into the present moment and out of your thoughts of the past and future. This is to be done not through distraction (like watching TV) but through being aware of oneself without/despite distractions. I do have to agree that meditation is an easy way to do it, though if crossing your legs and sitting in front of a candle isn’t right for you there are other options available. I personally believe there is a form of mindfulness that suits each one of us, even if it is unconventional. And yes, I will be going through these in later blogs and podcasts.
(I will continue this discussion in the next blog)