Sure, it sounds nice, but does it really do anything? The question stuck in my mind when I was toeing the precipice of meditation. I’ve always been one for logic and fact, and seeing no concrete connection to health benefits, I was having a hard time prioritizing daily meditation.
It’s A Perishable Item
I finally mentioned it to a long-time friend (and part-time guru) and he shared some wisdom — it’s all practice. You practice before enlightenment, just as you practice after.
It’s the practice that brings you enlightenment. Some would even say, the practice itself, is enlightenment. Sound Buddhist? It is — Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind explains.
My translation — don’t meditate for the long-term benefits, do it for the daily practice. Meditation is a perishable item. The biggest gains are realized in the day, for the day.
New perspectives have a way of motivating, and this one was no different. But eventually, motivation began to fade, and I was once again, on part-time status.
It’s All About Frequencies
Then I read a Medium article about default frequencies. Finally, I had the western philosophy to back the eastern philosophy. The article explains that different frequencies — which correlate to levels of awareness — predispose us to have different types of reactions.
Beta is where most of us operate. Its high frequency promotes cognitive functions like reading and writing, enabling us to tackle daily life. But staying in this frequency too long leads to stress and anxiety. We need time rest, decompress and recharge.
Luckily, simply practicing deep breathing activates Alpha frequencies, leading to relaxation, as noted in a psychological study. Taking it a step further, meditation activates Gamma frequencies and promotes higher cognitive functions like perception and consciousness. Operating from these frequencies will change the way you perceive the world.
In activating your parasympathetic nervous system (the opposite of fight or flight), your gut reaction becomes abundance-based, not scarcity-based. You perceive situations as opportunities, not threats. The more you value cooperation over competition, the more enjoyable life becomes.
I now look forward to meditation because I know it dictates, on a physical level, the type of day I have.
It Releases Idea Debt
As daily meditation became a constant, I started to notice other benefits like decreased anxiety. Once again, my logical mind started to question the validity of these benefits so I did some research to see if it was just a placebo effect.
The result — deep breathing has physical benefits like muscle relaxation, but meditation releases tension on a deeper, more cognitive level. It calls awareness to the endless stream of thoughts and ideas which float through our mind.
Without awareness, we become weighed down by old ideas — they cloud our mind — it’s called Idea Debt. Like sinking into financial debt, this process happens slowly, but will eventually quagmire us. Meditation releases these ideas; releasing regret for the past and anxiety for the future, clearing room for inspiration and happiness in the present.
Improve Your Life
Those who have tried meditation know it’s not easy. It can be hard to find the motivation for daily practice, but I’ve found that the ideas above provide all the motivation necessary. I share them with you because the perspectives they provide have improved my meditation which has, in turn, improved my life.