Do you know meditation not only decreases stress levels but also has range of health benefits like improved immunity an increased positive emotion?
Sometimes it is good to experience things directly with little knowledge of them. Limited knowledge acts as a tool to help us perceive things with a more open mind than usual. This is exactly what I experienced recently in my ten days of Vipassana Meditation course at Mumbai.
I heard about the word Vipassana last year from one of my corporate friends. His story of the array of benefits he experienced post Vipassana in his professional as well as personal life had me thinking. Then during my coaching certification I heard about Vipassana again from one of my coach friends who also talked about the life transforming positive changes it brought about in her life. This captured my imagination as I like and value both these friends in my life. Not knowing much about what Vipassana was, I went ahead and took up ten days of a Vipassana meditation course. So what happened in these ten days?
Let’s leave this unanswered; however what I would love to answer and share is the learning experience that I had during this time.
Memories of Meditation
1) Know yourself – know yourself inside out. During the course, I caught myself judging things, forming opinions, having expectations, beating myself up, loving myself, respecting others and experiencing a range of emotions in the beginning. Gradually I became more aware of myself and my thoughts.
2) Have dreams – It is important to have dreams and desires in life. There is nothing wrong in wanting health, wealth and happiness. When we work dedicatedly and stay focussed on our dreams, they do come true. With this, we encourage others to dream it and achieve it.
3) Be Selfish for the greater good – Give yourself a priority for the greater good of all. When we are happy, we spread happiness and when we are angry we spread anger. Do good to yourself as well as to others. As is often said that when you think of doing good to others, something good has already been done to you.
4) Work hard in the right way – There is no substitute for hard work. Anything worth achieving requires hard work, and a lot of it. However we need to learn to work hard in the right way. Choose your friends, mentors and coaches wisely.
5) Forgive yourself fully – Learn to forgive yourself for the mistakes of the past. We do not have to forgive others for the bad being done by them (as we perceive); we have to forgive ourselves to allow bad things to happen to us.
Myths of Meditation
1) Meditation is difficult – This myth is due to the association of images with the word meditation. When we learn meditation from an experienced and knowledgeable teacher, meditation is not only easy but also a lot of fun.
2) You have to calm your mind to do successful meditation – Many people give up meditation as they find it difficult to enter the ‘no thoughts’ zone. During meditation, we do not have to stop or control our thoughts but have to observe them happening and decide how much attention we want to assign these thoughts.
3) It takes a lot of time to start enjoying the benefits of meditation – The benefits of the meditation are immediate as well as long term. A landmark study led by the Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found that as little as eight weeks of meditation not only helped people experience decreased anxiety and greater feelings of calm but also produced growth in the areas of the brain associated with memory, empathy, sense of self, and stress regulation.
4) Meditation needs lot of time to practice – If you can take 5 – 10 minutes out every day to start meditating, it’s great. If you cannot, then I remember what Oprah says “Take 5 minutes to center yourself. If you don’t have 5 minutes, you do not deserve the life of your dreams”. The choice is yours.
5) You cannot meditate with open eyes – While it is recommended to meditate with closed eyes, you may meditate with open eyes as well. Some people find closing eyes more effective and you have to find out what works the best for you. Remember that we do not meditate to impress anyone so if you are comfortable meditation can be done with open eyes.
Happy Meditation !