I have explored meditation many times. For years I practiced yoga and meditation was very much a part of my weekly practice in class. Meditation has always appealed to me as a way of dealing with the stresses and strains of modern life.
I wonder how differently I might have coped during the most stressful recent past had I continued in making meditation part of my daily practice? Instead I drank coffee and wine and became fully immersed in the emotional pain which inevitably developed into physical pain. The pain became centred in my Gluteus Maximus – literally I had a pain in the arse. I couldn’t walk without crying and had no sensation in my toes. I tried everything from massage to physiotherapy, from acupuncture to valium and from steroid injections to finally rediscovering meditation. Quite some range of eastern and western treatments.
It flared up again before Christmas, this time due to overexertion in the gym – I’m 49 I need to remind myself not 19. I decided to take matters into my own hands whilst on an NHS waiting list and see how I might help heal myself. I read a blog on meditation for pain management and had nothing to lose.
My problem with meditation had always been that the moment I’d sit down legs crossed and hands in lap, my thoughts would begin – ‘did I lock the back door, did I switch my phone on silent, what’s in the freezer for supper, I wish someone would stop that dog from barking, why didn’t he text me last night, oh this is useless. Right count my breathing again 1 on the in breath and 2 on the out breath, 1 on the in breath and 2 on the out breath.. I must phone my mother and see how she is, I wonder if that client will call me back, I wish I hadn’t had that second cup of coffee…..oh what’s the point’ …..this is what I call my monkey mind. I would end up feeling more stressed and wonder why I bothered in my Zen practice.
I needed help and being an iPhone and App fan I decided I’d look around for meditation and mindfulness Apps and what do you know, there are a lot out there. I found a brilliant one that has been serving me very well.
It begins with just 10 minutes a day, the wonderful Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk guides me in my daily practice. He set up www.getsomeheadspace.com and is currently working with Selfridges in London having created No-Noise pods for shoppers to Take 10 minutes out of their day for some calm, peace and quiet.
I have found a way to meditate that suits me, each of us is different. Meditation is now something I do everyday. These are some of the benefits of meditation for me.
- whatever state of mind I start with I feel better and more alert afterwards
- I feel my physical body relax and let go of any pain I might have been experiencing
- I feel more awake and more able to concentrate after my meditation
- I find things I’d been ‘worrying’ about are no longer issues
- I’m sleeping better – this is reason enough for meditating for me!
Other reported benefits of meditation are -
- reduction in stress, anxiety and depression
- happier and calmer
- a reduction in our cravings and addiction
- improvement in focus and creativity
- improvement in relationships, sex and intimacy
- boosts the immune system
- eases headaches, PMT, asthma, high blood pressure, cholesterol
- deepens spiritual relaxation
- provides peace of mind, helps keep things in perspective.
Is it worth a go? Let me know of your meditation practices.