When the coronavirus attacked and spread its tentacles across the world, the lives of all humankind came to a standstill. Partial or total lockdowns were announced by almost all countries and everyone was shut indoors. Initially, some enjoyed the imposed break as they found it a means of relaxation from their busy schedules. But as the days turned into weeks and weeks into months, visible emotional imbalances came to notice.
Some people managed to keep their emotions under control. Most were calm and composed but some were in a state of panic. They were fearful, while still others felt extremely insecure about their health and finances. Instances of domestic violence spiked as did depression and suicidal tendencies. Many were unable to cope with the ‘new normal’ and had no idea how to deal with this prolonged period of boredom. A small minority was, of course, able to adapt with the changed scenario.
Why do different people react differently to the same situation?
Before the pandemic hit, almost all of us had busy schedules and lifestyles. Everyone was party to the rat race to achieve targets and so-called successes, in the quest to ‘make it big’. In the process, stress, tension and anxiety became common social evils which we began to assume as necessary for progress. “I am stressed out,” became a common refrain from many.
In a paradox of sorts, we profess that ‘health is wealth’. But does this adage imply the absence of disease in the body or does it signify complete physical, mental, emotional and social well-being of an individual? Interestingly, almost all of us are closely aware of our physical health. We take time out to go to the gym or for morning walks, or some or the other kind of physical workout. We are also quite conscious in terms of maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet. However, what do we do to keep ourselves emotionally and mentally fit?
How often has it happened that our mind has been taken over by disturbing thoughts — ones that we are unable to get rid of? Do we find ourselves stuck in a whirlpool of those thoughts which affect our peace of mind to such an extent that we remain irritable throughout the day? Does it leave us totally drained out and sleep deprived?
The fact is that these negative emotions are already present within us. They merely come to the fore during times of crisis, as has been the case during this pandemic. These are underlying emotions that we never really paid heed to and never felt the need to address earlier.
The answer lies in meditation
A lot of people ask, “How can meditation help?” Many perceive it as ‘uncool’.
The reality is that the goal of meditation is not to control thoughts but to stop letting our thoughts control our minds, and our being.
When children meditate, it energises their brain cells. Consequently, they are able to think, study and learn faster. They are likely to be less moody and become more emotionally stable. During examinations, they are able to revise their syllabus in a shorter span of time because regular meditation practice helps increase their ability to concentrate and focus.
As for adults, the common issues they face are related to long working hours, fatigue, anger and stress management. Meditation has proven its mettle in helping managers and executives increase their mental capacity which, in turn, assist better and quicker decision making. Meditation increases inner calmness. It gradually brings clarity in outlook, making us more patient and understanding of others viewpoints.
Meditation is particularly beneficial for married couples. It helps heighten sensitivity and allows to each partner to be more aware of each other’s needs. Prior to their marriage, both individuals grew up in altogether different environments which gave less reason for sudden outbursts. Living together as adults, under the same roof, can and does imply adjustment problems.
Lifestyle diseases are commonplace today. Several such ailments are psychosomatic in nature. People with such health issues have shown remarkable improvement if the treatment includes both medical intervention and meditation.
Meditation increases intuitive faculty
There are approximately 60,000 thoughts that occur in a human mind every day. However, we only remember only a few. It is the ideas that come to us in a flash that actually work best. It is here that meditation plays a huge role.
Take the example of a businessperson who may not have specific details about a new business venture that he or she is planning to launch, but has the ‘gut feeling’ to move ahead. Or consider a person whose intuition tells him or her of a specific solution to an existing problem. In both cases, it is the intuitive ability that shows the way forward. Scientists possess a more heightened intuitive faculty than many. Case in point being it was the apple that fell from a tree that lead Newton to discover gravity!
There are various meditation techniques – from yoga, mindfulness, spiritual, transcendental and the like. Different meditation variations are chosen for different purposes. Some are done to increase feelings of love, caring and kindness in oneself and for others. Some lend themselves to increasing awareness and concentration. People also mediatate for body relaxation while some for spiritual development.
The fact is that all of us desire a body that is free of disease, an intellect free of inhibition, a mind liberated from confusion, memories free of trauma and a soul free of sorrow. The quality of our lives depends on the quality of our thoughts, and the quality of our thoughts can be largely attributed to regular meditation.