The mind tends to create opposite states and see its own experience as separate from others. This is a natural tendency to create judgements and it can help us to organize, sort, classify and arrange. However, this natural tendency can be a great hindrance to us, when it comes to understanding our self and others. Our judgements about ourselves create reactions. The reactions create a story, which we believe is true. When we believe a certain story, we behave a certain way. That behaviour reaffirms our beliefs. It is like throwing a stone in a pool of water. The ripples play out for a long time, and the movement attracts others to throw rocks as well.
According to Buddha, our habitual patterns are self perpetuating reactions to the world, and they keep playing out our Karma until we stop throwing the rocks :).
Meditation is a way to learn how to stop throwing the pebbles. We can learn how to stop habitual thought and behavior patterns that increase our problem, instead of reducing our problem. To many of us, mindfulness may react like it is just too much work (What, me, sit still?) or we may think (judge) it can’t help ME to sit still. So our judgements may stop us from learning perhaps the most powerful therapy in the world.
Knowing the real secrets behind our “very difficult” or “too easy” judgement that we may have about meditation would help us.
People who practice it can get addicted to mindfulness, because it gives so much relief. Here is a list of 8 secrets of why mindfulness meditation works.
Secret One: Meditation Changes the Brain
The wonderful aspect of mindfulness is the way it makes your brain more resilient. Your practice literally changes the brain, increasing brain cells and changing the structure of the brain. So, instead of you fighting hard and struggling to handle stress, the brain develops different neural pathways and connections, thus changing the reactions at source i.e., at the level of thought itself because of brain plasticity. Brain plasticity creates changes in neural pathways and synapses. The time you spend meditating transforms your brain.
Secret Two: Small steps add up
A somewhat magical aspect of the practice is that small steps are giant leaps. When people first start to meditate, they may feel really relaxed, and sleepy, unable to hold long meditations without going to sleep. For a lot of us, every day sleep is not as deep or really refreshing. Creating a practice of meditation, first helps with deeper sleep and people may experience major shifts in physical health over 6 months to a year.
Secret Three: Subtle doesn’t mean nothing is happening
It is subtle. Thus, you may underestimate what is actually happening. In modern life, the brain is bombarded with sound, color and information. For people who may be used to a lot of external stimulation, the subtlety of meditation can be elusive at first.
Secret Four: The meditation group supports you in the journey
Group energy can lift you through the stages of resistance or mind chatter.
Taking a course or joining a group and enjoying the group energy can mean more frequent and longer meditations because of the group support.
Secret Five: Be Here Now
There is nowhere to get to but here.
Many people want to transcend our experience of being here. Meditation’s transcendental and out of body experiences can appeal to people looking for something different—transcendental relief from the every day and the mundane.
For highly creative people, meditation can mean journeying, astral travel, deep insights and a marvelous explosion in creative inspiration. It can be so exciting.
These states are normal. They are souvenirs of the journey. But having these experiences are side dishes to the main course, which is greater inner peace and calm.
Secret Six: Patience
Some schools of meditation teach that a full 10 days of meditation is the only way to break the barrier of mind chatter. In meditation, the best pathway is to learn how to be present in the process, rather than how to do something. Practicing for 10 days at a stretch is helpful because of the sustained focus on one goal. But at HHA, we think that
even a tiny step out of the dark towards the light is a step out of the cycle of self sabotage and towards a cycle of freedom.
Secret Seven: I am because you are, but I have a choice
Knowing oneself leads to the realization that everything that you become and you are is because of something that happened to you, but you also have a choice in how much you allow yourself to be affected by what others think.
Secret Eight: Acceptance of What Is
The greatest treasure about the practice of meditation is acceptance, because it allows us to accept ourselves and our experience as we are. Self-acceptance makes us more self-aware and more aware of others’ needs as well.