Meditation and its effects

In a famous interview between the renowned Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh and the business magnate, Oprah Winfrey, the female host asked the monk “do you meditate every single day?’ The monk replied, ‘not every single day, every single moment, while drinking, while talking, while writing, while watering the garden, it is always possible to live in the here and the now.’   Ten Years ago, what most of the society think of meditation is an ascetic practice that only monks and yogis practice in caves and their recluse. However, as we fast forward to the present, we realize that meditation should be incorporated in our day-to-day lives. Meditation does not mean we have to sit down, close our eyes and focus at our breaths or mantras, even though that is one of the processes. Meditation can be incorporated in every single moment of our lives, so as long as we are focusing on the here and now. This is one of the keys to happiness. However, one of the saddest things the society faces today is that the world in fact does not gratify and encourage people to live in the present moment. The media very often report bad news to the public (the conflict between the Israelites and the Palestinians, the Greek debt crisis, the rising unemployment in the United States). It will never end and all of this news will spark fears and worry which affects the stock market, which in turn affects jobs. Hence, the people live in constant worry for the future.   People need meditation now more than ever. According to WHO, depression is the leading cause of disability in the world and over 350 million people in the world suffer from this terrible disease. In addition, the statistics show that the rates will continue to rise in alarming fashion if there is no appropriate intervention. Meditation has been proven to help with depression and other mental disorders through the restructuring of the brain. The brain is malleable and according to the latest research meditation decreases cell volume in the amygdala, the part of the brain, which is involved in fear, anxiety and stress.   Before we can reach to a level of ‘living in the present for every single moment’, a good start to meditation would be to sit cross-legged and focus on one’s breath. This is called mindfulness meditation. According to the bestselling book, the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, he talks about the ego is different from the Being. The ego constitutes of the experiences one had, the thoughts one made and beliefs one had. It is not oneself. It is just the persona that one has created in the mind. It is only through the observance of one’s mind and one’s ego that they will dissipate and one’s true Being will shine through. As one get in touch with the true Being, true bliss will be palpable.   I used to be constantly depressed about life, pondering about my existence in relation to the world’s mysterious plans. However, through meditation I was able to be happier and found a clearer purpose in life. It was also this reason I wanted to learn yoga. I wanted to deepen my meditation practice and I was not disappointed. Yoga taught me to be more self-aware of my breathing and my body postures. Meditation and yoga are pivotal in my life and I would never want to look back.   Lou (Tirisula Yoga 200 hr YTT)