What is Vedic Meditation?Jun 19, 2023
Vedic meditation has been a key part of my self-worth journey. I have been practicing Vedic meditation for just over 4 years. I came to practice Vedic meditation in 2019 after spending 3 years dabbling with Calm and Headspace as a yoga teacher. I had never managed to create a consistent regular practice and instead only turned to meditation in times of distress. Now I realise that meditation is not something you can dip in and out of, a regular practice is absolutely key in reaping the many incredible benefits. The key for me was being taught, in person, how to create a regular meditation practice when I felt so very busy! There are heaps of different meditation techniques out there but luckily I stumbled across the London Meditation Centre & everything in my life changed. Jillian Lavender has been a mentor of mine ever since meeting her and I attribute a big part of my courage to create a whole new life for myself, when faced with divorce about 8 months after learning to meditate, to Jillian and to her Vedic meditation course.
How does it work?
In order to learn Vedic meditation you have to be taught in person. When you learn Vedic meditation you are given a mantra by your teacher - this mantra is then kept secret. This mantra meditation technique is such a joy to learn because the mantra naturally leads the mind inwards. It’s not about trying to control the mind, it’s not about trying to get rid of the thoughts (in fact thoughts are a process of purification in Vedic meditation) and so for me, this has been the easiest, most enjoyable way to meditate.
The Benefits of meditation
Here I am listing the 10 reasons to meditate from my teacher Jillian’s book “Why Meditate? Because it works.”
1. Releases stress.
2. The ability to adapt - calm in the face of change. The world around us is always changing and if we don’t have the ability to adapt, we will suffer. Which tree survives the storm? The one that bends.
3. Better health - scientific research shows that meditation can improve: heart disease, asthma, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, digestive problems. Personally meditation helped me with the crippling insomnia I had experienced for 18 years as well as my anxiety & digestive issues.
4. Sustainable happiness - meditation helps us find happiness from within rather than replying on the external to keep us happy.
5. Clearer thinking - meditation rewires your brain and improves physical and mental functioning.
6. Enhanced creativity.
7. Restful sleep - meditation improves the quality of your sleep and will help those who suffer from insomnia or poor sleep.
8. Slower ageing - one study showed that long term meditators have a biological age of 12 years younger than their actual age.
9. Fulfilling relationships - being happier, less stressed and more aware has a huge impact on every single relationship we have.
10. More peace in the world - as Jillian says “Peaceful people make a peaceful society.”
Thoughts are part of the process
Something I learnt with meditation is that thoughts are not bad! There’s a misconception with meditation that thoughts are the enemy and if we are thinking throughout a meditation practice, we are doing it wrong. With Vedic meditation, the practice I learnt, you can’t do it wrong! Thoughts are part of the process and actually a very important part - thoughts coming to the surface is part of a process of purification. (More on purification later.). There are two types of thoughts that come up in meditation - the majority of thoughts are thoughts that are coming up for purification, we don’t remember them, they are like rubbish moving past us. We also have Vedic Cognition - these are thoughts that are worthy of our attention. These thoughts will stick around, they will keep bugging us, they will spur us to act. This Vedic Cognition has allowed me to build more self-trust.
The 5 Fundamentals of Progress
I recently went on a meditation retreat which was absolutely life changing. As part of the retreat we were given daily lectures and I wanted to share some of the incredible teachings here.
- Stability - this is the sense of feeling grounded & stable within yourself. Inner conscious stability. The idea that we are not at the mercy of the ever-changing world, that things are constantly shifting and changing around us and we can be the anchor in the midst of a storm. The understanding that nothing external to us is certain - we cannot control things around us but we can control how we show up in the world.
- Adaptability - capacity to adjust to the ever changing world. This adaptability allows you to respond to the demands of the present moment in a stable way. The idea that we don’t get totally thrown off when plans change and when things don’t go our way.
- Purification - purifying that which is no longer relevant to the present moment. For example not holding onto emotions that are no longer relevant to the present moment. If we felt frustrated about something in the past, that’s ok, but can we let it go in the present moment now that moment has passed? This purification allows us to recover from stress quicker - we become more resilient, less thrown off by stressful situations. We aren’t so bound to stress and emotions, we realise that stress and emotions come and go. We experience emotions, and let them go. We are purifying from the body old traumas, old wounds, old patterns.
