We all have bad times. Some rougher than others. During one of these, my shrink recommended me to meditate.
I admit it, from the start I was closed to the idea. I imagined myself dressed in a white toga of exceptional purity, reciting mantras to a superior force so that it would come to relieve my anxieties and even, who knows, allow me to levitate on a cloud. If this last scenario did not seem all the worse interesting, I had decided in advance that meditation was not for me. It was for religious fanatics, or people with a developed spirituality.
I tried anyway. Because you know, when things are not going well, at some point, you have to find a way to get better. I visualized, I breathed, but I was stubborn. It wasn't for me.
However, it has been proven for a very long time that meditation has tremendous benefits.
- It reduces stress, by improving, among other things, the secretion of cortisol.
- It reduces the risk of relapses of depressive episodes.
- It improves attention span.
- It preserves memory.
- It plays a positive role in physical health.
Years have passed since my unsuccessful attempts. Then… a new bad patch slipped into my schedule, disrupting my daily life, weakening my health.
Go figure why, I decided I was going to give meditation a chance. I opted for the technique of mindfulness, in order to focus on the here and the now. I tried a first session of ten minutes, which brought me a certain serenity.
The next day, as I hadn't hated my first try, I put on a new session. I did the same the day after and the day after. I couldn't deny it: meditation was good. I felt (even if it was only for a few minutes) calmer, more composed.
A bad patch being what it is, the motivation ran out one day. I skipped a session, then a second. As I took a walk through a wooded area in an attempt to calm my nerves, I forced myself to sit down and listen to a recorded meditation in an app on my phone.
I watched the late afternoon sun glinting off the leaves. I smelled the comforting scent of moss on the floor. I felt the wind on my face. Then I closed my eyes, as the voice in my headphones dictated.
A few minutes later, the big lump in my chest had shrunk. When I opened my eyes, I was a little more at peace.
About fifteen meters from me, I saw a deer on the trail. It was the first time I had seen one in this forest. He lifted his head, looked at me, and walked away with a slow, calm step.
I then thought back to that old version of me who believed that meditation was a religion, or a kind of worship. That day, surrounded by nature, I understood that this practice could bring me something. Meditation allows you to enjoy everyday life, and sometimes even, to add a certain touch of magic to it.
by Alex Beausoleil
 5 bienfaits de la méditation, Mélanie Darveau, Université Laval, 2016 http://www.contact.ulaval.ca/article_magazine/5-bienfaits-de-la-meditation/