Which for me, until recently, seemed completely impossible as I never really noticed there was so much needing to be still. That is, until I tried to meditate, and then I realised that 98% of the thoughts I think every second of every day are complete and utter nonsense.
I’m sure you’re familiar with said thoughts, right? It’s those annoying little voices in your head that continuously chat to you about really wanting a piece of chocolate instead of starting that assignment, or the ones who tell you that you’re looking fat in those jeans when really, you looking amazing. Yep, those ones.
As I was saying before, I never really took any notice to these ‘voices’ or the general chatter in my head. I was so consumed with them, that I was oblivious to them actually being there at all. Which might sound like a complete contradiction but if you think about how aware you are of the clutter in your head, and what your brain actually does all day, it’s quite astounding. Not to mention near impossible to shut up.
I know this, Happy’s, because Wednesday night was the first night of my meditation course. It’s a course I have wanted to do for about 12 months now, as I wanted to learn the art of shutting up my brain and pushing the off switch whenever, and wherever, I liked. Here’s the rub: It’s not that easy.
Now, I’ve only recently discovered the power of meditation. Despite wanting to do it for so long, it took me ages to plonk my ass on the floor and sit still without scratching or twitching or wondering how long I’d been sitting cross legged for (2 minutes, if you’re wondering) and after trying it myself numerous times with different CD’s to assist in the process, I found myself in Carolyne’s (from Lotus Flower Energy) living room on Wednesday night, with 5 other women talking Deepak Chopra and The Wheel of Life before quietly meditating for a whole 30 minutes without too much trouble at all. Amazing!
For anyone with stress in your life, a newborn baby, sickness, or even lack of motivation, may I suggest you too indulge in a little brain off-switching? Of course, at my amateur level, there’s a lot less off and a lot more “Oh, there’s a bus going past”… “Oh wait, I need to remember my mantra”…”Why does a mantra actually help?”…”Hmm, chicken. Definitely having roast chicken and quinoa for dinner”… You get the gist.
The benefits of meditation are, quite literally, as long as a piece of string. And as this particular piece of string could wrap around the world ten times, we can safely say the benefits are endless. But for a more scientific opinion, we can thank the University of California for their study on meditation and the positive effects it has on the body.
According to their recent study, meditation improves health as it stimulates the production of telomerase, an enzyme that assists in the long-term health of your cells. Basically, when you meditate, the activity of telomerase is increased, and as telomerase helps you deal with stress and other of life’s less fun things, you comes out with more of an ability to cope with stress and have an increased sense of well-being. Winner!
“We have found that meditation promotes positive psychological changes, and that meditators showing the greatest improvement on various psychological measures had the highest levels of telomerase,” said Clifford Saron, associate research scientist at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain, as reported in The Times of India.
Wednesday night was definitely the beginning of something special for me. We sat quietly in candlelight, for a full 30 minutes and I was able to accept my thoughts and begin to let them go, rather than get stuck on silly things like roast chicken and quinoa. In fact, after a while the room started to spin, but Carolyn explained that was stress leaving my body and was perfectly normal. So, while I know I have a long way to go, a millisecond of stillness is better than nothing. Right? Too right.
I’ll be keeping you up to date on the whole process, as the course runs for 4 weeks but until then…
Have you tried meditation?
Are you aware of the clutter in your head?
Any tips on how to master the art?