Want to know how to be as happy as the Dalai Lama? Meditation may be the key for you.
As a world religions student, I was required to attend a religious service that was not my own. I chose to go, with a friend, to a Buddhist meditation at Common Ground Meditation Center in Minneapolis.
At 9am on Sunday morning, we drove into Minneapolis. We immediately felt out of place. I was wearing a J. Crew sweater and Hunter rainboots, while the ‘regulars’ were wearing bike shorts and sandals. I drove, they rode their bikes.
We walked through the entrance arch, into the main meditation room. The space was set up with floor mats in a semi-circle, facing one larger mat. We sat down on a mat, took our shoes off, and joined in the meditation.
We were led by a practicing Buddhist, in a mindfulness meditation. The time was spent in silence, chanting, humming, and speaking.
In this brief meditative time, I was able to gain calmness, serenity, and got rid of some pent-up anger and stress. Though this is just my personal experience, meditation (both in a religious context and out) can be extremely beneficial.
According to the Huffington Post, “Studies show that meditation is associated with improvement in a variety of psychological areas, including stress, anxiety, addiction, depression, eating disorders and cognitive function, among others. There’s also research to suggest that meditation can reduce blood pressure, pain response, stress hormone levels and even cellular health.”
Aside from all of this science talk, meditation can really make you a happier person. “Meditation really works,” Eric Gibson, a Buddhist at Diamond Way, said. Gibson visited my school to speak about his experience with Buddhism, and swears by meditation as the path to happiness.
Though Buddhism has many facets and iterations of meditation, personal comfort is the most important. Do what works for you, do what makes you feel best, and do what feels right.