The Myths of Meditation: Why It's So Hard to Begin
The trifecta of tragedies in Japan (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster) have caused an undue amount of stress even for those who didn't actually experience it. In the wake of the disasters, people have started to realize that in order to help fix our seemingly broken universe, they're going to have to join forces and think outside the box.
That's the idea behind group meditation events such as the one Deepak Chopra is leading early in the week. According to Chopra, “we know that when a large group comes together to meditate and experience inner silence, the world shifts a little." Chopra's hope is that the collective intentions will promote healing for the Japanese.
He's not the only person to turn to meditation. The age-old practice has long been a powerful tool to help evolve personal and universal consciousness. But in order for it to work, you have to actually do it. Unfortunately, for many people who would like to take advantage of the benefits, meditation remains a mystery. When it comes to actually sitting down and going within, I've noticed that a lot of people give up before they've even really begun.
It doesn't have to be that way. Anybody can meditate. You don't have to be a Buddhist monk or be able to twist yourself into advanced yoga positions in order to do it. The first step to learning how is to figure out and challenge those things that stop you. It's worth the effort. Research has shown that it has profound healing effects on both body and mind. "Any condition that's caused or worsened by stress can be alleviated through meditation, says cardiologist Herbert Benson, MD, well known for three decades of research into the health effects of meditation.
As a long-time meditator and certified meditation teacher, I know that what he says is true. It's helped to improve things in my own little orbit. I credit the ancient practice not only with reducing my own levels of anxiety, but with teaching me that although I can't change the things that happen around me, I can choose how to react to them in a more positive way. Meditation has also helped me to stop empowering unruly thoughts, such as the kind that arise when the world around me is in turmoil.
But it's also helped me recognize that it doesn't take a catastrophe to send my thoughts into chaos. Though the headlines of disaster continue to swirl, the truth is, like most of us, I don't need a crisis to lose my center. Life has a way of raining on our intentions. It constantly throws us into situations that challenge our equilibrium. Meditation can help, but first you have to understand what it really is, and how to go about it.Continued on the next page