My story isn’t really that unique, you know. When I had my first breakthrough experience with meditation, the second thing I did was hop on the internet to look and see if there were others who had experienced something similar. To my pleasant surprise, there were others! LOTS OF THEM! I now know of so many people who have substantially changed their lives for the better by just sitting their neurotic, anxious, fearful, angry, and/or depressed selves down for a little while. Life is still not all rainbows and butterflies over here but there’s an obvious difference between my quality of life prior to having a meditation practice and my quality of life now. Here are 9 of a literally infinite number of ways that meditating today will change your life!
1. Stress Management — You Don’t Have To Feel Bad ALL The Time
Stress is deadly. Especially for those of us that belong to a marginalized demographic. I’ll spare you most of the statistics but just know that stress is tied to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. On top of all that, it makes day to day life suck quite a bit. Some stress is helpful, but most of it is not, and without meditation, most wouldn’t know how to discern the stress that is helpful from the stress that is not. Like most of the other things that cause us to suffer day to day, stress is a bad habit. We enter a pattern of making ourselves stressed out in times of adversity because it’s how we’ve always responded and we’ve falsely convinced ourselves that getting stressed is a part of the problem solving process. Meditation will relax you physically because of the deep breathing that is involved. It will also relax your mind because instead of focusing on your volatile thoughts, you’ll be focusing on something simple and peaceful like the sound of your own breath, a count, a candle flame, or the waves of the ocean. Over time, you’ll reprogram yourself to respond to intense situations with deep breathing and focus instead of mindless, stressful thinking.
2. Get High! — Naturally
Meditation has been shown to greatly boost the release of dopamine and other feel good chemicals in the brain. This is something else that I can personally testify about — there’s no high like a meditation high! Truthfully, you shouldn’t go into meditation with the desire or goal of getting high as it will be distracting and you can make yourself disappointed because not every meditation is going to leave you in a state of ecstasy. But generally speaking, if you sit long enough and allow your mind to quiet enough, you will feel substantially better after you meditate than you did before!
3. Unlock Your Superhuman Abilities! — No, seriously.
One of the things that has blown my mind the most since I began studying meditation is how many humans have been recorded to have “unlocked” these extra abilities through meditation and why no one seems to care about it. There are ancient accounts of monks being able to raise their body temperature enough through meditation to dry wet towels on their backs using Tummo meditation practices . A few years ago, I was introduced to Wim Hof. Through meditation and his breathing techniques, he’s taught himself how to control his nervous system. He can control his core body temperature enough that it doesn’t drop when he’s exposed to extreme cold… naked. It’s insane. And he believes it’s possible for everyone. Don’t take my word for it, peep this video!
If that’s not convincing enough, check out this guy. He’ a Chi master who has used meditation to foster his ability to use the power of Chi to heal people. I get that the video is old, but it seems so authentic. Everyone he interacts with seems genuinely affected by the things that he does and what they feel when he touches them. Oh, and he makes a piece of newspaper spontaneously combust. It’s lit!
And these are just a couple examples. This stuff is really only foreign to us living in western societies. In eastern cultures, tales of spiritual masters having powers is very common. There was a time when I would have never believed some of the things shown above were possible. But now I do. No, not because I’ve learned how to bend fire myself (yet) but because I have had other experiences in meditation that made me feel much greater than I once thought a human being could be.
1. Good Vibrations — Better Mood and Attitude
Meditating regularly raises your vibration. What’s your vibration? In my opinion, your vibration is your spiritual I.D. card. Your vibration is what tells other souls who you are and what you’re about. This is why we prefer to be around people with “good vibes” and why you can always feel when someone’s energy isn’t meshing with your own. Raising your vibration causes you to come into your center and in a centered space, your mood is always better because you’re less susceptible to be influenced by small things that would typically throw you off if you were already unbalanced.
