A bunch of years ago I attended a talk in Bangkok, Thailand, by a very funny Buddhist monk. British by birth, he’d spent decades in a monastery before bringing his humorous insights to the non-cloistered world. And the very first thing he spoke about in the packed hall that evening was the value and importance of meditation in your life – Buddhist-or-not; monk-or-not. He did it with a little story that went like this …
A Monk’s Story
“If I hold a glass of water out in front of me for 1 minute, my arm will get tired. If I hold it out for 10 minutes, my arm and shoulder will be very tired. If I hold the glass all day, I’m a very dumb monk.” (Ajarn Brahmavamso). The glass of water in his story is symbolic for being constantly in our left brain. Operating from the ‘beta’ wave states. And putting the glass down, of course, means giving that busy mind a break through meditation.
But this is only one reason why meditation is awesome. There are a whole lot more. Meditation is outstanding for pretty much every aspect of your life: physically, mentally and spiritually. It lowers stress levels, lowers heart rate, helps you use oxygen more efficiently, boosts your immune system and even increases the ‘happy hormone,’ serotonin. But the thing that meditation does that I think is the most awesomest of all is that it helps me dump my ‘story’.
Let me explain …
You see, when you’re just chuggin’ through life, forming an ‘identity’ based on you experiences, likes, dislikes, encounters, body sensations and personal opinions, it’s hard to recognize something that’s really important for true Peace of Mind: YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS. You’re not your opinions either – or your body, your relationships, your background … In short, you’re not your ‘story’. You are much, much more than any of these things combined. You are an eternal being. You are awareness itself!
But, if you go through life without putting down that ‘glass of water’ regularly, you never get a chance to find this out for yourself. So for me, the most awesomest part of meditating every day is that I get time to be free of my story and from all the thoughts, beliefs and plain old noise about who-I-think-I-am. And let me tell you, it’s a relief!
Having or Being?
There’s a difference between having thoughts, opinions, feelings, a body, a history, and being them. When you BE them you’re a prisoner to the external world. You’re a prisoner to worry, poor health, other people’s actions and the stupid s**t that runs through your head based on external stimuli or your past experiences. But when you can be the Witness and watch yourself having experiences, the whole world changes!
What do you think is the most awesomest aspect of meditating regularly? Let me know in the comments below.