Why on earth would you want to meditate? Don’t you have to be a Buddhist monk sitting in strange positions for long periods of time?
With all the stress and pressure that the average modern man faces, and the scientific evidence proving the benefits of meditation, the better question is why aren’t you meditating?
Meditation is something that everyone can benefit from, but it is no magic bullet. It is a practice whose benefits build the more you do it. As a guy, here is why you need to be meditating…
A clear head
Meditation in essence is the practice of single pointed focus and concentration. It can help you to have a clear mind by focusing on a single thing at a time and helping you to build that capability. It also helps you to start to release and detach from your worries.
If you are one of those men that lies awake at night with a whirring mind, meditating can help you slow your thoughts and find calm. Five minutes of quiet away from your desk during the day can achieve the same thing at work.
More than that, meditation helps you to access the Alpha and Theta brainwaves. These are our most creative and insightful thinking states. With less clutter in our heads and deeper levels of thinking, we are better thinkers.
A clear heart
We —especially men— are often taught that you have to be tough to be a leader and to deny what you are actually feeling. When you close your hearts as a man, you cut yourself off from one of the most important resources you have. Meditation helps in a couple of ways.
First, when you slow down and become more present, you start to feel your feelings rather than what you think you should feel. Knowing what you feel allows you to make better choices for yourself.
Second, meditation gradually unhooks you from judgements, both yours and other people’s. You become less affected by other people’s opinions and start to listen and to trust yourself more. You also become less attached to your own negativity, which gives you more power and more freedom.
If you are constantly stressed out and overwhelmed, meditation can help you find some calm. It is great for getting some perspective and some distance from what is causing you stress. How?
In every event, there is what happens and then the judgment we make about it. Nothing is inherently good or bad but it is our judgments that sends it one way or another. A lot of stress comes from our reactions to situations and how attached we are to our judgments.
When we are stressed these judgments hold a vice like grip over our attention. This is about our need as men to be in control. Meditation helps to release this vice like grip and helps us to observe more and judge less.
Release and detach the dirty little secret
As I have written about before, as men we tend to have a dirty little secret – not feeling good enough, impostor syndrome and the fear of exposure and feeling vulnerable. We invest a tremendous amount of energy and focus in keeping this secret.
Meditation is not going to magically cure this. It will ease the effects and help you to gradually release this fear.
Because meditation is an experience, you will have the muscle memory of what it feels like to be calm. This makes it much easier to get back to calm in those moments of fear and panic when you feel exposed or vulnerable.
Yes, really. Most men are time starved. There isn’t enough time in the day. Yet we waste so much time worrying the past or the future or rushing about or checking social media. In short, little time is spent right here, right now.
When you are more present, the time you have is much better quality. The more present you are, the more time seems to expand until you seem to experience having more time. In reality, you don’t. You are just making much better use of the time that you have.
Practising meditation brings you more into the moment, making you more present to yourself, the people around you and your life.
Getting more healthy without the treadmill
If you haven’t guessed by now, meditation makes you more healthy. There is a ton of scientific evidence to back this up…especially if you practice regularly. Meditation decreases stress by reducing the stress hormone, cortisol. It increases self-awareness and focus, and improves sleep quality. Also meditation helps in dealing with depression, phobias, asocial anxiety and panic attacks
Meditation doesn’t deal with the circumstances of your life so much as how you respond to life and how present you are. This gets you more in touch with what is important to you and helps you to make better decisions. So, better mental health. Also, better sleep! WOOHOO!
However, up to 80% of illnesses and diseases are stress related. Meditation gives you an effective set of tools to manage and reduce stress, which is some of the best preventative healthcare you can give yourself. The best thing is that you don’t have to reach outside yourself to alcohol, smoking, food, drugs or the like to get your through life.
If you do reach out for those kinds of things (and most of us do), meditation isn’t going to cure addiction…but it is going to help.
The Real You
One of the most profound effects of meditation is when you first start to observe your thoughts like weather passing by. This raises the question “who is doing the observing?” In other words, you are more than your thoughts or your mind. When that one hits you, that opens up a whole other set of possibilities!
One of the biggest things that meditation can help with is getting to know who you are, deep down. You start to notice the patterns and reactions that drive you. You start to realise how you really feel about things. You become less attached to things and see what is important to you.
More than that, you start to be able to get insights and inspiration from your inner wisdom – whether you see that as your subconscious (which processes 11 million bits of information a second…your conscious mind processes up to 40!) or something more. You get out of your own way and into the flow of life. You become more allowing, which gives you a more relaxed and enjoyable approach to life.
Time to start?
There are so many issues that we face in society that are born out of stress, pressure and worry. While I wouldn’t hold meditation as the answer to all the world’s problems (though it can help), it can vastly improve the quality of your life and those in your life. With so many good things to gain, isn’t it about time you got started?
Previously published at: Goodmenproject.com