Have you ever felt that you've almost made up our mind, but then, from nowhere, a black cloud of doubt appears that doesn't seem to clear? Such doubts are like ripples in the water that give us a distorted reflection of ourselves and all that are around us. But once the ripples settle down, everything becomes crystal clear.
Is it possible to achieve that crystal-clear state of mind or is it just a fool's paradise? Fortunately, it is very much possible with regular practice of meditation. Meditation, a time-tested technique, is like that signboard that shows you the way out of your jungle of thoughts. It is the unseen force that settles the ripples of doubts in your mind and gives clarity in what you think and how you act. How can meditation transform the quality of our thoughts? What's the science behind it? Let's discover in the following sections.
#1 Meditation Induces a Sense of Calm
You might have come across this Chinese proverb: "When you feel confused, take a pillow and go to bed". They probably knew that sleep can calm down your confused mind. But, do you know that meditation can replicate this calming effect? Did you know that when in meditation, our body's oxygen requirement goes down by 10 to 20 percent, which otherwise goes down by only 8 percent during sleeping? A lower oxygen requirement is an indication of a heightened sense of calm, which gives our body its much-needed rest. A calm mind can think more clearly than a restless mind because it is not scattered all over the place.
#2 Meditation Increases Your System's Energy
The mechanics of meditation we discussed in the previous point shows that meditation increases our energy levels. When this happens, all doubts and confusion give way to clarity of mind. Have you noticed that when you were sad or feeling low, you were not clear in your mind? And do you also remember being happy when you knew just what needed to be done? Clearing your mind of confusion is like clearing the dust from the window. You can see and sense better when you are happy. It can happen when our energy levels are high. This way, meditation can be your energy booster. Dust is like doubt and a clean window is like clarity of mind, which will inevitably also reflect in our actions. It will all come with a few minutes in meditation.
#3 Meditation Makes You Focused
Have you observed yourself at the times you felt you were very focused on your work or whatever you were doing? At all such times, you were probably also high on energy. That is because your energy is not diverted to other wasteful thoughts. Our mind is like a computer's RAM (the part of a computer that does all the thinking, analyzing, and interpreting). So, when there are too many programs (thoughts) running in the background on a computer, the more important programs slow down. This is a near-perfect analogy for our scattered mind, and meditation helps you shut down these unwanted programs. Meditation can clear your mind of wasteful, noisy thoughts. That undoubtedly makes us clear in the mind, and we are able to work and take decisions with clarity.
#4 Meditation Improves Observation, Perception, and Expression
You undoubtedly know that your eyes are your window to the world outside? Can you see clearly when you have a speck of dust in your eye? Similarly, is it possible to perceive things clearly when you have stress in your nervous system? We start doubting ourselves and others when our mind is shrouded by the emotions of anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, fear, and/or regret. Meditation makes us centered, and such feelings don't bother us much.
At the same time, it improves our observation of the world inside and out. We are more receptive to how we feel and how others feel about us. Once we start listening to ourselves, it becomes easier to have a say on our feelings and emotions. Clearer observation means a clearer understanding of the situation and clearer distinction of right from wrong, which inevitably affects our decision making.
Undoubtedly, this is also going to improve your communication skills and make the content of your communication richer. When your perception and observation are clear, you know what to express and how to do it.
#5 Meditation Retains Clarity For a Longer Time
While we've already understood how meditation clears the garbage from our mind and helps us grasp, think, and express clearly, it is also necessary to understand how to retain this clarity over the long term. That will come when we meditate regularly. Morning is a good time to meditate because there is less chaos and we can meditate deeply. Daily meditation sustains our energy at higher levels. It also helps us maintain a perpetual state of calm, which we can otherwise lose easily when we face difficult situations. Not just that, meditation also keeps us grounded when we are overcome with happiness. The benefits of meditation are plenty.
Let's hear what one of our regular meditators have to say about meditation and the clarity of mind
With Meditation, I Brush Away The Clouds of Doubt
It's quite okay to be unclear about life and life's goals when you are young. I feel that's because we are inexperienced and still testing the waters. But there were times when over-thinking made things worse for me. I felt my thoughts were like a tangled ball of wool stuck in my head. When decisions had to be taken, I was never sure if I am going to make the right one. I would ponder over it again and again, have doubts, over-analyze things, and finally when I would come to a conclusion, I'd immediately start doubting it. And the whole process would start over, until my brain was boiling.
My confusions and problems would chase me until I started meditating regularly. Today, I can't imagine starting my day without meditation, which for me is the best tool to clear my mind and keep it calm, relaxed, and focused, all at the same time.
Ivana Mihalinec, Graphic Designer, Croatia