I first started to really believe everyone should meditate a few years ago on my first day of teaching yoga in the Kinesiology department at the University of Western Ontario.
I was teaching 50 UWO students an activities course in yoga. I knew I wanted to add meditation and breathing into the curriculum because they are part of yoga, but I also knew that they would benefit from it. This was a group of tired, stressed and over stimulated 20 year olds, the perfect candidates for meditation. They needed a time out, a break from the stress of life in a big way. Students are known for cramming for tests, partying, staying up late, for being in a competitive environment, often all on their own for the first time in their lives. There are also a lot of changes happening and new experiences. Some students have to balance jobs, or are creating debt, or maybe even aware of the strain on their parents finically to support them.
There is also the ever distracting electronic devices, phones, internet, TV, computers, and tablets often used at the same time. We do so love them!
I asked the students on the first day, “Who feels stressed or overwhelmed?” They all put up their hands. “Who feels like they are thinking about more than one thing at a time?” They all put up their hands. Then I asked “Who has been told that they must multi-task?” again all hands went up. Finally my favorite, “Who knows exactly where there phone is right now? We all laughed at that one. As I was thinking about this, I realized I don’t know a single person who doesn’t feel this way. It sort of blew me away, I knew that I was stressed and over worked, and had used meditation to balance my life. To keep me happy, sane and focused. I just took it for granted that my stress was because of my unique life experiences. I was trying to show these students that I understood what they were going through. However, WE are all going through life like this. Stress from jobs, relationships, dreams, goals, disappointment and the every distracting electronic devices is happening in everyone’s life. So if I could use mediation to make me happy, and I was telling these students to use it to help them focus. To take a break from everything swirling around them at all times. To allow them to experience how great it feels to have one focus at least once a day. It became so clear to me that yes, everyone everywhere should be meditating.
Just think about the world full of people who have taken even five minutes a day to find some quiet calm peace within. Even if those five minutes are just following the breath, and allowing a wondering mind to have something to return to. The possibility of the amazing kind, patience, and happy people we would all be. From this who knows what could happen, what we could achieve successfully in our lives.
I love to tell everyone I meet, just take those five minutes, see what happens when you are only thinking about one thing. Each and every time even before they do it, there is a relieved look on their face.