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Why Do Successful People Meditate

Why Do Successful People Meditate

Meditation has become a trend in the last years. Many self-help books describe meditation as one of the best practices for success. Personal development gurus and coaches not only advise their students and trainees to meditate, but have adopted meditation themselves and made it an important part of their routines.

Many successful people practice meditation and openly talk about its benefits, and how greatly it has contributed to their success. In this regard, one cannot help but wonder: What if indeed, meditation can make us more successful?

A must in successful people’s routines:

Self-help guru Tony Robbins, Huffington Post CEO Arianna Huffington and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner all practice meditation, and rave about its benefits and how greatly it has improved their life every chance they get.

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is also a fan of meditation. When asked why she meditates, she replied: "Because it feels good. Kinda like when you have to shut your computer down, just sometimes when it goes crazy, you just shut it down and when you turn it on, it’s okay again. That’s what meditation is for me."

Oprah Winfrey is another devotee of meditation; she uses it as a way to connect to the stillness. In her website, she defines her meditative practice as: “Where all creative expression, peace, light and love come to be. Only from that space, can you create your best work and your best life”.

In his biography by Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs said:"If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there's room to hear more subtle things - that's when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It's a discipline; you have to practice it."

What is meditation?

Many styles of meditation exist. There’s mindfulness meditation, Vipassana meditation, mantra meditation, transcendental meditation and even walking meditation….. Just to name a few.

It’s easy to get lost when trying to understand the different types of meditation. But no matter the style or school of the meditation practiced, they all share the same goal.

To meditate is simply to relax and observe the mind. The goal of meditation is not to fight with the mind in order to keep it from thinking. In meditation, we don’t try to stop the thoughts but rather to detach from them and peacefully observe them with neither the need to entertain them, nor react to them.

Many benefits can be reaped from this practice; the mere act of sitting with our thoughts can make our bodies and minds healthier and more balanced.

The benefits of meditation:

The practice of meditation has been proven to have a lot of benefits for the body and the mind.

Practicing meditation can improve the immune system [1], the cardiovascular system (our heart and blood vessels) [2] as well as the quality of our sleep [3].

Meditation has also been shown to lower stress levels of those who regularly practice it. Thus improving their quality of life and lowering their risk of suffering from anxiety and depression or engaging in stress related behaviors and addictions [4].

A regular meditation practice can literally change the structure of the brain [5] [6] and improve cognitive functions [7].

In numerous studies, meditation has been shown to improve the attention and the ability to focus [8] [9]. It can also improve our memory and the ability to remember and recall things [10].

How can meditation make us more successful?

Meditation can make us successful because it operates on two levels: the gross and the subtle.

On the gross level, meditation makes our bodies healthier, our minds more relaxed and our brains alert and more productive.

On the subtle level, the meditation practice helps us build character and cultivate qualities and values. These values help us become better individuals, and give us the tools necessary to live a happy and successful life.

A lot of time can pass by before a practitioner starts to experience benefits from the meditation practice. We need to meditate every day in order to get a glimpse of the inner peace and the sweet taste of a calm mind. Good things take time and practice, and we need to learn not to get discouraged if we don’t always succeed in ignoring our thoughts and calming the mind. This way, meditation can help us cultivate an attitude of determination, resilience and patience.

In order to meditate, we have to be fully present. Present in time and space, present with our thoughts and our body. This way, meditation can help us live in the now. We stop being sad by letting go of yesterday, and we stop being anxious by letting go of tomorrow.

Meditation helps us develop an internal locus of control. When we stop being slaves to our thoughts and emotions, we cultivate a proactive mindset instead of a reactive one.

Setting the time for a regular meditation practice is not an easy task. But by doing it we learn to control our tendencies and not give in to the instant gratification of getting more sleep or surfing on the internet instead. This way, meditation helps us cultivate discipline.

Meditation helps us cultivate silence and inner clarity. The voices of our intuition and inner creativity cannot be heard in the constant rumbling and chaos that is our mind. Thus, a meditation practice can help us become more intuitive and creative.

By silencing the mind we also get in touch with our higher self. From this place we can meditate on our purpose or life mission, and be inspired to take the necessary action towards making our dreams come true.

When we stop identifying with our thoughts and emotions, our ego starts to shrink. This helps us cultivate an attitude of humility and compassion. We look at the world through a different lens, one of love and empathy towards the earth, the animals and our fellow human beings.

When we get in touch with the light within, meditation helps us feel less isolated. We become more aware of the connectedness of the universe and we find solace and meaning in knowing that we are a part of something greater than ourselves.

How to start a meditation practice:

Don’t let the complicated names or the 200 pages books scare you away from meditation. In order to meditate, you only need two things. You need thoughts, and the desire to silence those thoughts.

If you wish to start a meditation practice, follow these simple steps:

-Pick a place for your meditation practice; somewhere you won’t be disturbed. It can also be helpful to set a timer for your meditation session; you can even start with 5 or 10 minutes and build it up with time.

-Sit in a comfortable position and at a comfortable temperature. Don’t get too comfy or else you could fall asleep, sitting in easy pose or on a chair are good options.

-Choose an anchor for your meditation practice. An anchor can be your breath, a mantra (word or sound), a visualized flame or any other mental image you desire. The anchor is what you bring your attention back to every time you get carried away with a thought.

-Close your eyes, take a deep breath and relax. Start by being aware of your surroundings and what your senses are telling you. Do you hear any sounds? Do you smell any odors? Just observe and be aware.

-As you get more and more relaxed, bring your attention inward, and simply be aware of your thoughts. Observe them as you did your senses, try not to entertain or react to them.

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