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How Meditation Contributes To Personal Growth

A Quote From Confusion To Clarity, The Book

A Quote From Confusion To Clarity, The Book

Have you ever had problems that won’t go away, recurring situations that cause you to ruminate, rather than guide you to focus and to be at peace in the moment? There are situations in everyone’s life that can only be understood on the level of the soul, rather than with the rational mind. You know which situations these are because if you were able to understand them by thinking enough about them, eventually they would be solved but instead confusion remains, just eating away at you.

I often find that by simply relaxing and clearing my mind, I suddenly realize something that had eluded me for a very long time when I tried to figure it out through working with my mind. These realizations often seem profound when they arrive (when we arrive) but what I believe is more profound, is that meditation opens us in a way that can enable us to quickly receive our own inner wisdom and guidance, leaving us with powerful new perspectives that can change our daily lives. All it takes is practice, and the willingness to surrender.

There is no correct way to meditate and there are many different ways to meditate. I use four different meditation practices, one on a daily basis, and the others, from time to time. Morning meditation I believe is the most important because it sets the pace for the day. We have sixteen, if not more waking hours in front of us as we face each day. By taking part of an hour early in the day for meditation practice, I establish my intention and rhythm for the day, and the rest of the hours seem to fall into place. This is because meditation has a residual and cumulative effect, the more consistently we do it. “When we learn to listen with our soul, our life becomes larger,” is a quote in my first book, From Confusion To Clarity, which goes into greater depth about the many benefits of having a meditation practice.

What is your preferred meditation practice? My daily practice involves chanting in front of a scroll which serves as a focal point. I’ve also done Transcendental Meditation which is the silent repetition of a mantra, given especially to you by someone trained in TM. You are not supposed to share your mantra with anyone or ever say it aloud. It is meant to be yours and yours alone. My mantra was given to me several years ago by a teacher who had just returned from a retreat in India with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of TM. I won’t forget the moment my mantra was first whispered in my ear or the many benefits I’ve received since embracing both of these practices.

Since those early days, I have also used the Holosync Solution, which is sound meditation with headphones, and involves listening to rain and crystal bowls, as well as guided meditation with Neale Donald Walsch, where you write down a question, and the answer to your question is received during the meditation. All of these are powerful forms of meditation, for me and many others, and I highly recommend them, I have friends that do yoga, and I have tried different types of yoga but none seem to resonate with me. You must find what works for you.

Like meditation, inspirational quotes can serve a similar purpose in the sense that they help to remind us of and reinforce, ways in which we can reframe our thinking. There are many places to find daily inspirational quotes. I invite you to visit me at https://www.facebook.com/MicheleHarveyAuthorPoet where I post inspirational quotes twice daily. If my inspirational quotes resonate with you, please become my friend or subscriber.

Taking a walk in nature, doing the dishes, sweeping leaves, dancing, all these things and many others, can serve as meditation practice when you relax into the present moment, attune with your senses, and when your mind is clear and unattached to whatever thoughts may occur. What is your preferred meditation practice? How has your life improved since you started meditating? What do you find challenging about meditation? What if anything holds you back from embracing a daily meditation practice?

36 Responses to How Meditation Contributes To Personal Growth

  • Becc says:

    I have tried so many different meditation styles and still find it very difficult to settle that monkey mind of mine. I did however recently notice that floating in the pool has a way of letting my mind go blank and thought this is a great way to get meditation in to my day. Possibly after I master this, it may be easier to try the other ways.

    • With meditation as with anything else in life, you have to find what works for you. I wouldn’t concern myself with mastering it, necessarily. There are times when I find it difficult to still my mind. When I become aware that this is occurring, I just look at my thoughts,label them, “thinking,” and continue with my meditation. Restraint is important and I mention this because sometimes when my thoughts are running around in my head, my impulse is to stop meditating. If I instead, sit through it, I am then training my mind instead of it being the other way around. Thank you for your comment Becc. Water is wonderfully rejuvenating. May you continue to float.

