Do you meditate? I don’t, but I want to. I have tried it before but my mind always ends up wandering off to something that happened that day or worse, my mind mentally checks out my to-do list. This is around the point I usually stop meditating and bring out my to-do list and get lost in the busyness of my day. I’ve heard a few high profile successful people share stories on how their lives *significantly* changed with meditation, but I never really bought it. Not completely. Sure I thought that it probably made them more calmer in the moment but a part of me thought that the benefits of meditation were being hyped up a bit … maybe even a touch placebo.
Listening to Sarah Lazar’s TED presentation ‘How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains‘ made me rethink how I look at meditation. Sarah talks about how when she took yoga classes she really enjoyed the sessions, but wasn’t really keen when her teacher started making claims how yoga would make her more compassionate. It’s not that she didn’t want to be more compassionate, Sara just didn’t really believe that yoga could achieve this and would think to herself “yeah yeah I’m here to stretch.” As it would happen, a couple of weeks after starting yoga Sara began to notice changes. She felt calmer, she could handle situations better and yes, she had more compassion.
This led Sara down a research path to study the connection and she learnt that there was a link between yoga, meditation and happiness. Ultimately this changed the course of her career, and in her position as a neuroscientist she started to study the effects of meditation on the brain. The results were pretty amazing, Sara learnt through brain imaging that meditation can actually change your brain structure!
If you haven’t already listened to Sara’s talk I recommend you do so and she talks about some specific case studies involved in the research that proved that meditation changes brain structure. It’s fascinating stuff and I think I will have to give meditation another go!
I would love to hear about your experience with meditation. Please drop a comment in the box below to let me know.