PEOPLE FROM ALL FAITHS and practices have
widely varying belief systems, and yet those who practice meditation
whatever their faith are consistently serene, warm,
Maybe the belief system is of only minor
importance. Maybe meditation is what makes most of the difference.
It's the deep calm. It's the constant clearing out of cortisol and lactate that transforms a person's
The book, The Fine Arts of Relaxation, Concentration and
Meditation, Revised: Ancient Skills for Modern Minds, has
a huge number of exercises. The end result of all of them is
greater calm. They all result in a more profound sense of relaxation
and contentment. The right meditation technique to use is whatever
you want to use. They all produce peace, calm, tranquillity,
serenity, contentment, and bliss.
You'll be different with people when you
feel calm. You'll have more empathy. You'll be a better listener.
More patient. More forgiving. More open and comfortable with
people. Other people will feel more comfortable around you, and
uplifted in your presence. You will emanate love, goodwill, and
Are you meditating correctly? The litmus
test is to check right after meditating. Do you feel calm? At
peace? Then that technique is working for you. There are probably
hundreds that will work for you.
Mantra meditation two times a day for twenty
minutes each is the basic practice that most researchers have
found has a good effect (when you experience extra stress, you
can do a third 20-minute meditation that day and it will help).
Your state or mind and body is the context
in which everything else occurs. When you are in a calm state,
everything occurs within your calm state, and you'll respond
calmly, you'll think about it calmly. When you think about skipping
meditation, it is helpful to remember this. Your state is the
context in which everything else occurs. So put meditation first.
When you don't put it first, it becomes inconvenient one day,
and then you're too busy the next day and pretty soon you don't
do it any more. Put meditation first and it'll make everything
better. Literally. Your connections with people will be better.
Your health will be better. Your ability to handle stress and
conflict will be better.
When you first start to meditate, you'll
notice how different your daily life is. Then you'll get used
to it, and that's just the way it is, and it doesn't seem remarkable
that you are calm and peaceful. When you stop meditating, however,
there is a residual effect from the meditation you've already
done, and the changes of mental habits your calmer state has
created. So the calm goes away too slowly to notice. If you want
to stay motivated to meditate, remember the changes that happened
when you first started.
Meditation practice is not everything.
But it is the core. It is the foundation out of which even greater
sources of growth can spring. And when there is time for nothing
else, meditation is enough.
Meditation calms your body and steadies
your mind. It creates an effective physiology. A base. A foundation.
The rest of your waking hours, if you want more improvement,
use self-help stuff
Being calm is a good thing to be in most
circumstances. Noncalm leads to unwholesome actions far more
often than calm does.
So what cultivates calmness? And how can
calmness be restored when it is lost? Meditation is the answer.
Put meditation first.