I’ve been thinking about how best to express this to you. I’m sensitive with this topic particularly because of the connotations that the word ‘meditation’ carries. Although meditation can inspire plenty of people to practice it, the sheer thought of the word may remove interest by so many due to the assumption that it’s linked to spirituality or bring up signifiers that don't resonate with them at all. You know, incense burning, sitting awkwardly crossed legged while listening to music made for monk-like monasteries [see above featured image jokingly drawn by lovely friend and crew member of The Voice, Liz, and pasted on my green room door], using words like 'The Universe', sanskrit words, crystals, mantras, chakras, the constant omming - I know it's not a word. You get the picture.
Sure, the roots are heavily linked to spirituality, and some of the above I'm naturally intrigued by. Heck, I just bought a bunch of colourful crystals for the first time the other day and put them by my bed, who knows if they'll make me more 'creative'. But like anything in life, things evolve. Though I’ve practiced meditation a number of ways and can’t string a sentence of sanskrit together, I want to express my understanding of why meditation is useful in the most simplest of ways. Meditation can be anything it wants to be for you. Meditation put simply, calms the mind.
HERE’S A THEORY FROM OUR ‘OL MATE, EINSTEIN
I saw this quote by Albert Einstein the other week which, in my view, best sums up the results of meditation.
“Everything is energy and that’s all all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality that you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”
I’ve noticed in many of our day to day lives that we get worked up or overwhelmed with our responsibilities, our relationships with others, the many hats we need to wear - worker, spouse, care giver. We worry, we become anxious, we over think. I’m certainly not an exception to this and for the last two years or so I feel that I’ve really tried, even more so in the last six months or so, to have a sense of empowerment and control. All with meditation by my side.
Meditation tells the mind to shush! It allows you to be still, even for 5, 10, 15 minutes of the day to focus your mind from all those loud day to day thoughts to a nice simmer, an awareness of your breath and give you a sense of calm. If you take the time out for yourself it can have the ability to alleviate your stress, fatigue, increase your awareness and attention in your day and some may say, improve your overall happiness.
So if we got back to Einstein’s theory to match the energy, if say, instead of heading into your day in a frenzy and meditation was the first thing you did in the morning, it could have the ability to allow yourself to be in a state of calm before you head out the door, phone in hand, email and social media scanning while you hit the morning traffic - all things that get that mind nosily buzzing away. If you gave the time to consciously be by yourself the results of meditation could not only make you calmer but think about what's only necessary (which tends to happen to me when I meditate) and to take all that the day brings to you in your stride. I feel that with meditation along with other mind work which I’ll explain in future posts is why I see life more positively and I react better to life situations that may have previously put me off kilter.
HOW DO I MEDITATE?
Good question. If you’re new to this I think the best way to approach meditation without alienating anyone is through free guided meditations available online called Smiling Mind. Smiling Mind guides you through simple meditation techniques with no bounds to spiritual/religious ideologies.
Jane Martino, co-director of Smiling Mind, approached me while I was filming The Voice. Jane was in the final stages of creating Smiling Mind and we spoke over the phone for almost an hour while I was backstage. During The Voice I was meditating hardcore - to get used to my surrounds, a large production with so many more people working with me than what I was used to. I had to create a sense of calm with the live production while wired up on social media and such.
Up until that point my associations with mediation were rewarding, and though I was and still am grateful for the experiences, the thing that didn't sit well with me was that it was exclusive. I was either learning through friends who had been taught by gurus in India, or openly accepted the spiritual nature of some of the practices that were taught to me (where other's would be turned off by it). The most common aspect of the teachings I received was that if one had to pay, it was freakin’ expensive to learn. So when Janey and I spoke it seemed more perfect than ever for me to champion an initiative like this and spread the word about this amazing offering to people. Smiling Mind has been designed with specialised psychologists and has age specific programs:
- 7-11 years
- 12-15 years
- 16-22 years; and
I think the great thing that Janey and her people have also done with Smiling Mind is that if you're interested, you can just download what you like, pick and choose. Their meditations are guided by a professional voice over guy, with a warm and not too twangy Australian accent to take you to a place of calm. Thumbs up for the voice casting!
Have you ever experienced meditation? What benefits have you noticed from meditating? Thought about it and want to give it a shot? Tell me more, tell me more below!