April 22, 2021
When the topic of meditation comes up, one of the most common questions that gets asked is, "Why should I meditate?"
First off, I don't want to be in the business of telling you what you should or shouldn't do. In fact, I think should is a dirty word that has all sorts of expectations and judgements intertwined.
My purpose here is not to pontificate.
My purpose is to share a personal perspective, to explore ideas that are alive for me right now, and to inspire a moment of pause and reflection in your inbox each week.
For me, meditation has helped in all sorts of ways, but if I had to choose one benefit, it’s that meditation has helped me become a better friend to myself.
What I mean is that the more I’ve sat in stillness, the more I’ve come to notice this persistent, pugnacious voice running wild inside my head.
In mindfulness traditions, this voice is often called your Inner Critic.
It’s often reminding me of what I should have done or what I should be doing.
It’s quick to point out my faults, and if I’m being honest, it’s often too quick to point out faults in others.
So what does meditation have to do with this?
Well, meditation is a powerful tool for self-awareness. Through sitting in silence, you become aware of what’s happening in your mind. It's helped me see this voice—the Inner Critic—in a different light.
I’ve come to realize that this inner voice is often speaking from a place of self-protection and self-preservation. In a sense, it’s trying to help me out.
However, it often causes unneeded stress and anxiety. It creates worry where there doesn’t need to be, it invents made-up stressful scenarios that never come to pass.
Mark Twain said it best when he wrote, “I've lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”
What’s helpful to know is that through meditation, the voice can start to quiet. I don’t think it ever goes away, but it loses some of its power.
The result is a feeling of ease and equanimity that can permeate your days.
When you’ve won the inner battle, everything on the outside just feels a little more manageable.
Maybe you can relate to this message. And if you do, maybe you’ll find a new curiosity in exploring the ancient practice that is meditation.
Or maybe meditation brings a whole different benefit to you, who knows?!
This certainly isn’t the only upside to the practice, but it’s definitely one that keeps me coming back to the stillness.
Thanks for reading. Here's a nugget of wisdom to take with you on your way.
What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.
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