I call it magic, but really—it’s much simpler than that.
So, I’ve been meditating with Oprah and Deepak for the past eight nights. In a row. Quite the record for me!
I’m definitely starting to feel a difference already.
I feel my heart rate slow. My body relax. The mind can take some work—some nights are better than others.
But, that’s okay!
It’s such an incredible feeling of release—and an empowering feeling of being able to influence my body. And mind—work in progress!
Because, as we talked about in the last post—meditation isn’t some unconscious practice that scoops us up and sends us off to faraway lands.
It’s a very conscious practice, that brings us into our body—into our mind.
And, this ability to calm our bodies, to soothe our overwrought minds, in our hectic world, is so vital—for so many reasons.
Fight or flight/less
Most of us have heard of fight or flight? This is us when we’re in our heightened stress state.
Although, it’s now called fight, flight or freeze—or, as I like to say, fight or flight/less.
This mode of being originated way back in the day, when we were hunter gatherers and survival from things like lions and tigers and bears was a pretty top priority.
The trouble is—we seem to have adopted this state as our regular way of being.
Running late for work? Stress.
Closed the wrong internet tab? Stress.
Can’t get past a level in Candy Crush? Stress.
I’ve never actually played Candy Crush—does it have levels?!
Anyway, you get the point—we’re living in a heightened state of stress. A state of stress that occupies most of our time. A state of stress that affects our body and mind—and not in a good way. Any good ways!
Getting really real
Meditation helps us to put our fight or flight/less mode back where it belongs—with the lions and tigers and bears, or actual threats to our actual life.
It helps us to get back in touch with reality—with what’s important.
And, slowing down, taking care of ourselves? Important.
Candy Crush? Not so much!
What I’ve discovered is that meditation has slotted into the day really easily and quickly become something that I treat as important.
Something that I actually look forward to—quite unexpected, it’s not a chore at all!
It’s 15 or 20 minutes of quiet, calm bliss.
I know you might be thinking (I am, too!)—well, super, we get 20 minutes of bliss, but what about the other 23 hours and 40 minutes of the day?
This is where time comes in.
The long haul
It won’t happen overnight (or even in eight nights), but the more we regularly practice, the greater the reach of its benefits.
When we start to truly relish in that feeling of ease and release we get in those 20 minutes—then, we can begin to recognise when we’re not feeling it. So, when we find ourselves in our stress state, we can use our breath, our experience of meditation, to flip the switch—to return to our feeling of balance.
And, beyond that—our mind and body will start to come to the party, more and more. It doesn’t take long, either—I say long haul, but within as little as two to four weeks, studies are showing how much meditation can change the quality and density of grey matter in our brains.
For the scientifically-challenged (I’m with you!), this is a good thing!
Brain scans of meditators, both experienced and newbies, have shown improvements in areas of the brain responsible for emotional regulation, attention, empathy, stress, and anxiety.
If that can happen in a couple of weeks, imagine the good it will do for us if we practice on a regular basis forever?
Maybe, it really is magic?!!
One thing I know for sure—there is no downside here.
Practicing meditation can only do good things for us, so I highly recommend giving it a crack. You can still sign up to Oprah and Deepak’s free 21-day meditation experience—a gentle introduction to the practice, a great way to ease your way into it.
Or just find a track on YouTube. Guided or not. Music or not. 1 minute, 5 minutes, or 20.
All we need to do it sit. Breathe. Be.
Let the magic begin!