I started meditating around age 60. It’s safe to say it changed my life. It certainly changed how I approach my life.
At first, I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. If it was good enough for Oprah, then maybe there was something to it. I was also slogging my way through the end of a demanding career, and mindfulness sounded like a respite.
But I was adamant I wouldn’t sit on a pillow in an awkward cross-legged position. (I was 60. I wanted to be sure I could get up. Unassisted.) I also didn’t have a lot of time to devote to this.
Gratefully, neither a lot of time nor a pillow were required. I discovered five benefits that even a few minutes of meditative silence bestows.
I could tell right away that meditation would be good for my health. It simply felt good.
My heart rate would slow. I’d breathe more deeply and more consciously. I relaxed.
There are scientific studies that tout the benefits of meditation, but I also intuitively knew that it rubbed a salve on the inflammation that tried to ignite me, physically and emotionally.
At this time of life, it’s easy to equate enjoyment with leisure time, trips abroad, or visits from the grandkids (all lovely). But dropping into the joy of the present moment is truly sacred.
When in a meditative state, there is no “before” or “after.” You allow your thoughts to come and go and focus on the breath or on a verbal mantra. In doing that, you embrace now.
And there’s nothing sweeter than appreciating the moment we’ve been given, the only one we truly have.
My meditation practice helped me pay closer attention to the sights, the sounds, and the feeling of all that’s around me. I actually noticed things more deeply.
This came as a surprise. By age 60, you can get a little jaded. You can think you’ve seen it all, maybe even done it all. But I developed a greater awareness of natural beauty, of the abundance of color in our world, of clear musical notes.
Experiencing the outside world at a deeper level was an unexpected gift.
In the beginning, I began each morning in meditation. Even if I only had 15 minutes, I’d contemplate these questions:
What do I want to feel?
How do I want to serve?
Who do I want to be this day?
What do I want to bring into my world?
The intentions I made during morning meditation set the tone for my day. I began living a more purposeful life, one day at a time.
At 60 or beyond, our missions are not finished. Not by a long shot. Yet getting to “what’s next” isn’t always easy. We might talk with friends or seek other support. But looking outside ourselves for solutions only takes us so far.
We each have our own perfect wisdom and “special sauce.” All of that lies within.
In quiet meditation, I learned to tune in to my inner GPS with an open heart and a clear mind.
The answers I’ve received have been simple or they’ve been profound. They’ve sometimes come to me in whispers.
I just had to get quiet enough to hear them and become open enough to receive them.
There’s always time for us to do what’s best for ourselves, no matter what life demands (and especially if those demands are many). At this stage, we owe it to ourselves to choose whatever provides deep and lasting value to our bodies, minds and spirits.
Here’s to a few moments spent going within.
Have you experienced any benefits of meditation? What other practices do you engage in that nourish your body, mind, and spirit?