Have you noticed that constant chatter in your head – a non-stop nattering – that goes on in your head 24 hours a day? As Michael Singer advises in The Untethered Soul, “If, after reading this, you are hearing ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have any voice inside my head!’- That’s the voice we’re talking about.” Everyone has this constant, internal chatter going on, but the only difference is that some are more aware or conscious of it than others.
You might be thinking that this voice guides you and helps you in life.
Really? Upon closer examination, you will find that most of this nattering is negative and destructive at its worst, and at best, distracts us from being fully present in our experiences or moments.
Our internal voice is typically critical and judgmental of us and of others. It is like a running commentary of likes and dislikes, beliefs, opinions, judgements about our experiences, yourself and other people. This voice tends to focus on the past (“I should have said this instead”) and the future (“When I meet or talk to this person, I am going to tell them about…”), which distracts you from being in the present moment.
How does meditation help?
Meditation gives us a first-hand experience at recognizing this voice, with the subsequent realization that we are NOT the voice in our head. Instead, we are the one who hears it and potentially has power over it.
Have you ever tried to tell yourself that you’re not going to think about anything, only to find that you end up thinking about things even more? Or, have you ever tried to fall asleep by telling your thoughts to stop or even shut up?
Well, you can’t actually turn your mind off, as it is your mind’s job to think. What you can do, however, is learn to tone down its voice and learn to ignore it. That voice in your head is not YOU. This awareness naturally leads you to the realization that you do not have to believe everything it says. That is liberating!
Spiritual teachers, like the Buddha, have told us for centuries that meditation improves our health and wellbeing. Western scientists have now thoroughly researched the purported benefits of meditation and the evidence strongly supports these claims.
- Decreased blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Stronger immunity
- Better quality of sleep
- Better pain management
- Improved concentration and focus
- Better emotional regulation
- Faster recovery from stress reactions
- Feelings of contentment, peace, and happiness
- Feelings of being more spiritually connected
If you are interested in learning more about meditation and in particular, about different ways to meditate, check out Finding the Type of Meditation that Best Suits You.
Do you call yourself a meditator? Would you like to call yourself a meditator?