Does Meditation Really Work?

Have you ever had the thought that meditation is a waste of time? Or that it doesn't really work?

All that sitting still could be for nothing, right?

Fortunately, there is evidence that meditation actually changes the structure of our brain. But there is still the issue of us not wanting to do it. As someone who's been on the meditative journey for 20+ years what I've learned about meditation is that it is a very curly ride. Far from existing as a place of unlimited love, meditation is a grand unravelling of the psyche. Which is counter to what most people come to it for. We want the stillness. We want to be calm. We want to be able to manage life and never get angry or confused. In other words, we want meditation to "fix us". But, rather than opening us to an extraordinary world of peace, what usually happens goes something like this… 1. We try meditating. Find it too hard and stop for a while. 2. We experiment with guided meditations and apps. 3. We get some relief but feel like we're missing something … although, we don't know what. 4. We try another style of meditation, or another app. Same result. 5. If we're lucky we might find a group or a course/workshop that inspires us. But, more than likely, after a few weeks or months we're back to square 1. 6. We create an unconscious belief that meditation doesn't really work. Sound familiar? As much as meditation can help us find stillness, the greater truth is that it takes something close to a miracle to get us there. We get glimpses, but then it fades (read: we get bored and give up). So, if you're struggling with your practice, it might help to know that all those times when it feels like "it's not working" it actually is! In very tangible and positive ways. In his book, Mindsight, Daniel J. Siegel says, "When we develop the skill of mindsight, we actually change the physical structure of the brain." Mindsight is a term Siegel uses to describe a combination of Mindfulness (present awareness) and Insight (seeing things as they really are). These two types of meditation share their roots in Buddhism and, just as with Mindfulness alone, can alter your brain networks in ways that help create more positive thought patterns. It's worth remembering this especially when it seems really hard to meditate. We resist making time for it and can become easily distracted. But with the knowledge that our attempts are not futile but are intrinsically linked to improved mental health, I believe it can help us find that time. So, remember that every time you sit or lie down with the intention to practice, know that there are microscopic changes happening in your brain chemistry that are pointing you towards serenity, peace and happiness. And if that's still too hard, come along to my Wednesday Evening Mindfulness class or check out my FREE gratitude meditation below. Alternatively, if you prefer spiritual meditation, Soulful Sunday is on again this week. Whatever you choose … keep at it!! 🌸🕊🌸 h x

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