Why Bother To Meditate If You Don’t Have Anxiety?
by Kelvin Chin
Stress Management Expert & Meditation Teacher
Hundreds of medical studies have shown us that meditation is perhaps the most effective way to reduce and eliminate anxiety. And we all know the many health benefits — both psychological and physiological — that can come from having no anxiety.
And there are legions of medical studies that demonstrate that meditation is also effective at mitigating or eliminating a wide range of physical health issues.
But why bother to meditate if you don’t have anxiety or other physical health issues?
There are many reasons.
But first, let’s ask ourselves…
The Reason For Living
Why do we do anything in life?
I think the answer is quite simple — for our enjoyment, to make us happy.
Nothing more complicated than that.
But, it’s huge, right?
So, what if meditation could make us happier so we could enjoy life more? Would that make it worth learning?
I suppose if your answer is, “No, I’m actually experiencing the maximum level of happiness I could ever experience in my life, so, No, I don’t need more happiness, I have enough of that!” — then, “good on ya” as my Australian students would say. You are in great shape.
But most mere mortals would admit that there is always room for improvement — that we all could use a little (or a lot) more happiness in our lives.
So, here’s how that happens through meditation…
Our Limited View of Ourselves
Most of us on the planet are walking around experiencing life through a very limited perspective, whether we know it or not, because we think (incorrectly) that our everyday mental experience is defined by “thoughts we have,” and by “decisions we make.” This is a very limited view of our mental experience — and thus our lives — because it means that our lives are just a series of thoughts and actions, a collection of all of that. And, what we tend to do is then think that WE are defined by that.
That all of those thoughts and actions — that is WHO WE ARE.
That is the mistake.
Because if that were true, then what happens when we have a different thought — and that happens about every split second sometimes, doesn’t it?! Does that mean that our identity — who we are — is changing every split second? And if that were the case, how would that make you feel? Stable, happy? Maybe not so much, right?
Some people do believe that they are their thoughts and their actions. And those people tend to feel very unstable, “like a football being thrown around” by the whim of everybody else (their boss, their partner, their government, etc.) — they feel “out of control.”
An Alternative View of Ourselves
Instead, I suggest that there is something constant throughout all of our experience — and that is our mind. Our mind, our consciousness, our personality is what is constant.
We need it to even have experience. Our mind is the experiencer of our thoughts and actions. Not the other way around.
So, by defining ourselves as our minds, we can wrest control back to where it should be.
Within each of us.
Instead of giving up control of our lives (and our happiness) to everything external to our minds.
The Missing Link
But how does meditation fit in with all of that?
Meditation is that “missing link” in most people’s lives. It allows the mind to experience itself outside of its limited “decision-making” mode. Because if we can allow our minds to expand outside of that mode, and experience its vastness — in a sense, “turning the lights on” in all the various dormant areas of our mind — then we become more self-confident, energized, and stable.
In short, more wide-awake and inwardly powerful. And we feel more in control, less like a football being tossed around on the “playing field of life.”
We identify with what we really are.
But in this different, more expanded, less limited, more “free” way.
Through meditation, we can begin to experience directly the structure of our minds — its expansiveness and inner power.
Not just the content of what’s in our minds.
Would that increase your level of happiness?
You bet it would.
Kelvin H. Chin is a Stress Management Expert & Meditation Teacher, and Author of “Overcoming the Fear of Death.” He learned to meditate at age 19, and has been teaching “Turning Within” Meditation, an effortless technique, for 45 years. He can be reached at www.TurningWithin.org. Kelvin resides in Los Angeles and teaches meditation worldwide by videoconference, and in-person.