We already learned that the #1 Tool in your Spiritual Toolbox is you, because you really do have all the answers. But what is the tool that helps you access you when things are so overwhelming that you really have no words? Leverage being dumbstruck into intentionally staying silent.
It is called meditation, and it is my #2 tool for your Spiritual Toolbox. It doesn’t matter if it’s twenty minutes or twenty hours, the point is that any amount of time you intentionally spend quieting your mind will absolutely soothe your soul and better your life. Period. If this practice is already part of your life, kudos for the good work. If you have permanently reached Planet Nirvana through this practice, please consider coming back to teach others. However, if you are like most people and meditation is one of those things that we always say we either, “Are going to get to” or, “Don’t have the time for,” I say, “Malarkey.” Knowing what we know, you can’t afford not to.
Infinite spiritual benefits aside, there are over 3,000 studies on the scientific benefits of mediation, and they are undeniable – decreased anxiety and stress levels, increased resilience, energy, good moods, focus and memory, increased gray matter in the brain, increased compassion, increased joy and overall better health. And, a documented serotonin boost that helps ease the pain of just about anything.
There are many kinds of meditation, and like anything else, you’ll get the most of the one or ones that resonates with you and makes the most sense in your life. It is also a very fluid practice, and what works for you can absolutely change over time. My primary path has been the the Buddhist path called “Vipassana,” or Insight Mediation, in which “mindfulness of breathing and of thoughts, feelings and actions are being used to gain insight into the true nature of reality.”
In plain English, I sit on a cushion, chair or rock and begin by focusing on (and coming back to) my breath. I’ve been doing it for years, and shared my journey in this earlier post: www.elizabethbryanstudio.com/meditation-fully-changed-the-course-of-my-life.
I also love the meditation practices and work of Dr. Rick Hanson, renowned neuropsychiatrist and bestselling author of books like “Buddha’s Brain” and “Hardwiring Happiness.”
I’m hopeful that someday meditation will be taught as part of our regular educational curriculum. I truly believe if this were the case, the world would be an entirely better place, and we wouldn’t be speechless nearly as much.
Meanwhile, below are some great resources to start you off on discovering the #2 Tool in Your Spiritual Toolbox: gift yourself with just five minutes a day of meditation and watch your life transform.
(shout out to Giovanni Dienstmann for putting together such great meditation information and resources)