Ahhhh…another birthday has arrived. It reminds me to delve into life and suck the juices out of it. That life is for us to be happy and to be loved and to be enjoyed. So in a few weeks I am going to fulfill a dream I have had for many years. I am going to walk the Camino in Spain. 780kms. I’m told it changes your life. That whatever you ask for when you start it gives you. That sounds perfect to me x
People often ask me why I meditate. There is more and more talk about meditation in the mainstream media and people often are unsure if it is a way to chill out or if there is more to it.
The benefits of meditation are astounding. It is a wonder drug – the singular most life changing thing I have ever done. And the question I get asked straight before people ask me how to meditate is why do I do it.
I think most people ask themselves the question of how to be happier. We are sold a lie that acquiring more and more is the answer to this deep set need. But to be able to be content with ourselves and our environment is probably a much better answer to how to find happiness.
Meditation brings you to a relationship with yourself. No matter what is going on in you, whether you are happy, sad, frustrated or calm that time on the cushion is your time to just be with yourself – however you are. How few moments there are in the day when we are able to just be with ourselves. Our lives are packed with things we need to do, people we need to see, appointments we need to keep. And when we are not racing around we are less and less able just to sit still with ourselves. Our digital culture keeps us moving from one distraction to the next. And we are completely out of touch with who we are.
Meditation is one way to come back to that relationship. Just being with ourselves, on the cushion, with nowhere to go, is a profound experience. Research has shown the endless physical and emotional benefits from this practice. It reduces our anxiety and stress which is at epidemic proportions in the modern world. But most of all we start to feel well again, whole, connected, grounded, more loving and happier.
If you feel inspired why not consider coming to one of our amazing life changing retreats in India and learn how to make meditation an easy daily practice?
I am sitting on a flight right now and there is a guy on the aisle seat opposite me who is clearly famous – somewhere…The airline stewards are making such a fuss of him. They are asking him if there is anything they can do for him, trying to catch his eye they are smiling each time they pass him. It’s so funny to watch! One of them stopped and told him when she last saw him on a TV show. They all want his attention. Interestingly, because I don’t – he seems to want mine….
Why do we do that? Why are we so obsessed with fame? What do we think being close to someone who is famous brings us? Does it make us cool? More likable? There are so many people who contribute in the most extraordinary hidden ways in this world and yet because their job is not in the public eye no one is asking them on a flight if their every need can be met.
We are sold the constant lie that fame = success = happiness. Because that’s all we are really after at the end of the day, isn’t it? We are just trying to figure out how to be happier.
He is certainly not the poster boy for this lie. His fingernails are bitten down to a point where he barely has any and by the way he gripped the seat in front when we took off he also clearly has an anxiety for flying. He is balding, overweight and could desperately do with a few weeks in the sun. Does he look happy? Not from where I am sitting.
I believe happiness is a habit. It’s a series of things you choose to do and not to do day after day, week in week out, year in year out. Happiness is not an automatic result of being famous or rich. It’s the result of living in a particular way that enhances joy and positivity.
There are ways to change your life if you want to be happier.
It’s easy to get caught up in the “busy-ness” of everyday life. Our lives push it to do more, have more, be more. Sometimes it seems as though everyone around us is asking more and more of us and it can easily become overwhelming.
Over a decade ago I learnt a skill that changed and saved my life. I learnt how to meditate. At first it was so hard. I couldn’t imagine how I was ever going to to able to still my mind long enough to stop the plethora of thoughts that were running around in it like a TV screen on fast play. I would sit down on the meditation cushion and hope that for a moment the noise in my head would stop. It was like a radio channel that I could not turn off.
Sometimes I would venture to a group meditation class and dream of being one of the many other people who appeared to have their practice down to a fine art. They all seemed so focussed, so together, so still and I was afraid that I was the only person in the room whose mind was racing on high alert.
Slowly over time, practicing for short periods day after day, I realized that the very same thoughts were coming into my mind each day. And I began to get bored with them. I began to see them for what they were – just a series of habitual and repetitive places that my mind drifted off to. I began to slow them down. I began to lose interest in them. And the hold they had on me started to loosen.
Learning how to meditate changed my life. As my thoughts slowed down so did my emotional reactions – to everything. I began to understand that there was a gap between the thoughts and my reaction to them. That if I was able to create that space I would start to choose my actions rather than be a series of reactions.
For me it has been a path in how to be happier, how to be more confident in myself, how to live a much more balanced and joyful life. As well as being my daily medicine I also have the joy of teaching others how to bring this incredible practice into their daily lives. The results I have seen in those I teach have been inspiring.
If there is one piece of advice I would give to anyone who wants to live a happier life it would be – learn how to meditate. It’s a life changer