By the practice of meditation consistently, we place in our mental insurance bank account a hefty sum each time we sit down to practice. Certainly, the more we practice, the more we place in the “fund.” You see, by this consistent practice, you cause an accumulative effect. As you become accustomed to recognizing peace and dealing with your thoughts and emotions in a nonjudgmental way, you reap an enormous benefit.
As a society, we are familiar with the concept of insurance. That is, for health, home, renter’s, life, or car insurance, and other items of value. With insurance, we make a certain amount of payment into the insurance fund on a regular basis to guarantee that if and when, say for example, an accident occurs as with one’s car, that the car will be either repaired or replaced.
Mindfulness particularly helps you to deal with this, so you remain peaceful and nonreactive in the face of what occurs in your life. This does not mean you experience no emotions at all, it means instead that you are not overcome and swept away by the floods of those emotions.
Stress is so prevalent these days. Where once our “flight, fright or freeze” sympathetic nervous system response assisted us from running from bears or tigers, now we see a tiger in every email or text we receive, in the news, in relationships, and seemingly everywhere. Because of this, we are at a high level of stress awareness. With meditation and mindfulness, and deeper breathing, we can tame the stress tiger and into the parasympathetic system so we may recover, restore and rest.
Mindfulness is nonjudgmental awareness. We observe, yet do not interpret or analyze what is occurring, so it rides us off the rails. This does not mean we do not feel or experience the emotions. What we experience is that the emotions do not become overwhelming and lead us into dark despair. We are not robots; we do feel, yet we can feel these emotions from a centered place.
You can think of this centered place as an observation tower in the middle of a nature park or lands. When in the observation center you can see the wild animals, take stock of the lands, and you can witness the weather on the distant horizon. You observe everything all around, but you are not in the midst of it. You can make choices from atop this observation point so you can sustain the good of all.
When we are on the ground being chased by a “bear” of a thought in our mind, we are in terror of the thoughts, be it anxiety, anger, sadness or any intense emotion. We feel backed into a corner with the teeth of this emotion glaring at us in the face. Through mindfulness meditation, we are centered in observation. We can see these teeth and still experience the emotion but not to the extreme. We, in fact, can still have tears streaming down our face but not succumb to the darkness.
I have witnessed this in my own life in my practice. I have worked with others to incorporate this into their lives and have supported their process. I can vouch both personally and professionally what mindfulness has accomplished. From my own terrors and traumas in life to that of others.
This doesn’t mean that you cannot take medications to assist you, by all means, follow your professional’s advice. Mindfulness meditation is a way to begin the process to help you to slow down the raging thoughts and deepen your breath.. However, you may find through the meditation and mindfulness practices that you may not need it as long or to the intensity as before. Always follow your doctor’s advice in regards to your health and medications.
Although you will find nowadays many doctors refer their patients to meditation for coping with stress and anxiety. I have clients and students who come to me having said the same of their physician.
There have been many studies that have proved scientifically the effect of meditation on the mind.
- Meditation and Mindfulness promote good health, improving your breathing, heart rate, immune system, blood pressure, pain, and lessening heart and brain problems as well as inflammatory disorders.
- Emotional well-being is enhanced by lessening anxiety, worry, stress, fear, depression, and increasing optimism and relaxation.
- Increased mental strength, memory retention, focus, better decision making, problem-solving and creative thinking.
- Prevents emotional eating and smoking and other “bad” habits.
- Helps you to deal effectively with everyday life.
- Meditation can also open your spiritual life to deeper levels of experience.
The benefits of meditation are very clear, but it takes practice and consistency. Many newcomers give up after a short time because expectations run high, and they desire a quick fix. Working with an instructor/coach helps to ease the frustration as they guide you along your meditation journey. With steady guidance, you will receive wisdom, support, and accountability as you continue to strengthen your practice.
If you are ready to invest in “meditation as mental insurance,” I am an experienced meditation practitioner and certified instructor with a 40+ year meditation practice. I am here to assist you in private sessions or group sessions to ease your stress and anxiety, help you relax, and to learn the art of mindfulness meditation.
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