How Can Meditation Help In Uncertain Times?
The past few weeks have undoubtedly been the biggest disruption to ‘normal’ life that most of us have ever seen.
Words like ‘unprecedented’ have been used way too often and our primal fight, flight, freeze systems have been tested.
After the initial waves of cancelled events, travel restrictions and then lockdown in our homes the question arises, “When will all this be over?
It’s the million-dollar question and like never before we’re faced with a true uncertainty and a reminder that whilst we like to make up lots of rules as a society, ultimately we don’t really control what is going on.
As we adapt to being at home there’s been a huge rise in people taking up at-home exercise, online courses and meditation.
Meditation and mindfulness are tools most of us have been aware of to some extent since stress and anxiety have been pretty rampant in our culture (probably because deep down we aren’t so happy in our jobs and working for someone else but that’s another story!)
But how can meditation and mindfulness help in uncertainty, and why should we be prioritising them right now.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness brings us back to the present moment, being aware of our body, our senses, and everything that is here and now. Many Masters and Sages have described how being truly and 100% in the present moment alleviates stress. Being fully in the now, means our mind cannot worry about the past or get anxious over the future. It’s simple but profound.
For sure, taking some time away from mainstream media and mobile devices and getting lost in hobbies you love brings you to the present moment and will take your body out of its fight-flight response.
Mindfulness is a really powerful tool to pull us out of the stress response and back into our parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest).
Meditation is deeper than this.
Meditation is coming to a still point inside you, where you’re not even so aware of your body any more. The edges between you and the universe soften and your mind takes a back seat, your breathing slows and you surrender the need to control it and allow the universe to breathe you instead. In the gaps between the breathing, you start for the first time to experience real peace, bliss and glimpses of consciousness.
MEDITATION CAN HELP WITH UNCERTAINTY IN A NUMBER OF WAYS
One of the first steps in meditation is the need to learn how to give direction to your attention rather than letting it pull you all over the place. This is a skill that can serve you in so many ways in outer life too, like tuning into solutions instead of problems. Choosing what we put our focus on is so important right now as that is what is driving our feelings. Are we focusing on the doomsday-like news or are we looking out for the positives, new opportunities, new ideas, new solutions, new career paths, new ways to help each other. It’s not to say that we bury our heads in the sand but we’ve all heard the phrase where attention goes energy flows. Meditation is like a spiritual gym for this skill.
Secondly, meditation requires a deep surrender, you cannot ‘do’ meditation. Meditation techniques get you to a certain point and then you let go. Just like pedalling a bike and then freewheel for a bit. In this surrender, you feel how much the universe is taking control of things. Just like your hearts beat, your lungs breath and the spring unfolding. The magic of the universe never stops and the more we surrender in meditation, the more we allow it to work through us and give us insights, hope and inspiration. This opens us up to new ideas, possibilities and solutions. If you think about any time in your life things generally always had a way of working out and not how you planned, the universe came in with a solution that took you by surprise. When you meditate you’re so much more open to this kind of energy and possibility and you have the eyes to see things that you might have missed before.
Thirdly, every time we enter into meditation we are entering the unknown. In tantra, we call it the void. The English definition of ‘void’ makes it sound empty, but the space we enter in meditation is full of energy, potential, frequencies and possibilities that our human senses cannot perceive. The more we enter this unknown in meditation and become comfortable with it, the more it reveals itself to us. As part of entering into this void within you, you start to recalibrate your internal navigation system, you’re trusting yourself and the more familiar you become with the unknown the more you see it’s not empty, but full. You then feel more confident navigating life, you feel supported, you trust your inner compass more.
FURTHER MEDITATION INSIGHTS FOR UNCERTAINTY
As you start to deepen your meditation practice you begin to realise that there is so much potential that you can tap into. You really feel and experience that we are more than physical beings and our world is more than material. I mean that is basic science as we only see 1% of the light spectrum and hear even less of the sounds that are known to science.
Meditation connects you to everything and makes you feel into the potentiality of situations. It makes you realise that you are not one person separate from everything else. You are innately connected and that whatever comes your way, the more you feel aligned with meditation, it’s likely the more you’ll feel aligned with being ok with uncertainty and trusting what the universe has in store with you.
All this sounds great, but ultimately it’s only true if you do the work in setting up a daily meditation practice to go deep inside yourself. Learning meditation properly is a marathon not a sprint, but start to day and you’re a few steps ahead of where you were yesterday. Meditation is a lifelong journey revealing to us the secrets of life and the best journey ever.