Mindfulness changed my life. As in, completely! I started on my mindful journey over 3 years ago, have been practising regularly for over 2 years, and I am currently meditating a minimum of once a day. Despite living through the worst pandemic the world has seen in over a century, I have never been happier. I know that this is thanks to mindfulness and the peace it has brought to my life. Here I wish to share with you 4 reasons why I meditate, and why I persist with it, even if I’m busy, even if I’m tired, even if I’m stressed…
1. I didn’t like the person I had become
Looking back I can see that the relentless pace of the rat race, people’s drama, the traffic, the politics… practically everything around me had turned me into a very cynical and not necessarily very nice person to be around. I was negative, I was angry, and I think I was also more than a little bit arrogant. My knee-jerk reaction was exactly that, to react. I snapped at people and very much went about with a chip on my shoulder. I wasn’t happy and I couldn’t pinpoint what was making me unhappy. And despite changing numerous things in my life, that feeling of deep-seated sadness persisted. Mindfulness has helped me to change my outlook. The world around me hasn’t changed, but I no longer react, I no longer fly off the handle, I am no longer caught up in my head narrating a very negative tale to myself all the time.
2. It gives me clarity
Practising Mindfulness has brought me clarity, and in my daily practice that is the intention I continuously bring to the fore of my mind. For me clarity came overnight and it was precipitated by the loss of someone very dear to me. I had already been practising mindfulness for over a year, and I was feeling much happier and much more contained in my emotions – I was no longer spilling worries, fears and anxieties – and the readings I carried out (and still do) helped to show me how the mind works, and how becoming a slave to one’s negative mind is a very real possibility. I’d go as far as to say that it is one of the worst contemporary maladies that we are collectively going through. So I knew overnight that I wanted to change my life, I knew what had to go and I knew what I wanted to strengthen. I chose to opt for nourishing activities over depleting ones, I opted for personal and professional relationships which do not destroy the soul but nourish it, I chose to be creative and artistic and to make time for the things which I love doing.
Of course, whilst it all came to me overnight, I was not able to implement my plan at the snap of my fingers. This had to unfold over a number of months, over a period of time when many doubts plagued me, when I wavered from that resolution because I felt misguided or because my day-to-day activities interfered with that absolute clarity that I had gained. And yet, my daily practice during those months allowed me to persist in following my dreams, despite the doubts, despite the people who felt I was letting them down, despite the people who couldn’t understand…
3. I feel content
Because I feel I have more clarity, and feel I have space in my head for things other than negative chatter and anxieties, I feel content. When I go about my day, I am now able to catch glimpses of the beautiful, and I allow myself to feel the moment and to appreciate that which is beautiful around me. I see the blue sky, I see caterpillars moving on plants, I nod at people as I drive, or as I buy food for my cat at the supermarket I share a chuckle with the lady who happens to be next to me about the fussiness of my cat… I see people as being 3 dimensional again, not simply bodies in my way. I feel that I am part of the shared human experience again, not on my own trying to fight my way through life, and this solidarity also makes me feel content.
4. I am grateful
Gratitude seems to be a natural by-product of the transformations I have undergone and which I am still undergoing. When the chirping of birds calls me to the present moment, when the colours of the sunset shout out in a blazing harmony of reds and oranges, when I see the blue sky offset by the branches of trees and hear the whispering of the leaves, I feel an immense gratitude welling up in me. When my mind was busy with worries and negative self-chatter, I was not open to seeing the beautiful, I was not open to the present moment. Now I am and I am infinitely grateful that Mindfulness has helped me to wake up to the life I already have!
Now you know why I meditate and can see the benefits meditation has given me, I wonder how you might benefit?