Peace is not a far-fetched state of existence, and intuition is not a mystical superpower. We look for peace outside, we look for signs outside, when in reality, all the answers lie within our own minds and hearts.
Someone asked me yesterday if I was losing my sleep over everything that’s been going on in my life lately. “Not at all“, I said, “On the contrary, I’ve been sleeping quite peacefully“. The other person exclaimed, “Taken up boozing or any other addiction, have ya!“. “Not really but you can say it is a kind of addiction- it is wellness- I work out and I meditate.”
Before I talk about the how-to of meditation (part 2), I want to highlight the real, tangible benefits of the practice and how they can potentially change a person’s life.
1. Meditation and Peace
I am not talking about world peace here, although I do believe that if everyone in this world was at peace with themselves, they wouldn’t go around fighting and imposing their own way of living and thinking on others. Insecurity begets fear and fear begets contempt. When we find peace within, we rise above our insecurities. We learn to face that which we fear instead of shunning it. We learn to respect and coexist with differing views because we don’t see them as threat anymore. Our faith is founded in reason, and we don’t worry about it collapsing just because the rest of the world doesn’t believe in the same things as we do. We don’t worry about majority, or confirming, we are content to be who we are.
But all that sounds too grand and glorious. In simple terms, when you find peace within, you won’t worry about what other people will say. You understand your strengths and your weaknesses, and you do the best with what you’ve been given. You don’t waste your time worrying about things which are beyond your control or influence. In this world of ever-increasing competition, it is almost impossible for a person to not feel the pressure to excel. So unless you take conscious steps and make guided efforts to seek some quiet time dedicated to reflection and introspection, peace can be unattainable. Ten minutes a day is all it takes to lay the foundation for a calm mind. It may take a while to get there, but once you’re there you will find yourself to be so much more productive than what you once were. You are more efficient because you are focussed on what matters and what you can control. Everything else is noise, and you realize that any time you spend worrying about this ‘noise’ is time you’ve lost not doing something you actually control. And ultimately, when you know that you haven’t wasted any time you can sleep peacefully.
2. Meditation and Intuition
A lot of people think of intuition as a psychic ability, a power to foretell events that are yet to happen, or a gift to see the future. Intuition is none of that, not the kind that I’m talking about at least. Intuition is simply being aware of your instinct, or the ‘gut feeling’. Instincts are not supernatural. They are very much scientific and evolutionary in nature. Our brains have evolved to pick up cues from our surroundings and constantly scan them for known patterns. Some of this cognition happens at a conscious level but there is a lot more that happens at a subconscious level. So as it is picking up these cues, the brain is also comparing them against all the information it has gathered through centuries of evolution. There are somethings that we just know. You don’t have to tell a baby that violence is bad for it to start crying when it hears loud, angry speech. The infant brain already knows what danger sounds like. But as we grow older and get sucked into the chaos of adult life, we don’t listen to our brain the way a child does. We analyze and analyze and analyze until we’ve driven ourselves crazy.
When you meditate and learn to be at peace with yourself, you also learn to trust yourself. It is this trust that helps you become more cognizant of your instincts and gives you the confidence to follow them. Too often people choose to ignore their instinct because they can’t find a rational explanation for the feeling. What if they followed it and things went wrong? What will people say? An enlightened person realizes two things: 1. You can only control your action, consequence is noise, 2. What people say doesn’t matter, if something does go wrong it can always be fixed.
Now obviously, you can’t expect your brain to shout out the winning combination for lottery. But you can turn to your instincts when meeting someone new- if you listen closely your brain will tell you whether or not that person can be trusted.
Meditation is not a fad, and its benefits are not makebelieve. I strongly encourage everyone to give it an honest try. In the next part I will share the simple steps I follow during my daily practice. All you need is a quiet room, and an open mind 🙂