My mom sent me an article about a study on mindfulness that got me thinking about meditation and why it is SO important.
As a yoga teacher and practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, meditation is a big part of who I am. Since I became a mom, it’s becoming harder and harder to make time to meditate. But this study encouraged me to make a more concerted effort to meditate daily.
In the study, psychologist Dr. Brian Ostafin showed a group of participants two sets of pictures. One set depicted awe-inspiring images and the other set depicted images meant to inspire positive feelings. The participants ranked their feelings of awe or positivity on a scale of 1 to 7. Before viewing the images, half of the participants listened to 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation audio, and the other half listened to non-mindfulness audio. Unsurprisingly, the group who listened to the mindfulness meditation reported greater feelings of awe and positivity compared to the group who listened to the control audio.
I personally believe our minds are continually bombarded by work, money and family stressors, triggering a “fight or flight” mentality as a means of survival.
Without meditation, the mind is like a window that has been covered by a curtain. It is as though we are protecting ourselves from the blinding light of the awesome world outside, so that we can focus, undistracted, on surviving.
When we meditate, we remove this curtain and are able to allow the awe around us into our hearts. We prime our minds to become more open to receiving the beauty God has created for us.
If we are able to intentionally meditate on opening our hearts to God’s awe-inspiring gifts, while intentionally focusing on how to survive in this difficult world, I think our mental and physical health improve and our interactions with friends and family become richer.
As someone who tries to simplify things to increase patient compliance, when you decide you are ready to do mindfulness meditation, choose a single sentence to repeat to yourself. Do so in a quiet setting. Light a candle. Play soothing music. It does not have to be an over the top ritual. As a busy mom with very little time to myself, I did a mindfulness meditation this morning while getting ready for the day. I massaged rose scented essential oil on my wrists and neck and chanted “I will open my heart to that which God has in store for me today,” over and over again for about five minutes. This dramatically changed my perspective and I encourage you to try something similarly simple, because it is more likely that you will stick with it!