Meditation as key to building or maintaining your emotional integrity and strength – in everyday life and in trying situations.
Your first response to the suggestion to meditate may well be, ‘Yes, I know it’s a good thing. I’ll start some time — later, maybe. After. But not now! I don’t have the time or the energy.’
Meditation can be really helpful in unwinding, and in building up or maintaining resilience. So because you don’t have the time or the energy, you need meditation!
Sharon Salzberg has been working for some years in a programme run by the Garrison Institute, USA, bringing meditation and yoga to domestic violence shelter workers, and then to shelter supervisors and directors. She also runs retreats for carers. In her view, meditation is ‘the key to resilience in caregiving’ (Huffington Post, March 2010). That’s a view we share, with the addition that meditation is central to resilience in our own illness and dying too.
‘Any skilful relationship of caregiving relies on balance,’ Sharon notes ‘ — the balance between opening one’s heart endlessly and accepting the limits of what one can do…. The balance of compassion and equanimity allows us to profoundly care, and yet not get overwhelmed and unable to cope because of that caring.’
And for whatever role we are playing in life she comments: ‘Meditation helps us see our own difficult mind states — such as anger or fear or a sense of helplessness — with compassion instead of self-judgment. It also provides a refuge during life’s storms by helping us connect compassionately with others, no matter the circumstances.
‘Especially in times of uncertainty or pain, meditation broadens our perspective and deepens our courage. The spaciousness of mind and greater ease of heart that naturally arise through balanced awareness and compassion are fundamental components of a resilient spirit. They bring us an unusual kind of happiness, one not determined by the conditions we find ourselves in, not defined by the amount of “success” or “failure” we saw in our efforts today. Meditation helps us return, again and again, to this unique happiness.’
Not only is meditation essential for your own wellbeing but being familiar with the practice means you will feel more confident in introducing another to it.
For more suggestions to build and sustain resilience see Resilience.
Dr Rose Gantner’s (Ed) area of interest is meditation as key in resilience in the workplace. Still, the points she makes are relevant for any situation. She opines that meditation helps us regain or maintain good health (foundational to resilience), and also to have ‘calm assertiveness and emotional agility.
Another article of interest: Silence, Solitude and Mindfulness in a Driven World