I must admit I was skeptical when I first came to meditation. I thought: why meditate when I can nap? Or catch up on social media? Or grab a coffee? It seemed like a waste of time until I tried it. The first couple of tries, I lasted only a couple of minutes before my mind raced around to things I needed to do or I fell asleep. Gradually, I built up those minutes and noticed great benefits to my emotional health.
Now I consider meditation my sanity practice. From each session (even short ones of 10-15min) I emerge calm, cool and collected. I am happier and more grateful. Instead of a waste of time, meditation actually saves time by calming and focusing the hyperactive yet unproductive mind. We live in an overstimulated and highly distracted time, where information and stimuli fly at us non-stop. It is vital that we disengage from the constant din and tune into ourselves, build in space to reflect and listen to our inner being.
A ten or fifteen-minute meditation serves to tune out the world out and tune inward so that we can slow things down, calm the nervous system, and allow the mind a chance to settle itself. Even if we start off a meditation by listing all the things we need to get done, as long as we keep going and practice letting go, by the end of a session calmness will return to us and chaos will bow to order.
Reasons to meditate
The benefits of meditation are numerous and personal. Here are some of the most common:
- Establishes inner calm
- Augments mental and emotional clarity
- Gets you in touch with your creativity
- Increases your attention span and intuition
- Adds to your appreciation of life and people
- Helps you get a good night sleep
- Slows down ageing (decreases tension-related problems such as hypertension and anxiety; improves immune system)
- It’s free therapy!
All you need to meditate
“If you have time to breathe you have time to meditate.” – Ajahn Amaro
Meditation works in our complicated lives because it is the opposite of complicated. It is just about relaxing and letting go of everyday anxieties. It is taking one breath after another and listening to the sound of air entering and exiting through your nose.
Here’s a quick primer to start a meditation practice:
- Find a quiet spot to sit.
- Set a timer (so you don’t distract yourself checking the time).
- Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
- Breathe deeply, in and out through your nose. Relax.
- Let your thoughts come and go without trying to shepherd or judge them. If you get stuck on a thought, count your inhalations and exhalations. Notice how the air feels going in and out of your body.
- Surrender to the moment.
Meditating in a group setting is also very beneficial. Many people find the communal energy both healing and energizing. There are lots of courses and drop-in meditation classes on the North Shore.
North Vancouver Recreation & Culture offers an excellent program called Breathe, Flow, Meditate with Will Blunderfield
. It includes mindful breathwork, yoga postures to build strength and ends with a guided meditation. Next course starts September 11 at Delbrook Community Recreation Centre. Click here to view course
. Fall registration begins Wed. August 15, 2018 at 7:00am.
Wiley is a long-time North Vancouver resident. She works as a technical writer and is the current newsletter editor for the North Shore Writers’ Association. She spends her free time feeding her twin passions of creative writing and hiking. She recently discovered a potential third passion - the pottery studio at the Delbrook Community Recreation Centre.