Why Meditate?

Alain Japanese Garden with Bruce Lee quoteWhen I was visiting the Japanese Gardens is Spokane last weekend with my family, I thought of what a nice setting that would be to do some meditating, but since I was with my family, I didn’t have the opportunity to do more than a few deep breaths and mind clearing. I also thought at that time that I should write a blog post about mediation and why one should mediate this week, and therefore I am doing that now.

 

Meditation is a time-honored practice that has many benefits. It doesn’t require you to follow a particular religion or any other woo-woo type practices. You don’t need a guru, sensei, sabom, sifu, or ancient robed guide. You don’t have to chant, hum, burn incense, rub crystals, sit like a pretzel, or any other mystic or far-out practice if you don’t want to. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t include those or other practices into your meditation sessions if it helps you achieve your goals for meditating.

 

At its simplest, you can meditate right now by sitting in a comfortable position with a straight back and breathing deeply as you follow your breath. You just relax, breathe, and clear your mind. That’s the basis of meditation. And you can do it sitting, standing, walking, or other simple activities. Yes, some instructors teach more complex forms of mediation, but you can gain all the benefits from a very simple practice. More isn’t necessarily better, and complex is not necessarily better.

 

Personally, I like simple. Meditating is simple. At least it is for me and many others who meditate regularly.

When I was at the park, I did meditate for a minute or so. I wished I’d had the opportunity to mediate for 10 to 20 minutes, but with my family and dinner nearing, it wasn’t in the cards that day. But I did breathe deeply, clear my mind, and practice mindfulness for a minute or so when I was over by the waterfall by myself. That’s mediation! I meditated for a minute or so. And guess what? If that’s all you did daily, you would still benefit. However, I think you will benefit more if you spend a bit more time mediating daily.

 

These are some of the benefits people claim and that you can experience through regular mediation:

 

  • Stronger focus and concentration
  • Reduced tension, anxiety and stress
  • Better sleep
  • Clearer thinking and less emotional turmoil
  • Control anger
  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Support in kicking addictions and other self-defeating behaviors
  • Greater creativity and enhanced performance in work and play
  • Increased self-understanding and self-acceptance
  • Eliminate or reduce fears
  • More joy, love and spontaneity
  • Deal with pain
  • Ability to learn faster
  • Greater intimacy with friends and family members
  • Conquer depression
  • Enhanced physical relaxation
  • Deeper sense of meaning and purpose
  • Perform better
  • Glimpses of spiritual dimension of being

I think the simplest answer to why one should meditate is because it works. You can achieve all of the benefits listed above and more through meditation. In his excellent little book “Meditation For Warriors” Loren W. Christensen wrote this about mediation, “Warriors use it because it works.” He then shared some examples from soldiers and law enforcement officers of how mediation helped them with their duties. It works, and that is why you should include meditating into your training.

 

And it doesn’t matter what you are training for. If you train in the martial arts to compete and win tournaments, meditating can help you win. If your focus is on self-defense for military, law enforcement, or just personal protection of yourself and family, meditating can help you be better prepared. If you train for health and fitness benefits, meditating will help you achieve greater levels of fitness. It really is a universal practice that can help in many areas of your life.

 

I think the most important reason I meditate is to calm my mind so I can get more done. However, I have also experienced a number of those other benefits listed above. I have also benefited at times from doing specific meditations for certain goals or outcomes.

 

The main purpose of this article was to share some of the benefits of meditating and why you should incorporate it into your training and life. If this aspect of training is of interest to people, I’ll include more on the topic with future articles in my monthly e-newsletter and future blog and Facebook posts. Please let me know by commenting if this is an area you want more articles on.