One More Reason to Learn Meditation – It is more valuable to understand meditation than you may realize. Finding out how to meditate has unexpected bonuses. It is always delightful to get more from an activity than you anticipate. Suppose, for instance, that, wanting to shed pounds, you begin and sustain a day-to-day program of walking briskly for 30 or 45 minutes. A couple of months later when you go to your physician for a check-up, you learn that you have indeed lost a significant amount of weight. Then your physician mentions that your blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels have also dropped–and you are delighted! You had not anticipated those bonuses.
You probably know already that, if you learn meditation and exercise it daily, it is possible to reasonably expect to enjoy reduced stress and improved concentration.
You possibly will not recognize that, in the event you learn meditation, the standard of your emotional life will even improve. You are going to experience fewer troublesome emotions and, whenever you do experience them, they will be of decreased intensity and duration.
Why? How could your emotional life improve merely by figuring out how to meditate? If you were to learn meditation, why might that have a good effect on you emotionally?
It is incontrovertible that, with time, your emotional life will improve if you learn meditation and rehearse daily. The explanation for why that takes place is questionable, but I think I can present you with the key idea. I first discuss emotions briefly and then connect them to learning how to meditate.
(1) The explanation depends upon the peculiar nature of emotions. Everyone agrees that your particular emotions are reactions to events which you regard as vital for your welfare and emotions begin so quickly they seem automatic.
This explains why emotions evolved. Much like us, our ancestors occasionally found themselves in situations which were vital that you their welfare and that called for quick action in reaction. Thinking about what you can do, cogitation, is just too slow; if you had to take into account what you can do when a snake strikes, you will definately get bitten. We evolved automatic appraisal mechanisms and reactions which allow us to react quickly, for instance, to jump back coming from a striking snake while not having to consider what you can do.
Emotions automatically produce alterations in our minds and autonomic nervous systems. These changes produce many bodily effects that prepare us for various kinds of actions. Typically, emotions begin in milliseconds without our being aware of their beginnings.
Because the legal system should certainly do, emotions reflect the wisdom in the ages. You together with I benefit not just from the personal learning we have carried out in our lifetimes but also from your thousands and thousands of years of experience accumulated by our ancestors. Those of our ancestors who reacted too slowly were less likely to survive and reproduce.
Since these automatic mechanisms are usually working, we are able to devote our conscious focus on other activities that interest us. (It really is ironic that what we choose to consider is less essential to our survival compared to what we do not have to consider!)
This does not always mean that there is absolutely no link between our thinking and our emotions–not at all! Actually, sometimes merely thinking certain thoughts can stimulate an emotional reaction. We can become emotional merely by thinking about or remembering as well as just imagining something. We are able to become emotional sometimes by simply referring to something as well as empathizing with somebody else who is speaking about emotions.
It functions another way, too. Emotions have an affect on our thinking. Once you have experienced a strong emotion before, you have undoubtedly noticed how your range of focus narrows. It might be difficult to consider other things. In fact, when you experience a powerful emotion it filters out material that is certainly not congruent along with it. This, too, is definitely an evolutionary advantage, because it forces you to definitely confront the immediate problem.
In that sense, individuals who are emotional are unbalanced. They cannot even access information they might otherwise notice. This is simply not clear-headed thinking.
It is one reason why emotional responses can be maladaptive. They often times, perhaps usually, work, but sometimes they are doing not work well. As a result sense: because the world is usually changing, how could any fixed response often be the best one?
Probably the most important skills in living well is finding out how to manage our emotions well. Everyone has emotions, and the only important question about the standard of our emotional lives is how well we assist them.
Managing them well requires becoming conscious of them as at the start of the automated emotional response process as you can. It is impossible to control an emotion without noticing that you have it.
(2) To understand meditation is to become familiar with a new skill. I myself practice zazen, so it will be my example. Zazen is just one sort of Buddhist meditation. It is extremely quick and easy to learn. (It is not, however, very easy to master!) I suggest that everyone learn meditation. There are may ways to meditate, and one or more of these will continue to work well for you.
All types of meditation practice are breathing practices. ‘Spiritus’ is the Latin word that the English word ‘spiritual’ comes. ‘Spiritus’ means ‘breath’ or ‘wind.’ A spiritual practice, a meditation practice, is a practice based upon awareness of breathing.
The way beginners are taught zazen is just by counting the breaths. It is quite simple: just sit still in some classic meditation posture or other and focus your attention on the breathing. Count each inhalation and exhalation. Begin with ‘one,’ end with ‘ten’, and repeat all through the practice session. Should you get lost or distracted, just start again with ‘one.’ The next practice is actually to count just the exhalations.
Notice that, like our automatic emotional responses, breathing is automatic. There is no need to consider breathing. It merely happens. Automatic emotional responses, too, just happen. You do not have to consider them.
You happen to be free to concentrate on your breathing or otherwise. You might be free to concentrate on your emotional responses or otherwise (even though it is a lot more difficult to ignore them rather than ignore your breathing).
Exactly why are people who learn meditation better at managing their emotions?
It is because they become skilled at watching one automatic process (breathing) which skill is transferable towards the automatic responses that are emotions. Just since it is possible to manage your breathing, therefore it is possible to manage your emotions!
This is not a genuine idea. As an example, in the “Afterword” to his helpful book EMOTIONS REVEALED, Dr. Paul Ekman recommends which everybody learn meditation to evaluate its emotional benefits. The focusing skills which are wfcrvm whenever we meditate “transfer with other automatic processes–benefiting emotional behavior awareness and eventually, in a few people, impulse awareness.”
Those who have learned the best way to meditate and exercise daily have understood for a lot of, many centuries the emotional advantages of meditation. Classically, that benefit is not emphasized because it is considered merely a secondary benefit (to the primary advantage of spiritual awakening or enlightenment).
However, if you wish to live better emotionally, that desire is a sufficient reason to begin with a meditation practice.