A Guide To Meditation Part 1: How Meditation Saved Me

At the time, it was hard to believe the notion that sitting silently and just focusing on my breath for say...30 mins...could significantly improve my mood much less grant me an enduring peace. However, after battling depression for several years, I decided that I had nothing to lose by giving the suspiciously simple exercise a go. I sat on the floor and followed my friend's instructions: folded my knees, sat upright, closed my eyes and attempted to quiet my mind. At first, it seemed difficult and I felt both annoyed and frustrated by not being able to gain control of my thoughts, which came as relentlessly as water rushing over a dam. I silently berated myself for my incessant mental chatter. That was just it though, I was trying and judging and forcing something to happen. As I stopped trying to control my thoughts and allowed them to pass without judgement, they ebbed and serenity embraced me. It was the first time in a very long while that I felt such a profound peace. After the 30 minutes had passed and I opened my eyes, the feeling was still with me. Three hours later it was still with me. It was as though I was immune to worry, fear, anger,impatience and other manifestations of negative thought. They would come but they would not move past an imperceptible filter. I decided that I would meditate the next day and see if the outcome would be the same. It was! The next day too... and the day after that. Before long, I was meditating twice a day, at times for an hour at once. The strange exercise I had been reluctant to try was now something that I eagerly looked forward to doing. This was not as a result of some addiction but because I felt the markedly positive differences that the practice imparted. Things occurred with increased harmony and ease in every area of my life. Doors opened. Barriers were removed. Paths were made clear and miracles abounded. I felt clarity, discernment and  connection to the Creator. I realised then that meditation is a tremendously powerful spiritual practice. Sometimes, I fall off and don't do it for a while  but once I resume, I'm reminded of its value. 

For more than ten years now, I have continued to experience first hand the transformative power of meditation. I feel especially thankful for it when I'm going through a challenging period. Knowing its benefits, I'm happy to see that more and more people are doing so too. Much to my delight, many schools around the world are incorporating meditation into their curricula.  It's also being introduced to work places by some open minded employers. Granted, there is still skepticism - which I think is often promoted to steer people away from something that could benefit not just themselves but the world at large. Nonetheless, I see many indications that meditation is being embraced. Despite all my praise, you may still be tempted to roll your eyes.  I am sure  though that if you were to practise meditation  even for just a few weeks, you would see the reasons for my enthusiasm. In case you have been interested in meditation before or my claims have piqued your  curiousity for the first time,  I am happy to share what I've gathered from my experience with it so far.

In this series, I'll discuss the benefits of meditation, cover its forms, dispel myths surrounding meditation and share some tips on incorporating the practice into your life. I hope that this guide will be helpful and encourage you to give meditation a chance if you haven't already.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in the series, in which I address some myths regarding meditation.
Photography Credit:Sammy Sampson 

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