  • Pat Amsden says:

    Can you have more than one TM for meditating? There are two things I’d like to focus on. Right now I’m pretty sporadic in my practise but know it can be very effective. Doing it each morning would be ideal but I know when my alarm goes off at 5:30 in the morning there will be a lot of mornings when I decide not to. Did you know iPad has an app for meditation? It’s not perfect but it gives a music background and let’s you set a timer.

    • There are different types of chants used in meditation but with TM, you only have one mantra. Thank you for mentioning the meditation app. I believe Neale Donald Walsch’s guided meditation may be available as an app.

  • Does that need to have a guided meditation to do that, or can you just sit with your question? I might try that out, because I really like the idea that our minds work out questions when we don’t try too hard to think about them.
    I have a silly little image that I use when thoughts creep into my head while I’m trying to meditate (or in savasana at the end of my yoga practice). Remember the little cartoon guy with the broom at the end of the Carol Burnett show? I imagine that little guy coming and sweeping the extraneous thoughts away. Not sure when or how I started doing that, but it works for me. 🙂 This is great–I love the question/answer thing.

    • The meditation where you ask a question by writing it down before you meditate, is a 30 minute guided meditation led by Neale Donald Walsch. This meditation is extremely powerful and useful to me. You may be able to get it as an app or DVD. It basically involves writing down a question before you meditate and then letting go of your question when you do the meditatation. When you open your eyes, you just start writing the first thing that occurs to you. That first thought is the answer to your question. This meditation does not work for everyone but it does work for most people who do it, I believe. I love the image you shared with us. Thank you for your comment, Sharon Purvis.

  • Hi Michele,

    It’s wonderful you have four meditation practices. If one can find one that works for them, they’ve found a gem. (I think that means you have a goldmine!)

    One of my absolute favorite methods of meditating involve me “clearing a space” in which I visualize a field with me sitting in the middle of it, surrounded by all sorts of nasty intruders. (Those intruders represent unwanted situations, urgent/relentless thoughts, not-so-nice people.)

    The meditation exercise slowly clears them all away, in fact, pushes them all back beyond my sphere of calm. When nothing and no one is within the periphery (both visual and conscious), only then do I actively listen (for wisdom or whatever); thereafter I can pray, praise and enjoy peace.

    I don’t think I’ve written this down in the past decade, but happy to share it now.

    Thanks for lifting meditation up where it belongs. 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing your meditation method with our readers, Vernessa. I have heard of this type of meditation and have used a similar one in the past. These days, my meditation involves remembering that we are all one. All living things are aspects of the Divine, like spokes of a wheel, emanating from the Source.

  • Jason B says:

    I meditate every once in a while. I think it is something that I should do more of. I need mental clarity more everyday it seems.

    • Meditation is important because we all need mental clarity. Every choice we make, including every dollar we spend, makes a statement about the type of world we choose to live in. We are always creating our experience. Thank you for your comment, Jason B.

  • Beth Niebuhr says:

    I enjoyed your explanations of different kinds of meditation. I have only meditated when guided by a yoga teacher. I would like to try some other forms.

    • Keep experimenting with meditation until you find what truly resonates with you. You can ask the universe, God, etc. to lead you to the best practice. Thank you for your comment, Beth Niebuhr.

  • I haven’t meditated in ages and I think I’m overdue. I have generally done it in the morning, but I think it may work better for me in the evening now. thanks for the reminder.

    • Most meditation practices encourage meditation in both the morning and the evening. I did this for several years. Early morning meditation is recommended I believe, not only because it sets the stage or helps to frame how we show up in the world during the day, but also because after waking, we are more open and receptive. Thanks for your comment Debra Yearwood. We all have to do what works for us and meditation is always of value, I believe.

  • Hi Michele: I don’t currently meditate, but I do know when it’s time to shut down and give myself some down time. When I get stiff in the neck, it usually means I need to clear my mind and stretch out. It always helps me prepare for the day ahead if I do that before I go to sleep.

    I love inspirational quotes and subscribe to this service:
    http://famous-quotes-quotations.com/quote.html. Cheers!

    • Though quite different from meditation which can also be done with a group, I agree that down time is important. Though sleep is also important, meditation has been found to decrease the amount of sleep we need. I am grateful for the added productivity and objectivity I experience in my daily life as a result of meditation practice. Thank you for your comment, Doreen.

