Some say it’s good luck for a ladybug to land on you. Others say don’t cross a black cat’s path. This is because our brains have been conditioned to associate these events with possible outcomes.
What does this have to do with meditation?
Well, one of the main complaints about meditation is that people don’t see results; they say it’s hard to measure the benefits of meditation. They expect a certain outcome and when they don’t see immediate results they give up.
Although Harvard scientists have proven that meditation can rewire and regenerate parts of the brain in a process called Neuroplasticity many people fail to meditate citing no tangible results.
Here are some tips on how NOT to meditate
- Trying to meditate in the perfect place.
Some people think you have to be a monk on a misty mountaintop – Wrong! You can meditate on the floor, in the park, in the car. It’s important not to judge yourself and just accept that you chose to meditate out of a genuine intention to find a sense of peace.
2. Trying to meditate the perfect way.
Many experts recommend counting your breaths, but it is normal for the mind to wander. Again it is key to not judge your self. Some people use a candle or a flower to focus on. When you realize your mind wandered its an opportunity to notice the moment. It’s what expert Barb Markway calls the Magic Moment when you can gently let go of your thoughts and refocus on breathing.
3. Trying to produce immediate results.
Many people don’t floss their teeth because they can’t see the immediate health effects. It reduces bacteria and increases oral hygiene. Meditation has been proven to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety and boosts our immune system. Much in the way flossing promotes healing and makes you less prone to cavities. Meditation promotes what author Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi calls “Flow” a state of optimal performance and being less reactive to stress. So you may not notice the subtle outcomes of meditation such as having more clarity or being immune to distractions. But the results are not luck, they are a choice.
Neuroscientist Victor Frankl in the “What I’ve Learned” video is quoted as saying “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lie our growth and our freedom”.
Meditation helps us to be comfortable sitting in this space. In this age of hyper speed scrolling and short attention span distractions. Being able to disconnect and reconnect to what is meaningful is a valuable tool. It comes down to more than just luck. Instead of wishing on a four-leaf clover, try just sitting down for a four-minute layover.
Local San Diego resources for meditation are: