Along our path to inner-peace and World Peace, I think a fundamental step for us all to make is to achieve a state of fulfillment, wholeness, goodness, peace, joy – whatever you’d like to call it – while doing nothing other than sitting quietly and breathing. Of course, we do this act all the time and we call it sleeping. But, to do it while awake is another thing completely, and the act is commonly referred to as meditation.
If we can achieve a state of inner-peace while doing nothing but the simplest of gestures, merely sitting and breathing – being – then I’m pretty sure we can accomplish many amazing things together.
Unfortunately, our culture today still has some stigmas against meditation. Sitting and breathing can be seen as lazy, while, on the other end, I see it as one of the most beautiful acts that virtually all human beings can engage in. I see it as a way of getting in touch with our higher selves and unifying with our True Nature.
Getting started with meditation can be a challenge. The culture of over-stimulation that we live in promotes scattered thinking, and our minds easily wander and swing around like monkeys from thought to thought. We think a lot. Not that thinking is bad, but certainly I think we could spend more time thinking about our ideals rather than pop culture mumbo jumbo. How are we ever goinf to realize our ideals if we cannot focus our minds on them? Earl Nightingale defines success as “the progressive realization of a worthy ideal,” so in order to be succesful, we must know our ideal. From there, the more we think about our deal, or meditate on it, then the more that ideal will pervade our reality. The process of simply thinking about our ideals is meditation – does that sound like something you might be interested in?
Even if you disagree with my logic, the great news is that today’s science is validating the physical and mental health benefits of meditation. Neuroscientists have discovered that our brains work much in the same way as plastic. The brain molds to our dominant thought patterns, a concept know as neuroplasicity. What we think about, in so many ways, we become. So, if you meditate on an ideal like Peace, then your brain will physically begin to change structures to have something like a ‘Peace groove’ in it. I’m not a professional scientist, so I probably don’t do the best job of explaining it. Good news is that there are plenty of neuroscientists who would love to explain the concept to you more thoroughly, even using pretty pictures, graphs, and other helpful resources.
Here are two talks put on at a Google Campus by both a neuroscientist and a Buddhist monk, discussing the science behind neuroplasticity and meditation. They do a good job of explaining neuroplasticity and how awareness of it can move you to creating a more enjoyable world:
Also, here is a much shorter TEDtalk packed with similar information:
Isn’t it amazing that so many people have been meditating for thousands of years, and now science is finally coming around to supporting the practice? What a beautiful world where such individuals like the Buddha were endowed with Truths of Nature well before science could ever possibly validate such a practice. Hooray for our conscience knowing what is best 🙂