I have been meditating intensionally for the past five years now. Being that I grew up in a religious house where God and prayer were daily conversations, meditation was something that I have been aware of since my youth. I recognize that I have been practicing meditation for many years in a variety of forms. However, in the last several years, a need for quiet, seated meditation has become more of a necessity.
Over the past five years I have shifted from being quite depressed, anxious and overwhelmed by fear into a more peaceful, balanced and effective state of being. When I was in the depths of my depression I felt that I had absolutely no tools to battle my negative thoughts and feelings. I felt powerless. Then I found meditation. Meditation has changed me in countless ways but I thought I would share with you the three obvious ways in which meditation has directly changed my personality and my internal state of being.
Clarity - Calm - Coherence
The word “clarity” is truly an understatement. It is the closest word to what I have come to experience as my mental state with the help of meditation. I am often pushed left and right throughout my day as I go about experiencing the world and the many forms of energy within it. Being an empath I soak in other people’s energy all day and I have had to learn over the years how to balance this out. Meditation is a perfect tool for reestablishing my mental balance.
When I am overwhelmed with life the first thing to become compromised in my mind space is my sense of clarity. I feel as if I cannot see the big picture any more. A feeling of wanting to give up takes center stage in my thoughts. I know that I am in touch with Source (God) always but there are moments where I feel that I am not as close as I would like to be. Meditation is the perfect ailment for this dis-ease.
Over time meditation has shown me a deep sense of connectivity with the Divinity within my being. The connection with the Divine within has brought with it many side effects. The obvious being clarity. Meditation helps to “un-distort” my brain. When I take time to breathe and experience the peace of my now moment I gain a bit of distance between me and all of my messy thoughts. As I begin to step away from these messy thoughts they also begin to step away from me. I can come back to reality as it is without those bombarding thoughts. And when I do, I find a whole new reality. When I open my eyes after meditating I not only sense that I have shifted out of my anxiety but I know that I am a new person. Meditation helps to wipe the mental slate clean thus offering clarity. And with a clearer state of mind I can communicate with my family, friends and world in a much deeper and healthier way.
The word “calm” is an attribute of peace. Is this not the number one thing we are all searching for? Peace. It is a feeling of calmness. A knowing that all things will be alright; that all things are alright. I have an awareness that Life is working with me because I am working with Life. Oneness is my true nature with all of existence and in that connection there is calm. There is a relaxing of tension because it can be recognized deep within that all disfunction stems from the obsessive thoughts of the ego brain. When I am in meditation I can shut that part of the brain down and find the stillness of Life outside of thought.
Thoughts are useful. They are a tool. But the moment that one becomes addicted to thought (with the help of the ego) then one’s mental space begins to become overridden with unnecessary thoughts. Constant thinking and processing keeps your brain from finding the peace within that has never left. It is you that has left the Peaceful Kingdom Within. A wonderful analogy is that of silence in music. Music is analogous to thoughts and silence is analogous to your true state of being. Silence is peaceful, calm and all-pervasive. It is the medium which is pregnant with possibility. Sound breaks through the silence and punctuates reality. Sound divides this silence giving the ear rhythm and melody. But once the music is over it is obvious that silence was there all along. Much like the peace that is the foundation of existence.
In meditation I am simply sitting and breathing with all of my awareness in one quiet spot. That’s it. Nothing “mystical” except that this simple act of sitting and breathing has revolutionized my mental space. By taking a break from my constantly obsessive ego brain I come back to the real foundation of reality which is peace and quiet. Silence has never left my reality even though at times Life has become quite noisy in order to get my attention. But now that Life has my undivided (unified) attention/intention once again I have begun a process of profound change which leads me deeper and deeper into the Peaceful Kingdom Within.
The word “coherence” describes what it is like to use both sides of your brain at the same moment in time. In truth, you cannot use only one side of your brain. However, you can filter your reality through one side more than the other. For instance, when you perceive your reality through the left brain you will see the logic in the world around you. You will discover causes and effects. The left brain loves numbers and symbols. When you perceive your reality through your right brain you discover all the beautiful acts of randomness in the world around you. The right brain is about creation, expression and spontaneity (something that the left brain has a hard time with).
To be in a “coherent” state of mind is such that you have found a balance between these two mental functions, or lenses. The world is not perceived as black and white (logic) only. And the world is also not seen as totally random (creative chaos). A coherent state of mind is found when you can balance these two extremes and thus create peace in your mental space.
Meditation is not the only way to bring balance to these two hemispheres of the brain. Many activities also generate this type of mental coherence. I grew up in a musician’s house so playing piano started in my youth and continues to this day. This is a perfect example of an activity that uses the entirety of the brain. Not only do my left and right hands operate independently but my logical (left) side works on expanding my skill while the right side works on generating passion and emotion through my playing. Both sides are active with the activity of playing piano and so the brain becomes very quiet. There are limitless physical activities that help to create mental balance.
Other activities I do which generate mental coherence are rock climbing, yoga, hiking, swimming, dancing, etc...
The state of coherence is characterized by a deep sense of peace and alertness. This is the mental state that many masters have talked about throughout time. A state of pure being outside of obsessive thought.
In truth there is no way to put into words the gratitude I have for my meditation practice. I have found wonderful teachers who have shown the way before me. I am honored to share the way with others who find me. I have found a deeper sense of peace and relaxation even in the midst of allegedly stressful situations. I am more clear with my communications. More confident in my awkwardness. More accepting of who I am. More willing to just be and know that all of Life is here with me, supporting me.
Clarity. Calm. Coherence. These are three ways in which I have benefited from a regular meditation practice. Please leave a comment below and let me know one or two ways you have been affected by your practice of meditation. Or feel free to ask a question on the subject.