My business is called ‘Meditate to Silence’.
The reason for that is a lot of us have forgotten what real silence is. We spend so much of our time connected up or plugged into something that our minds rarely have any downtime. Probably the only downtime we have is when we sleep.
Our minds are incredibly busy, did you know that we can have up to 60,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot; do any of you ever feel overwhelmed?
In today’s society it’s hard to get away from stimulation. We walk around with the world’s knowledge in the palm of our hand, we can find out the answer to anything within seconds.
But sometimes that amount of knowledge can get heavy.
Sometimes all the images we see, beautiful people, perfect homes, perfect lives, can be quite wearing on the mind. The striving for perfection in our lives, or even just striving to feel normal can become hard. We see and experience so many things, so quickly and then move onto the next one before we have time to process anything.
How many of you have looked up a recipe and ended up 3 hours later booking a villa in Spain.
In the last 20 years things have changed so much. Some people may go into work and have 150 emails to deal with. No-one 20 years ago would have got 150 letters on the same day, apart from say Robbie Williams, he might have, or in my case Donny Osmond, he was my favourite.
What I am saying is we don’t take the time anymore to just do nothing. Years ago on the train or bus you might talk to your fellow passengers, or just stare out of the window, daydreaming. Now everyone has headphones in and totally focused on the screen in front of them.
Or maybe you are in a supermarket queue or any queue, do you spend those few minutes in contemplation or is your immediate reaction to reach for your phone and fill up that time. Or at Drs or Dentist waiting for your appointment, what would be your first point of call, to simply be, chat to the person next to you or to reach for your phone? We all do it. People even walk down the street, headphones in watching something on their phones, totally unaware of what is going on around them and I think that is a shame.
I believe we are losing the ability to connect with people around us; I make a point of smiling at people, saying good morning, I even chat to people on the bus. It feels real, it feels good and it’s healthy for my mind and the person I am talking to. We are increasingly becoming isolated and getting our gratification, our ‘likes’ from a screen. The next time you see someone and you like their dress or bag or whatever, tell them, watch their face light up. You don’t have to become their best friend, just that moment of connection is enough; it will brighten up your day as well.
How do we find the silence?
Silence is within us all and is energising to the mind. Mediation brings you silence. 20 minutes meditation is as good as 6 hours sleep. Meditation boosts your levels of Serotonin (the good stuff, the internal chemical that makes you happy). It increases your grey matter which is where your focus, creativity and emotions come from. All this has been scientifically proven. However I came to this realisation not via a route of science, or degrees but through searching for something, anything that would help me out of my long term cycles of chronic depression. I have, like most people had a life of ups and downs, but sometimes, even when my life was ‘up’ I would feel detached, permanently exhausted, low and tearful. I would spend hours reliving past heartaches, or wishing my life was somehow different, and I would drive myself literally crazy with the endless tirade of self-criticism and why me.
I have a good life, my own home, two children, a supportive family, a good job. There seemed on the outside no reason for me to be ‘depressed’ and in fact I hid it well, no-one in my workplace or my family or friends really knew how bad I was for a long time. Until there comes a time when you break and you simply can’t hide it anymore.
I had been on and off medication and most of the time it does help. However on a regular visit to my GP he recommended a local meditation class that he had heard good things about. They basically taught us breathing exercises and how to meditate. I felt as though a hover and gone into my mind and sucked out all the rubbish that had been in there for years. I don’t know why it had such an effect on me but it did. I wanted to know more so I went on other courses, I started reading about meditation and mindfulness, I even went on a 5 day silent retreat which was the most liberating experience I have ever had, and I continue to go every year.
It changed me so much that I left the corporate world I had been in since I was 17 and retrained to be a Meditation and Mindfulness teacher and started my business.
What I realised throughout this process were for me 3 fundamental points.
Our thoughts are not facts.
Acceptance of the way things are whatever the circumstances.
That sitting doing nothing for 20 minutes a day can rebuild your mental health, can give you options you didn’t know you had, and give you ‘peace of mind’.
Meditation does not have to be religious, but if you want it to be then that is OK. It does not cost anything, you can do it anywhere, you don’t need loads of equipment and as long as you are breathing, anyone can do it.
For me meditation has been life changing, and it’s no wonder it has been around for 1000’s of years. I believe however that it has become ‘fashionable’ now for a reason.
I think the technological world is moving too fast for us. I believe we need to use meditations and mindfulness to reconnect with ourselves, to reengage with others, to realise that our minds are who we are. That we don’t have to look like the Kardashians, we don’t have to live like Gwyneth Paltrow, and we don’t have to wear the right trainers.
We can be our wonderful unique selves, and by fully accepting who we are and embracing that with loving kindness towards ourselves, we can lead a much happier and fulfilled life.
So give your mind the rest it deserves, and learn how to change your mind.