Updated: Jan 17, 2021
The benefits of meditating are endless: Stress levels are improved, mental focus is enhanced and the practice of returning to your breath builds the muscles of attention and mindfulness.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily provide medical advice.
During your meditation practice, you learn how to return to, and remain in, the present moment — to anchor yourself in the here and now intentionally, without judgement.
I was going through an entire metamorphosis in 2018 – 2019. Things around me were falling apart left and right; my business was suffering, personal relationships were strained and I felt like I was losing control. On one warm, sunny day in May 2019, a voice inside of me instructed to sit down, be still and breathe. I was a little shook at first (after all, I heard the voice and I thought I was bugging out!) Once I followed the direction from Spirit, things started to change.
Some folks think that meditating is some pseudo hippie vegan thing to do. While I do eat plant-based foods, I am not a hippie (i.e. Freddie from A Different World). Crystals, chanting, levitating, gurus, mythical gods and goddesses, and nag champa incense … these are the things that came to my mind when I first heard about meditation. And I was VERY intimidated at first because I didn't think I was qualified enough (that's even crazy for me to type.) It's like this: if you are looking to release stress, calm the mind, boost creativity, and increase self-awareness, patience, productivity and compassion, meditation is for you.
Starting a meditation practice was one of the hardest things I’ve done. But it’s also been one of the most valuable. I wish someone had told me at the beginning to expect a challenge—I would have been more patient and understanding with myself. It’s important to set the expectation up front that being in the now—at times—can be the hardest place to be. If you know in the beginning that a meditation practice is meant to be rewarding and valuable in your life—but not always easy—you’ll also learn to be patient with yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, meditation can certainly be easy and effortless. Some people find that meditating comes natural to them right away, and it is in fact easy. But for others, like me, the ease of meditation takes time. It’s important to know that is normal at the beginning and it does get easier.
One way to increase motivation to meditate is to set strong goals. You need a compelling "why" behind your daily practice. So what will be the "why" for your meditation? For me, my main motivator was realizing that meditation was the number one practice for self-transformation. As an entrepreneur, personal growth has always intrigued me. When I learned that meditation would accelerate my personal development, I plunged wholeheartedly into it. Even when I was tired and meditation was one of the last things I wanted to do, I kept at it. I realized that each sitting session would contribute to the long-term results that I sought. Although your "why" may be different from the example I provided, in my experience, those who place meditation at the top of their to-do lists are often motivated to do so because they recognize that it is a radical agent for change.
I can absolutely guarantee that if you're looking for an activity that will lead to a beautiful, wonderful life that you'll find it in meditation. But until you believe this yourself, any number of distractions can keep you from your practice.
If meditation doesn't initially provide enough pleasure to maintain your attention, my advice is to be patient. If you hang in there, the joy will come. The more we practice, the more we'll crave its benefits. Over time your sitting practice will be the highlight of your day.