Some Thoughts on Meditation

A short reflection about my experience with meditation |

I’ve had a rough few months. Work, work, work, a failed research project, broken laptops, moving, PhD applications, financial mishaps… it’s been a stressful time. Bummer. But, it’s not big deal, this too shall pass, etc - the bummerness of the situation is not the point. The point is that as has happened before and will happen again, this current tired predicament has given me motivation to take up something I have been meaning to do for a while: writing about meditation.

Meditation - or at least the entirely secular non new-agey kind - has long intrigued me as a seemingly scientifically backed method for being calmer, healthier, and perhaps wiser. Particularly for a habitually working-too-much-and-taking-life-too-seriously type such as myself, it’d clearly be the height of rationality to go ahead and take up such an objectively good practice. Still, I did not start trying it out until two years ago after first hearing about and then reading a best-seller specifically aimed at selling anti-new-age skeptics like myself on the idea. The book was alright, a sort of shallow crowd pleaser, but it did convince my rational self it was time to do this thing.

So now that I’ve done it on and off for a couple of years, I feel compelled to write this: it works. It calms me down, improves my focus, gives me ideas, and is all around a worthwhile practice. Sitting up with eyes closed and attention focused on the breath, something so simple, invariably leads to an unmistakable change in my physical and emotional state. So much so that it has become a regular goto destressing practice akin to reading, excercise, or spending time with good friends. And as the last few months have been rough, it has been particularly helpful, and I have become particularly motivated to speak of its helpfulness.

Mind you, none of this is profound. Meditation has not changed me deeply, has not inched me closer to enlightnment, none of that. And what I refer to as meditation is just about the most basic and straighforward practice that can be called that, nothing at all advanced. And on top of that, much like excercise I am not even that good about consistenly doing it.

But, like excercise, whenever I do it I am impressed with how undeniably beneficial it is for me and wish I did it more. It really is a foolproof way of becoming less stressed, especially when the stress is a big heavy pile that’s been building up too long. And it’s so easy, especially in our modern there-is-an-app-for-everything times. I rather liked calm when getting started with it, and headspace is similarly good (nowdays I use Insight Timer).

So. If you’ve read this far, all this obviously goes to say - maybe you should try it too. I am certainly glad I did.