written by Leandra Williams
What if I told you that a simple 10-minute exercise a day could ease and even eliminate anxiety, insomnia, stress, and depression—amongst other conditions-- from your life? It’s an exercise method that you've probably of heard countless times, yet you may have never actually sat down to try it out. I’m talking about the transformative philosophy of meditation. Although most of us have only seen meditation demonstrated in movies, and in historically white spaces, it’s important for Black Women to know that meditation has no color, and no restrictions to those who can benefit from this ancient practice. Meditation has been used for thousands of years, and was developed in Taoist China, and Buddhist India with African origins.
The goal of meditation is to go beyond the mind and experience our purest essential nature, which is mostly described as peace, happiness, and bliss. Although meditation produces a “feel good” feeling, meditation is also used to control emotions, instead of allowing your emotions to control you. Controlling my emotions helped me tremendously in not only my personal life, but my professional life as well. Too many times Black women are labeled as “angry” or “aggressive” when we get upset (even rightfully), or have a strong opinion about different situations. Therefore, meditation allows us to slow the emotions and the body down and allow the mind to take over.
For Black women, meditation can be one tool used to alleviate the stereotype that we can’t solve important issues without getting “upset.” A more peaceful approach to different circumstances in your life will allow you to not only see the bigger picture, but also share your skills with other women of color. Meditation is not only beneficial mentally, but it’ll also produce positive effects throughout the entire body. Meditation is scientifically proven to reduce cortisol. Cortisol is the stress chemical tied directly to anxiety, blood sugar irregularity, and immune system repression.
Who doesn’t want to be able to control their emotions better over time? One of the main elements to spiritual growth and mindfulness involves increasing your self-awareness. As we reflect on our days, weeks, and months, we can also schedule time to become more aware of the person we truly are, and the person we strive to become. Not only is personal growth required in this life, but it’s also beautiful and worth the hard work you put into finding yourself. Meditation helps you achieve these by learning new ways to connect with yourself. When we are completely still, we are expanding our awareness to new heights and possibilities.
With so many health benefits to meditation, why not take 5-10 minutes a day, just to try it out? We go around trying chicken sandwiches, new songs, and new outfits, so it shouldn’t be a problem to try something that would not only benefit our minds, but also our souls as well. One misconception about meditation is that it’s easy, or that all you’re doing is breathing. Meditation takes focus, patience, and dedication to reach the level of peace that you’re aiming for. Attempt to stay as still as possible, in a room or location where you won’t be interrupted. Although it’s only 5-10 minutes of meditation, your body and ego will fight your spirit and cause distractions to tear you away from the practice. Don’t. Let. It.
Lastly, give yourself time to get adjusted to this new practice. It will take some time to get used to staying still, but believe me: it’ll be worth the hard work and the wait! The more you meditate, the easier it’ll become, and over the course of a month, you’ll really notice the difference in how you’re feeling and acting. Difficult situations will no longer annoy you as quickly as they did before, and you’ll begin to feel more grateful for the blessings you already have. You will begin to grow in ways you’ve only imagined.
Black women, it is time to come to peace with yourselves. Why rob yourself of another minute of pure happiness and calm? Try it, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.