  • Mina Joshi says:

    Yes meditation helps us keep things in focus and helps remove tension. I meditate every morning by lighting a candle and chanting a mantra called Gayatri Mantra which is universal and can be shared with everyone. It makes me feel refreshed after the mantra – ready to face the day.

  • Susan Cooper says:

    It has been a great while since I have practiced regular meditation sessions. They were (still are) a great way for me to get in tune with my inner self. It’s funny that you should be writing about this now my friend, because I have been putting some energy into getting back to my morning meditations. Your post has reminded me of the many benefits of that practice, more to the point, the personal reasons I need to get back to it. 🙂

    • There have been long periods of time in my life when I did not meditate but as soon as I went back to doing it, I noticed a big shift in my awareness of things. Thank you for your comment, Susan Cooper.

  • Catarina says:

    Like Laurie, I meditate before I go to sleep. It works very well and has a positive impact on me in every respect. It enables me to relax, go through what happened during the day and, often, gives me ideas that are excellent.

  • lunaticg says:

    I don’t do meditation but I do exercise long long time ago before I married in 2011. 😀

    We cannot run away from problems, we should face it and try our best to solve the problem. Yes.., we need something that can help us relieve stress. I never try meditation before, i don’t know if it will work for me.

    • Meditation is like food for your soul. It works for everyone but the key is to find the particular forms of meditation that you resonate with. Meditation enables us to tap into our deeper understanding of things.

  • Donna Janke says:

    I don’t have a daily meditation practice as such. I do tai chi (although not on a daily basis) and that is excellent for relaxing into the present. Walking outdoors clears my mind. Journaling also helps get rid of thoughts and worries blocking the creative spirit.

  • Jeri says:

    I find that talking my dog on a 1.5 mile walk while listening to audio books has done much to give me a point in the day where I can get outside while losing myself in a story. The effects in motivating me to write have been well worth it.

    • So true, Jeri. Many of my writing ideas and in fact, entire poems have ‘come to me’ while walking or even horseback riding, with a mind clear of thoughts. These experiences are both liberating and empowering examples of how we can become conscious of something without really thinking or ‘working on it.’ Of course, this type of meditation is great for creativity and relaxation, but I find that it doesn’t really change my level of consciousness or how I show up in the world or respond to other people. For this broader experience, I choose one of the other forms of meditation discussed in my article.

  • Michele, as you have said, so many other things can serve as meditation practice, when you are in the present moment, I think dancing is right for me ( definitely not making dishes ). And as I remember from my past, sewing has worked well for me, or painting recently, this time I am fully in the process and I’ve been lost to family, world and everything else…Thank you!

    • Yes, painting, sewing, writing, all keep us in “the zone,” if those creative outlets call to us. Each type of meditation affects us differently, at least that has been my experience, which is why I’ve experimented with and embraced many. When I lived in Chile where most people do not have automatic dishwashers, I found that I enjoyed having my hands in the water. Doing the dishes actually became a form of meditation for me. Funny as it seems, after being stateside again for over two years, I have only recently begun to use a dish machine again.

  • There is quite a bit of scientific study data that confirms meditation to be an effective way to de-stress and also has a big effect on expanding a sense of empathy! I’ve been doing it a long time…don’t know how I ever lived without it. But the empathy effect is the most amazing thing to me…………..

    • I agree that empathy is one of the biggest effects of meditation. Because empathy makes the world a better place through improving our relationships or at the very least, our understanding of people and situations, it is a tool that cannot be overlooked. Since we live in a world of constant change and we relate with more people than ever before on a daily basis, meditation is the anchor that keeps us connected with our highest and most centered self so we can show up most authentically when interacting with others. Thank you for your comment, Jacquie.

  • I meditate at night before I go to sleep. And, when I go to my favorite mountain top behind my house. Just listening to the birds and wind is very relaxing and renewing!

    • Meditating before bedtime is a good way to clear your mind and to re-cap the day’s events. That said, it is best to do this before you get too tired so that you don’t fall asleep while meditating. Thank you for your comment, Laurie.

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