- Integration - taking this new way of being (stable, adaptable, purified) into the world - shining our light into the darkness. Being able to integrate our new way of being into a stressful world. To integrate our knowledge is a great sign of progress. Making ourselves available to help others, being able to model this new way of being in order to inspire others.
- Enthusiasm - the willingness to step into the unknown with excitement rather than fear. The understanding that sparks of creativity are not going to come from doing the same thing over and over again. The willingness to step outside of your comfort zone and grow. Transformation happens when you step out of the known. Enthusiasm allows for innovation.
Meditation cranks up our stages of progress. Meditation gives us an expanded state of consciousness which means that we are able to give that of value to the world rather than giving out more stress to the world. We can bring this to the world in an explicit or implicit way - for example we can become a meditation teacher or we can model our new way of being in order to influence our children. Meditation enhances a conscious design of happiness rather than creating what most people create - an unconscious design of unhappiness. We become the creators of our own reality and we sit in the driving seat of our lives. Progress is a fundamental need of human beings - we need to progress in order to feel fulfilled.
Hallmarks of Expanded Consciousness
- Seeing connectivity. This is about recognising your patterns. How are you behaving and what results are you getting? What patterns are serving you and what patterns are inhibiting you? In an expanded state of consciousness we are able to understand our personal patterns in order to grow and learn and transform.
- Ability to see more. This is the idea of having a wide angle lens on life. The ability to hold more in your awareness so that you can have a greater perspective. The capacity to hold more in your view.
- Refined perception - a sense of being able to read people’s energy, feeling into what’s going on rather than simply what’s being said. We are able to trust our view of the world and what’s going on around us. The ability to spot mistakes and to perceive things with more accuracy.
Again meditation allows us to expand our consciousness and reap the benefits of connectivity, a greater perspective and refined perception.
Bad decisions vs good decisions
With meditation it becomes easier to spot when you are making bad vs good decisions. With a bad decision there will be a feeling of friction, there won’t be energised enthusiasm. With a right decision it’s understanding what is right for you in the present moment - frictionless flow! A sense of ease. When we keep coming up against obstacles we are being given information that things need to change and we need to let go. Meditation allows you to pay attention to this. In fact it becomes pretty hard to ignore it or make excuses anymore! Meditation teaches us to stop holding onto things, to loosen the grip, to feel the abundance we all have and it teaches us the ability to let go.
Inaccurate expectations = suffering
We all have expectations of others but meditation teaches you to let go of these expectations. It teaches you to be ok with the outcome. Inaccurate expectations are a form of control. Meditation teaches you to understand that firstly we are never in control of outcomes and others and secondly to lessen your attempts to control. Control & expectations will slow you down and you will miss opportunities and signs that are coming your way. Desire is different to expectations. Desire is worthy of attention, desire is good. Where we come unstuck is when we get rigidly attached to the how, the where, the when and the with whom! The desire for a lover, the desire for a car, the desire for a new job - this is all wonderful… however don’t place your desire for a lover on one person, don’t place your desire for a car on getting it in the next week, and don’t place your desire for a new job on having everything fully worked out!
Field Dependence vs Field Independence
To what extent are you living your life where the world is dictating your experience? To what extent are you living your life based on you dictating your own experience via your state of consciousness? If the world is dictating your state you are likely to feel like a victim - why does it have to rain? Why did I have to miss the bus? Why do bad things happen to me? If you instead are able to dictate your own state no matter what’s going on outside in the world you will feel good inside and you will be connected to a stable state of consciousness. This is not about being positive all the time. This is about you taking responsibility and determining your own reality. Meditation gives us the capacity to live at our full potential because we have inner stability, we are field independent. It’s the sense of being able to adapt with the flow of the world and feeling like you are in the driving seat.
Vedic meditation has been fundamental in my journey to feeling so very different in my life. I feel more free, more peaceful, less erratic, more steady, more trust in myself and over time I have learnt how powerful the effect is on not just me, but those who spend time with me as well! If this sparks your interest, click here to learn more about the London Meditation Centre and book into a free talk.