top of page

A Cynics guide to meditation - from Nay to Yea.

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

We have all heard about the benefits of meditation. For me, it is cultural. In India, there is a long history of meditation and mindfulness. As far back as I remember, I have heard about the benefits of yoga and meditation from my elders and in our stories. Yet it has always been very difficult for me to meditate. In fact, the more it grew in popularity the more cynical it made me about meditation.

But as I started my journey as a Life Coach a couple of years back, I started reading and seeing how meditation has been the first step for so many to develop positive habits and a healthy mindset. So, over the last few months, I have managed to work through some of my blocks and I have been trying to invest a few minutes to meditate every day. Now I regret not giving this a chance earlier!

So, I wanted to share what held me back earlier, why I decided to give it a shot finally and how it is benefiting me now. I hope this helps those who have been cynical or on the fence or curious about meditation like me.

So here are some of the things that held me back from meditating all these years and how that has changed now:


1. Lack of time:

I always felt that I did not have the time to meditate. I assumed that meditation takes time. One needs to sit still in complete silence for at least 20-30 minutes if not longer.

Reality: I realised that we use lack of time as a justification for not giving many things in life a chance. The truth is that there are different forms of meditation. While some meditation can be long it is not the only way to meditate. How long you meditate and how you do it is completely up to you. You decide how much time you want to devote to it. Meditation is a state of mind. It is mindfulness or a way to focus your mind on one thing at a time. It is being in the present moment. This can be done even when you are on the move, walking, driving, showering, baking, cooking, gardening, listening to music or simply lying down. Even during a very busy and chaotic day, you can take a 5-minute pause. Stop, gently close your eyes, and breathe in and out to a count of five. Then repeat a few times. This really helps to centre me.


2. Linked to religious practice:

The lines between religion, spirituality, and meditation were blurred for me. Over the years I have personally become sceptical of many religious beliefs, superstitions, and practices. I do have faith but do not agree with many of the rituals and ills that our society faces in the name of religion. So, by extension, it also made me sceptical about spirituality and meditation or anything I felt could not be explained by the logical mind, science or mere common sense.

Reality: I learnt that meditation does not have anything to do with being “holy”, mystical or linked to any religion. Meditation is accessible to all and very practical. Today there is enough research and scientific evidence to show the benefits of meditation. In fact, simply put meditation is an exercise for the mind as going to the gym is an exercise for the body. It helps to build self-awareness, increases focus and opens your mind to different perspectives and possibilities. Meditation helps us to focus on the present.


3. Meditation is hard:

I always felt that meditating is hard and has a lot of rules. One of the hardest things to do is to sit in silence and clear your mind of all thoughts. I felt that one must also have a certain level of discipline to practice it. I also did not know where to start.

Reality: Meditating is not as intimidating as I was making it out to be. It is completely customisable to fit your needs and preferences. Today there are many resources to help you start off your meditation practice. My favourite one is the app “insight timer” (https://web.insighttimer.com/download-app). It’s great for beginners as well as the experienced. Another reason that meditation felt hard is that I was trying too hard to concentrate and empty my mind. But the truth is that we cannot stop or control our thoughts. It is natural for your mind to wander and for random thoughts to come into your mind while meditating. Meditation teaches us to observe these thoughts that come into our minds and let them go. The more we practice the better we will get at simply observing our thoughts without judgement or reaction and then bringing our awareness back to the present moment.


4. The benefits of meditation are too good to be true.

I always felt that the benefits of meditation practice are too good to be true. I had tried it before and not felt the results.

Reality: It is true that I have tried meditation before. But I did not reap the benefits before because of my belief then, “that this is not really for me” and my expectation. The truth is that now we have enough scientific evidence to prove the different physiological & emotional benefits of Meditation. Meditation can help reduce stress, pain, depression, and anxiety, reduce blood pressure and improve overall mental health. It can help improve self-awareness and self-esteem. People meditate for different reasons. Some use it to increase focus, productivity, and discipline, or simply to be. Some may like to explore the meaning and purpose of life. We can meditate for different reasons at different points in our lives. Sometimes meditation can also bring about some discomfort. As you grow in self-awareness it may bring up some internal thoughts or truths that you had hidden away. You may want to deal with these thoughts or just observe them and let them go. Whatever the objective, the key is to keep an open mind and try it. To find a form of meditation that works for you and be consistent with it and the results will show.


5. It will take years of practice to reap the benefits of Meditation:

Reality: It is true that it does take time and consistent practice to realise the full benefits of meditation. It is also true that depending on our objectives it may take a shorter or longer time to feel the results of our practice. I started feeling some of the benefits almost immediately. It helps to increase my concentration. I feel calmer. It also helped me get some clarity on my goals and thoughts. Of course, the benefits differ from person to person. But there is no right or wrong way. As with physical exercise, you start to feel good and healthier every day that you work out. But consistency will help you reap the true benefits in the long run.


In Conclusion, I would like to say that while it was a late start for me, I am grateful that I gave meditation a second chance. I still have a long way to go but every day I meditate I have a more productive day. I have more clarity on my goals and feel more confident. I also feel calmer and more in control. It makes me feel more grounded, positive and grateful.


If any of this resonates with you and if you are even slightly intrigued, try it out for yourself. Especially if you are going through a major life change, looking to get back to work or feeling stuck in a rut. If you are stressed or trying to discern your purpose and seek balance in your life. Give meditation a chance. It may feel awkward at first. But it is the first step to opening your mind to new perspectives and a world of different possibilities.


Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any clarifications or if you just want to have a chat. I work with my clients to enable them to find clarity, purpose and balance.


To help you begin, please feel free to use the guided meditation under the 'inspiration' tab on this website.

Email me on coachsanjukta.mitra@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Comments


bottom of page