Sometimes, I forget how powerful meditation is. It really gets lost in the daily shuffle of american life, but it is so beneficial to clear the mind and make space for new things to come. But after a long day of work, good luck getting anyone unglued from the TV.
I find that 5 minutes in the morning can change my whole day. It allows for a shift in perspective that just isn’t available without spending time to clear your mind. It can help you to space out your reactions, so that you are less reactive and more perceptive.
America is so obsessed with going fast; but I think we really want to go slow in this life, to feel all of the little sensations and feelings that we only get to experience once. Time, it seems, is the ultimate paradox because the more you want it and attach to it, the faster it goes by. Meditation can slow things down.
This is even more important when it comes to health; doctors are learning that lifespans are really measured by breath, rather than by heartbeats, or time. So lengthening and slowing your breath will also help you to live longer (not to mention lower your heart rate, reduce your risks of heart disease, and reduce the negative impacts of stress on the body).
5 minutes is all it takes. You don’t need to spend 5 hours trying to sit still (and good luck if you are trying!), but even extending your time to 20 minutes can completely shift the unconscious mind into a state of relaxation and awareness. We have to remember that we are not truly in control over the mind and that the unconscious is far more powerful than what we are aware of.
So for a few days, before sitting in front of the TV or relieving stress whatever ways that you do, spend 5 minutes just breathing, sitting still, and focusing on your breath or on nothing. It might add some years to your life, as well as appreciation for the present.