By Deb A. Garbeil
I’ve been meditating for about 5 years now. One question I am often asked is, why? Why do you meditate? I meditate for many reasons, some physical, some mental and some I just can’t put into words…
For me, meditating helps me to calm my body, my breaths become deeper and slower, and my overall body feels relaxed and I feel like I can literally walk with greater ease in the world. I find this to be a gift with our current state of typically overscheduled and demanding lives, but also particularly helpful for those of us who live in or near a city. After meditating, I am able to walk through the noise of the city and just notice the sounds and let them go, like the flow of a river. I no longer ‘take in’ those sounds and allow them to weigh me down or get stuck in my mind. They happen, I notice them, I let them go and I move on to the next moment striving to do the same. This is a consistent practice for me.
One of the first things I noticed about the benefits of my meditation practice, is that my mind now leads with compassion. Compassion for others, myself, nature, everything it seems. Thoughts that can be categorized as anxious, judgmental or nervous are now replaced with compassionate ones. As you can imagine, this has improved my outlook on life, my mood, and my relationships with friends, family and even myself.
Above are just a few examples of why I meditate, I see the benefits as limitless. When I started I searched for a beginner class near my home. It was a little bit daunting, maybe due to the common misconception that you have to sit still for hours, in silence, on the floor with your fingers pinched together. But my wonderful teacher quickly taught me that you can take this route, if that is your choice, or you could also start with just a few minutes a day, in a quiet space, in a comfortable position and just breathe. When I learned to stop and turn my attention inward and focus on the moments, all else seemed to fall into place.