Most of us have heard of meditation, but why do it? Some people do it for the health benefits, some do it for the purpose of enlightenment, some do it to attract abundance. But what is common for everyone is that it simply makes us feel better. Slowing down and taking time for ourselves helps us feel more powerful and loved. Stillness is a rare experience but it is how we stay balanced and centered. If our internal energy is bouncing all over the place, mimicking the outside world we don't feel good. We feel overly emotional and have steep spikes and drops throughout the day. The ability to slow down is available to everyone. It can feel uncomfortable at first because we are not mirroring the outside world but if we are willing to move through the discomfort, it feels more natural overtime until it actually begins to feel pleasurable to sit with our feelings. We become aware of the many different parts of a feeling we label with only one word. For example, we say I feel stress but when we slow down, we see stress is a representation of feeling tired, bored, anxious, irritated, inadequate and under-appreciated all at once.
This deepening changes our relationship with time. Everything eventually slows down to a manageable pace when we allow our relationship with this moment to matter.
In my experience, I have been completely blown away by the effects of meditation and conscious perspective. I have encountered people who are irritable, easily bothered, passive aggressive and controlling when they are running a small family business with 15 employees and I have encountered others of the same age, with similar family backgrounds who can run multibillion dollar empires with hundreds of employees and be in a fairly good mood much of the time. What is the difference between these two kinds of people? It is their perspective and personal habits, that is all. There is no other difference except the differences in choice.
One kind of person refuses to slow down, thinks they have too many things to do and not enough time to do it in while the other person is always ready and willing to take more on and to slow down enough to choose the way they feel and communicate. One person believes that life is stressful and hard so they are allowed to take that out on everyone else. The other knows life is stressful and embraces that as a catalyst for growth.
So how do we choose to be the happier person?
1) Be result-oriented
Sometimes the thought of being result-oriented makes people feel pressure and stress. This feeling often comes from the way that work environments have conditioned our behavior. What I mean by result-oriented doesn't have to do with deadlines and sales goals. What I mean by results is being aware of what your ultimate goals and dreams are and being honest about whether or not your current habits are moving you toward these things or away from them. When you sit in meditation regularly, it becomes clearer which of your actions are inspired by love and which are inspired by fear. It also becomes easier to disconnect from our fear-based behavior and embrace our love-based behavior.
2) See how everything is connected
By sitting in meditation, even for 10 minutes a day, we are physically engaging in how one moment is connected to the next. By observing the rising and passing of our breath and the rising and passing of sensation in the body, we are observing the unfolding of life in real time. We may become more aware of the content of our thoughts and eventually observe how our thoughts are reflected back to us in day to day life.
3) Slow down
People often think that they will feel bored if they slow down but even if boredom is the initial reaction to removing stimuli there is something else waiting on the other side of boredom. In my personal experience, I wouldn't even call the sensation I felt after slowing down boredom, I would call it discomfort. I thought my external life seemed more boring initially but my physical experience was heightened. My body become hyper-sensitive and I was surprised at how much stimulation I was missing out on when I was living at a faster pace.
4) Be self-soothing
Learning self soothing is one of the most powerful and important life experiences. When we feel comfortable self soothing by practicing things like meditation, gentle exercise, positive self talk, napping, deep breathing, etc. we stop relying on things like unhealthy relationships, junk food and alcohol to make us feel better. The end result is, the more we can sooth ourselves without needing something from the outside world, the more confident we feel in our ability to handle any situation that arises. We are able to move into the space of unconditional living and leave behind a conditional relationship with ourselves and the people around us.
5) Change your relationship with time and thoughts
Time is not this big, bad scary monster that is out to get us. Time is simply a perception of our consciousness. It helps us notice the ways in which we change and grow physically, mentally and spiritually. If we see time as our friend and appreciate each moment, we will feel happy and free. We will feel excited about waking up in the morning and going on an adventure. When we bring meditation into our day with us and sit with uncomfortable moments, we begin to realize that's all they are -- just uncomfortable moments. When we let them pass without struggle, they do not kill us and we do not have to run away from them. And our thoughts about what we are feeling are completely up to us. It can be challenging to choose our thoughts one by one without letting our mind take control but it is a choice we can make that feels better in the long run.
-- A Little Love From Mala --