The benefits of meditation
Guided by a competent teacher, the regular practice of meditation brings many benefits in the short, medium and long term:
- Increased attention and concentration
- Sharp intelligence and an ability to make clear decisions
- Reduced stress, anxiety and worry
- Listening and communication are improved
- Reduction of irritation, anger and frustrations
- Flexibility and creativity to solve problems
- Growing self-confidence and self-esteem
- Inner peace and stable happiness
- Unusual physical and mental well-being
- Positive and optimistic attitude
- Better personal and professional relationships
- Better physical and mental health
Why and how do these benefits manifest themselves?
By training ourselves in meditation with patience and perseverance, distracting thoughts will lose their hold on us and we will experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Our mind will feel clear and spacious, and we will feel refreshed.
Let’s take an analogy: When the sea is rough, the sediment is stirred, so the water becomes cloudy. On the other hand, when the wind drops and the sediment settles slowly, the water becomes clear. Then a beauty manifests itself, thus remaining resplendent (unalterable) on the surface of the ocean without ever coming down again. Likewise, when the agitation of our mind ceases , it becomes calm, lucid and spacious and our problems and worries disappear. We then feel naturally well disposed towards others because we reveal our deep nature which is essentially good.
To remain in meditation, focused on the breath without distractions for a while, is deeply restorative and nurturing. Like restorative sleep, meditation often brings good advice; it makes us more creative and efficient and especially better disposed to assume our daily responsibilities with increasing pleasure. It will also be easier for us to face difficult situations thanks to the hindsight and “letting go” brought by meditation.
Outside of meditation sessions, as we no longer identify with our disturbed and uncontrolled states of mind, we gain self-confidence and our choices and decisions become more measured and tailored. As a result, our self-esteem grows and gradually our relationships improve.
When the turbulence of distracting thoughts calms down and the mind becomes calm, deep happiness and contentment naturally arise from within. Through meditation training, our mind will gradually become more and more peaceful and we will experience more and more pure happiness. Eventually, we will be able to remain happy at all times, even in the most difficult circumstances. »
The New Meditation Handbook – Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
How long does it take to meditate to start experiencing such benefits?
By meditating only ten or fifteen minutes a day on the breath, we will be able to free ourselves from the stress and tensions usually experienced which stem in large part from our exaggerated expectations. Since the majority of our problems, including health problems, stem from pent-up stress, it’s a good investment of time and energy for so many beneficial outcomes.
Breath meditation is a first approach that, on its own, can be quite powerful. Mastery of the mind over the breath enables us to experience inner peace and contentment, regardless of the outer circumstances of our lives.
What is the point of discovering other forms of meditation?
Having gained some experience in breath meditation, it is good to move on to pragmatic meditations that cultivate familiarity with new states of mind. Only these meditations, called Lamrim (the stages of the path), allow us to free ourselves definitively from our problems and sufferings. It is these meditations that allow one to experience maximum benefits.