Last June, scholar and clinician Paula Chieffi led her weekly Zazen meditation session at Stillpoint Spaces Zürich, Klosbachstrasse 99, and I had the opportunity to be one of the participants. The experience had such a significant impact on me that it raised thoughts, questions and answers about the benefits of meditation that I would like to share with you.
We have all heard about meditation, some of us may have had a go at it but how many of us take the time to practice it regularly? Each day, we feel that we must deal with many tasks, and we may even do some of them simultaneously. It would be interesting to list these activities and assess their relevance for our fundamental fulfilment. Finishing a task at work that could have been done the following morning may be appreciated by our boss…but what does it bring to us? Is the bathroom really that dirty after two uses that we need to clean it again? What are we missing during that time? These actions keep us occupied but are they essential to our lives? Are they worth their price in time and energy?
If we take a closer look at our daily activities we can easily find 10 to 30 minutes that could be used to our own benefit only. Many options are available, from a walk, to reading a few pages that matter to you as you drink your favourite drink. But today I’d like to focus on a this very simple and effective possibility: giving ourselves the means of clarifying what is important to us, what we will decide to do for ourselves, simply by being static.
Sitting in front of a white wall with a straight back for 10 minutes, you allow your mind to accept superfluous thoughts as they come, and disappear. Thereby, your body begins to let go of accumulated stress. At first, you may feel physical discomfort, knots untying, parts of the body rebalance, tears coming to your eyes:your whole being is in a decluttering process. As stress releases, you feel relief. You may start experiencing pleasant thoughts, such as visualizing nice places or events, breathing calmly, or remembering good memories. During this phase you become fully aware of your body as it expresses its needs.
At this point, you are ready to reach insight and may become more clearly aware of the actions you need to take to do what you really wish. You may become more aware of all those things you procrastinate or do not even think about doing because you feel too guilty or selfish—all those things that would bring happiness to your life but that you relegate to a secondary or third position. Thereby, you keep being frustrated, and translate this feeling into negative moods and behaviours. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to turn this state of being into a fulfilled one?
Only 10 minutes a day of concentration while facing a white wall allows you to create the space that your mind and body need to make decisive thoughts emerge. We all live this experience in different ways since our needs are unique. We also feel dissimilar sensations from one day to the next because what we live differs every day. The result is the same though: we all end up seeing more clearly what we can do to be who we are.
So 10 minutes a day can be a great gift. The more we give ourselves these small time breaks the more we can fill our life with actions that we fully own. The final reward is the permission to be ourselves.
Marie-Ange Pradas Ramos
Psychologist, Counsellor, Life Coach