It's true that at one time meditation was not something spoken of in mixed up company. There were those who saw its existence as wonderful, and then there were those who judged it like they judged sprouts, hippies, and anything else vaguely foreign and/or threatening to status quo. I'm happy to report this era has ended. Who do we have to thank? Not one guru, teacher, or movement in particular, but rather all of science. Thanks to numerous conclusive studies, meditation is embraced as factually beneficial. Doctors recommend it to patients to help them manage not only stress, but disease. Has this started more people on the meditation journey? Yes and no.
I'm delighted to see long time meditators who practice everything from TM to Zen admitting and talking about their sometimes decades of meditation practice. They also admit how instrumental it's been to their success. For example, Steve Jobs practiced Zen. Arriana Huffington is not only a long time meditator, but offers meditation to her employees, knowing it will not only benefit them as individuals, but it will benefit their creativity and productivity. David Lynch and Sir Paul McCartney are two long time meditators who give credit to meditation for facilitating the creativity they're so well known for.
And now meditation centers are opening that focus on pure meditation without the beliefs or religions. Here is Arianna Huffington discussing this very subject at a Los Angeles Unplug Meditation event:
Is there reason to celebrate? Yes. To practice and talk about meditation without shame or misconceptions is a great, free feeling. I wait with delicious anticipation to see who of the who's who will come out of the meditation closet next.
What are the benefits of meditation? The list is long: Meditation helps prevent, manage, and alleviate anxiety disorders, asthma, cancer, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, pain, and sleep problems. Meditation helps broaden perspective, manage stress, increase self awareness, be present, reduce negativity, and feel better. Meditation has even been shown switch off harmful genes and turn on more helpful ones.
Are you ready to meditate? If you haven't started already, I don't see why you don't begin now (there are no harmful side effects).