The benefits of meditation are many and varied, and some – such as stress relief and better sleep – are particularly well known. However, some of the positive impacts continue to fly under the radar of the public consciousness, and as meditation teachers, here at Beeja we’ve heard about lots of obscure and wonderful ways that meditation has improved people’s lives. So, what are the unusual benefits of meditation? Read on to find out!
No longer needing daily crutches
“I don’t longer need caffeine in the morning to wake up or during the day to cheer up or gain more energy”
Something we hear about again and again from Beeja graduates is a lessened need for those little crutches that make us feel less tired or stressed. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a cup of joe or occasional tipple, but so many of us find these treats marooned like little oases in our days – points of relief or stimulation that we are desperate to reach. Without them, we feel our reserves depleting and our patience stretched to its limit – and if something gets in the way (like discovering the coffee machine is broken, or the vape pen has run out of juice), it’s easy to become irrationally upset and disorientated.
Meditation reduces our reliance on these external sources of comfort or energy because we find that we have less need for them. All our energy and optimism begins to come from within, and our stress levels lower so dramatically that those few glasses of wine or raided biscuit tin are no longer needed to ease emotional strain. Once this happens, all those treats become what they should be – a pleasure to be enjoyed, not a necessity we rely on.
Less need for approval
“I need less validation from the outside world… I actually very much like myself now. And that is worth all the cyber thumbs up in the world.”
Itc can be hard to realise just how much of our behaviour can be motivated out of a desire for approval from others. Rather than being motivated by our own wants or what’s best for us, we often find ourselves capitulating to outside pressure. In some cases, this is overt (like scrambling to please an overbearing friend) but more often the pressure is a little less easy to put our finger on, as we try to live up to a nebulous societal expectation we barely notice we’ve burdened ourselves with.
The need for approval may even grow to be the driving force in our lives, and with social media now acting as a 24/7 validation machine, the impulse has become even harder to resist. But while sometimes it’s good to want to please, (and is often a sign of a sensitive and empathetic person, because they are so highly attuned to the needs of others) we have to ensure this doesn’t come at the expense of our own happiness, or hold us back from being our unique and vibrant selves.
After a period of meditation, students report far greater levels of self-confidence and a more highly developed intuitive understanding of their true motivations. Beeja meditation relaxes our nervous system to such an extent that we begin to process and heal old emotional hurts and break neurological patterns which trap us in certain emotions and behaviours. This gives us a sense of clarity and natural courage, so we start to live life with compassion both for others and for ourselves.
“Physically, I noticed the tingling at the front of my forehead, a big energy boost and my heightened senses”
One of the less expected benefits of meditation is a pleasant increase in our sensory perception. When we are stressed, we can move through life in a cloud, barely truly registering how things taste, feel or smell. Either that, or our senses feed information through to us as a maddening onslaught, with the flickering of electric lights, feeling of other people around us and clamour of noise ramping our body into a sense of high alert.
By deescalating our body’s sense of emergency and easing chronic stress, meditation increases our present moment awareness and gently brings our attention to the world around us. We neither live in a distracted fog or have to deal with the assault of information we register when our “fight or flight” response tries to gear us up for threats. Instead, we truly engage with our surroundings and start experiencing things as we are meant to experience them – whether that’s appreciating the beauty of a song or being struck by the greenness of a leaf.
Reduced muscle tension
“After just these few days, the knots in my back are so vastly improved that I can barely feel any of the tension that’s been stuck in there for the last 2 months.”
Many of us would be surprised to discover how much physical tension we unconsciously carry in our bodies. When we draw awareness to our body, it becomes strikingly clear that – even if we feel “normal” in ourselves – the little tell-tale signs of stress are playing out in the way we hold ourselves. Shoulders held up towards our ears, jaws set tight, fists clenched – these barely perceptible choices in the way we sit within our bodies are all indications of stress, and they are a major factor in the everyday aches and pains that many of us live with.
With meditation to act as a circuit breaker in our stress response, we can find that this body tension simply melts away, and we feel pretty amazing when we are liberated from it.
Experiences of euphoria
“This course gave me my first experience of meditative euphoria, and the prospect of this narcotic-free ecstasy made it easy to come back to.”
Tom, Editor, London
Given that the media conversation surrounding meditation is focused on serenity, stress management and increased productivity, perhaps it’s not surprising that the thing people are most surprised about meditation is the fact it can promote some pretty amazing feelings of euphoria. Not every meditation session is a transportative one, and occasionally they can even bring up difficult feelings as we begin to process old traumas, but feelings of pure joy can also be part of the meditation experience too.
Seeing the beauty in the everyday
“On a practical level I feel as if I notice much more around me, can now sleep all the way through the night without waking up, have more energy, am more interested in others and noticing that I am laughing a lot more (as well as hearing music in mundane sounds?!)”
The phrase “hearing music in mundane sounds” is perhaps one of the loveliest ways we’ve seen the way meditation helps us to see the beauty in the everyday described. There are wonderful things to be seen in even most every day of situations, whether that’s the happiness in a mate’s laugh or the way the light falls through a window at home, and meditation helps to amplify this beauty until we feel positively suffused in it.
It’s this that helps people to continue their meditation practice and why so many of us extoll the benefits of the practice – it truly makes our lives better and brighter in a series of hard to define yet profound ways. We are so used to living on the edge, with our minds and bodies constantly bombarded with stress, that when our nervous system starts to unwind itself from all this negative patterning we start to experience contentment as a bedrock in our lives, not a fleeting moment to be glimpsed and then lost.
If you would like to learn more about taking an online meditation course, feel free to get in touch.