2. Spiritual Awakening — Open Your 3rd Eye, Your Mind, And Maybe Even Your Heart
If you google “spiritual awakening”, it will take you a lifetime to read just a small fraction of the personal accounts of the numerous souls who have had an experience in meditation that “woke them up” from what some consider the ultimate dream. I’m included in that number but it’s not always easy to talk about it because it seems like most people wouldn’t understand. Not only that but like most of the other true peaks of life, spiritual awakening is an experience that is difficult to put into words. I’ve had several experiences in meditation that I can’t explain — experiences that have stretched what my idea of reality is and challenged who I thought I am at my very core. There’s so much more to this existence than what we can see with the eyes that look. In order to access those other planes of existence that are always available to you, you have to open the eye that sees. And meditation will definitely help that happen.
3. Learn Love Yourself and Everyone Else
A lot of people told me they loved me over the course of my life but I didn’t truly feel love until I meditated successfully for the first time. Until that point, the only love that I had experienced was a possessive or conditional love. An “I’ll love you if” or “I’ll love you as long as you” type of love. But the day that I surrendered and told myself that I was going to sit until something happened, I felt a love that said “regardless”. It said “I love you Micheal, regardless to how many times you’ve failed.” “I love you Micheal, regardless to how much hurt you’ve caused”. “I love you Micheal, regardless to how disappointed you are in yourself”. “I love you Micheal, regardless to whether or not you go bald” , haha. “I love you Micheal, regardless to whether or not you love me too”. In meditation, I felt a love that didn’t need me to do or be anything. It loved me just because I exist. Being loved that way changed me in a drastic way. It’s the reason I talk about love as much as I do today. It’s made me more compassionate for all life but most importantly, it made me more compassionate for myself. I found a value for myself that runs much, much deeper than anything I could ever gain materially. I promise you that this same experience is available to you right now. It’s waiting for you. Go sit and meet it.
1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯— Less Reactionary
When you’re mad, stressed out, depressed, anxious, or fearful, it’s really easy to be influenced by the actions of those around you. But meditating regularly will make you more mindful and when you become more mindful, what others choose to do affects you a lot less. This means you’re less reactionary, which means you’ll make better decisions, which means you’ll be happier with the way your day to day life unfolds. Not only that, you’ll free yourself from being slave to whatever someone else is doing and gain much more authority over your mood. Allowing people to make you upset is giving them exactly what they want. If you want true power, master yourself first.
2. Better Relationships
Becoming a more meditative person will drastically improve your relationships. Meditation will center you and centering will get you out of your feelings. Once you’re out of your feelings, you may be able to allow yourself to imagine what the other person is feeling. That’s called empathy. It’s not something that seems to be incredibly popular these days but it’s honestly one of the best things you can do for any relationship. We were taught to think of ourselves because the world can be a dangerous and scary place — we naturally feel the need to look out for number one. And that’s all well and good when you’re on your own but it doesn’t work in relationships because relationships are about how you relate to something else. In order to be able to relate to something well, you have to be able to at least attempt to see the world from the perspective that it does.
3. Mitigate Depression and Anxiety
I believe that both depression and anxiety affect 100% of people at some point in their lives. Personally, they’re both things that I frequent bouts with but I really do feel like I’m getting a grip on handling them when they arise and meditation is why. You might not notice it but anxiety is always caused by anticipating something that hasn’t happened yet. And depression is typically tied to something that has already happened — something that has changed when you weren’t prepared and instead of accepting how things are, you’re focused on how they were. Meditating helps cure both of these ailments by bringing us into the present moment. Typically, all is well in the present moment. There are so many wondrous things unfolding around you in every moment and if you can focus on just one of those things instead of the constant carousel of thoughts begging for your attention, you’ll begin to know peace.
If you want to get into meditation but don’t know where to start, be sure to check out my “How To Meditate in 5 Minutes” Infographic. I’ve heard from a few people that it’s really helped them jumpstart their meditation practice because it doesn’t take long at all! Download the full-sized infographic here and please share!