There are many benefits of meditation that can be grouped into two categories. The first category includes improvements to our health and happiness, while benefits from the second are more subtle—revealing how our minds work, which enables us to make better choices in relating with ourselves and others.
Most people have heard about the benefits of mindfulness meditation to our health. By practicing a short period of time each day we can experience calmness, less anxiety and stress, an improved ability to concentrate, less emotional distress and better sleep.
With stress reduction, many scientific studies are showing improvements to our immune system, blood pressure and a lower likelihood of stress related illnesses. By giving ourselves quality time just a few minutes a day we can begin to feel happier and calmer and life’s challenges seem more workable.
Mindworks trains us in not only mindfulness meditation that provides temporary relief by calming the mind from its daily barrage of thoughts and emotions, but also in awareness practice that leads to a genuine personal transformation. The difference is like cutting off a weed at ground level that inevitably grows back versus digging it up by the roots. Even though we may experience a sense of space and calm during mindfulness practice, it may be difficult to remain so in post-meditation situations when we are again bombarded with thoughts and emotions in our daily lives. However, we use the calmness gained in mindfulness meditation as a stepping stone to awareness practice.
With awareness practice we learn how to work with our minds and our emotions. We actually weaken and eventually uproot tendencies to react to situations in non-beneficial ways such as with stress, panic or anger. We begin to lessen our attachment to our self-importance. This is profound and can lead to a remarkable change in our lives.
We become more open and tolerant and begin to genuinely care about others. This focus on others lessens our own fears and anxieties, which are based on placing unnecessary importance on maintaining ourselves. The irony is that the more we think of others, the better we feel. This results in a sense of well-being that not only carries the temporary benefits of mindfulness, but has the long lasting benefits of a spacious mind, more flexible disposition and being less prone to disappointment and dissatisfaction.
The benefits don’t stop here. Gaining more understanding ourselves, we become examples for others. Our well-being is contagious. The spaciousness and kindness we experience naturally radiates out to our world. All of us have a network of families, friends and coworkers who have their own problems and challenges. We become more skilled at listening to and being of benefit to others. Our calm demeanor and gentle ability to be present are the best gifts we can offer.
And yes, all of this comes from stopping what we’re doing and sitting down to meditate a few minutes a day. If we practice with sincerity and consistency, inevitably we will notice a refreshing change in our way of thinking. Rather than blaming the world for our problems and feeling helpless, we feel joyful and empowered. We discover an inexhaustible reservoir of our own goodness. Ultimately, meditation shows us how to become who we truly are—the best human beings we can be.