5 Convincing Reasons To Start Meditating
From msn.com article 2014 Featuring Paul Brown, Meditation Instructor, San Francisco
Between constantly poring over our computer screens and rushing around the city, it can be tough to find time to clear the mental clutter. But, finding the means to do so can have many benefits and for some people, meditation is key. Case in point: San Francisco's own Paul Brown, of QuietPath Meditation. Brown, an S.F. native, studied directly under a famous Yogi in the '70s, and over the past 40 years, he's taught thousands of students — including Karen O, Donna Karan, and the founder of the Troll doll (yes, really) — all over the world how to meditate. These days, he runs regular meditation classes in the Bay Area (the next one starts this week), in which he teaches students of all levels his QuietPath technique, which emphasizes the restorative power of brief, regular intervals of meditation. We caught up with the inspiring instructor, who provided us with a handful reasons why he believes we should all start meditating today. Ready to get zen?
Life Is More Fun
"Meditation is a 20-minute, twice a day vacation that allows us to transcend the chaos and turbulence of daily life. By sinking into a blissful, deep state of rest we allow for the body’s innate ability to repair itself. When you find a technique of effortless transcending, it becomes second nature to want to incorporate [that] as part of our daily hygiene and put the mind on ‘rinse cycle.' One of my clients said: 'I feel like there is a gentle conspiracy on nature's part to make me happy.' It’s true. We're more aligned, more in the flow."
Time Becomes Your Friend
"It’s so easy to get into a negative mindset and think, 'Oh, that's going to be hard. I don't have the time, how can I fit this into my schedule?' But, when we are operating with a clear, deeply settled, and naturally focused mind, we organically fall into alignment with what nature has planned for us. We do less and accomplish more. We get more bang for the buck."
Bad Habits Can Fade Away
"You'll be so surprised when that bad habit you could never seem to quit just simply falls away. And, you didn't even give it any thought! Just like shadows disappear when the sun comes up. One Monday evening, after the class had been meditating for three days, I asked if there were any success stories. No one could think of anything. After quite a pause, this woman said: ‘I forgot to smoke! I haven't had a cigarette since Friday!' Meditation provides a navigation system throughout the mysteries of existence. As my friend Don would say, 'How can I live all of who I am?' It’s about living deeper. It’s about happiness that can't be found in things. It’s about knowing yourself. With deepening consciousness, your true purpose, your larger purpose on the planet, your cosmic assignment in this lifetime becomes apparent."
A Sense Of Freedom
"Meditating is like having the force of nature on your side. What do surfers do? They catch a wave, and the whole force of the ocean is behind that wave. How powerful and majestic! When we are aligned with cosmic purpose, it’s simple and satisfying on the deepest level. We don’t engage in activity because of some unexpressed need, we are responding to a need of the universe. We operate from a totally fulfilled place, more and more. We operate with verve and enthuse. Someone told me enthusiasm comes from a Greek work meaning infused with the Holy Spirit. Maybe so. I feel whole, and holy, and full of the Spirit. And, also, inclined to do what feels right rather then what I should do. Funny how that all works out."
"Yes, it kinda sneaks up on you: fulfillment. One of the jaw-dropping effects of a regular meditation practice, and we're talking about an effortless practice of transcending, is tapping into that Field of All Possibilities or that place your high school guidance counselor would call your full potential. And, remember, you would shrug and say 'Oh, yeah right.' But, then, we get that effortless technique and we do it regularly, dipping into that satisfying place within our consciousness. We get rid of all that stress and fatigue. We replace doubt with awareness, certainty. We start just doing our life, enjoying it, and not trying to figure it out. No more analyzing. Every day gets easier and easier, simpler and more satisfying. We're enjoying so much support from the environment."
Changing What We Think About
There are a variety of positive and life supporting choices one can make to improve their life. Individuals can choose to improve their lives by education, changing beliefs, and discovering truths. We can read more, take classes, join groups. This approach is considered by Yale trained psychiatrist Harold Bloomfield, M.D. to be attempts to "change what we think about." By changing what we think about we grow and nobody would deny this. Why then is life still characterized by suffering, problems and lack. To discover what is missing, Bloomfield writes, one needs to go beyond information, beliefs, ideas, emotions and thought.
Psychologists point out that the average person thinks over 60k thoughts per day, most of which have been the thoughts we think every day throughout our adult life. We recycle perception and habits take hold. We tend to cling to the familiar and fear change. Our comfort zone regards the unknown as the enemy. The known becomes our prison and a life of mediocrity can often result. It goes much deeper than the notion one is 'stuck in a rut.' Fear of the unknown actually keeps us from growing.
Change what we think with
By studying the effects of meditation, Dr. Bloomfield made a profound discovery. For human life to improve we must change what we think with. This mind/body system must improve. We rest in the night and the system recovers from stress and heals. We do change what we think with and rest is seen as the basis for improving activity.
According to Bloomfield, meditation provides the solution. The deeper the rest, the greater the chance there is to heal and release stress, thereby enabling the nervous system to operate more efficiently. If we want to change what we think with we will need that deeper rest. He pointed out that researchers have seen that deep rest during meditation does dramatically release deep-rooted stress and fatigue. As the yogis say, "turn on the lights and the darkness disappears."