For experienced gurus, there are countless ways in which regular meditation can affect daily health and happiness. But for those of us just beginning our journey, there are three basic ways in which we can understand how practice improves our mental, physical, and innermost being.
- Positive Mental Space – Meditation helps us become impartial observers in our own minds. With enough practice we learn to view most of the mental noise we deal with everyday as simply unnecessary – and this clarity is what allows us to go beyond the chatter and focus our full mental energy on the thoughts that enrich and enliven our existence.
Our life is what our thoughts make it – Marcus Aurelius
- Healthy Physical Presence – Meditation reminds us how to be fully present in one space; deep breathing and extended sitting anchor our bodies in the physical world so we are free to explore our inner depths. Additionally, meditation has been thought to improve blood pressure, muscle tension, and a host of other physical symptoms.
You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day, unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour – Zen Saying
- Encouraging Compassion – With patience, successful meditation can awaken us to our true connection with the greater world. Several meditative traditions (see Loving Kindness Meditation or LKM) concentrate exclusively such concepts – using mantras, chants and compassionate reflection to help us live with respect for all beings through our intentions and thoughts as well as our collective worldly actions.
Meditation is a flower and compassion is its fragrance – Osho
A final important concept shared by students and teachers alike – meditation is powerfully helpful, but remains one element in living well. Successful practitioners always emphasize the actual living part – applying our learned peace and wisdom throughout the entirety of our existence.