I’ve now been blogging about the benefits of meditation for around two and a half years. The reaction has been interesting. The most common feedback I get, is when people say that I must have a lot of time on my hands. That’s the whole point!
Everyone has something to fill their schedule – work, kids, school, training, commuting etc etc. Most people would identify with the term “I don’t have a minute”. Well, guess what? That is not actually true. If we didn’t commute for two hours every day, we would find something else to fill that time-slot. If we worked ten hours less in a week, we wouldn’t spend those ten hours relaxing. We are very adept at filling voids, so that we can avoid having to quietly face ourselves.
Doing nothing does not mean sleeping. It is not achieved by watching television, or constantly checking social media. It is not ‘chilling out’ by drinking alcohol or getting high. It is not exercise. Those are all somethings. Doing nothing relates to the mind and not the body. In fact, we are so incapable of telling ourselves to switch off, that business leaders are now telling us to do it. Business now accepts the benefits of meditation.
For a long time, some of the worlds largest corporations paid for their staff to attend a gym, go to the movies, join social groups etc. The intention was simple – keep people healthy, and they will be more loyal and productive. Well, that may be true, and many continue to do so. But many now do it as a perk, not solely as a productivity tool. That is because a new realization relating to the benefits of meditation is now in vogue.
Slowly, companies such as Ford, Google, Apple, Adobe, and even Goldman Sachs among others, began to realize that the traditional methods of keeping staff healthy and motivated had a flaw. They are costly, and do not necessarily equate to increased productivity. So the realization was simple – by acknowledging the benefits of meditation, they are now encouraging employees to take time out. This is an increasingly popular benefit to business.
Meditation is not some hippy pass-time for those with unlimited free time. I know that this is a misconception, because that is how I once viewed it. But I am now extremely grateful that I embraced meditation. The benefits of meditation have helped me in so many ways.
Just for a second, stop to consider how often we check on things. Phone, car fuel level, speed, weight, train schedules, social media, our appearance etc. But how often do we do a check-up on the one thing that drives all of the things that we do? Most of us don’t use the brains equivalent to anti-virus, anti-malware software for our IT systems. Most people don’t even realize when they are out of sync.
Have you ever seen a person sitting and bouncing their leg up and down? Or tapping something incontrolably? Watching this is like witnessing some sort of mental twitch. The person does not realize they are doing it. I once did, and sometimes still do. But I find that the benefits of meditation quieten that restlessness. Meditation is a discipline, which helps me to understand how I can focus my attention. If I can train myself to focus on nothing, then for the remainder of the day, it becomes a whole lot easier to focus on the ‘somethings’.
The basic premise is that the subconscious if much more powerful than the conscious. When we meditate, we learn to discipline the subconscious, so that we can get better results by having a more concentrated conscious mind. The conscious mind is how we concentrate, enabling us to learn and follow logical tasks. Therefore we not only perform better, but we have greater capacity to appreciate and enjoy the world around us.
I also find that meditation gives me a more natural balance between humility and confidence. This, for me at least, is very important. Ego can be a destructive force. It is closely linked to a lack of humility. I have found that ego equates to me feeling that I am deserving of something good happening. Confidence is the feeling that I am capable of making something good happen. When I meditate, I feel more confident in the decisions that I make, and these are the decisions that positively affect my life. These are the benefits of meditation.
The companies who have introduced mindfulness in the workplace have done so to help their staff to be more innovative and concentrated on their work. Being more concentrated leads to better results. Six hours of concentrated work is probably better that eight hours of stressful laborious thought-interrupted work right? If a profit-driven multinational sees the benefits of meditation by asking tens of thousands of staff to do it, then don’t you think you owe it to yourself to do the same? By doing it on your own initiative, YOU get the benefits of meditation. It is surely worth a try. I tried it, and it is working for me.
If you are unsure how to meditate, you could start by trying The Paris Method; a five-step technique that leads to a peaceful state where you can meditate.
If you have tried it, look me up and let me know how it went for you – I love hearing feedback!