I started my current meditation practice nine months ago, and I’ve missed just one morning. That’s up there with eating, sleeping, and brushing my teeth—three things I’d do even if the sky were falling!
It’s easy for me to stay motivated because the benefits are so crystal clear.
If you are on a spiritual path and don’t have a sitting practice to support it, I’d say you’re missing out on an ideal marriage. I haven’t met an HSP yet who isn’t spiritually oriented in some way, however eclectic—and I think meditation and HSP’s are made for each other.
I’ve tried here to express why. If you already sit, defining these six benefits may deepen your appreciation of your practice. And if you don’t, or if your practice isn’t bringing the benefits you seek, perhaps it might inspire you to find a practice that works for you.
1. Meditation leaves me with a sense of peace that lasts all day
I sit right after I wake up, and it creates in inner well of calm I can dip into through the day, regardless of circumstances. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this all-day inner peace. Having fielded so much anxiety in the past, I never take it for granted.
2. Meditation modulates my intense HSP emotions
Feeling intensely is an every-day experience for me as an HSP. However, I experience these emotional reactions very differently when I’m in a state of meditation-grounded peace. There’s plenty of space for whatever comes up. I can fully feel anger, grief, anxiety, shame, fear, joy, or excitement without getting overwhelmed.
When I practice Focusing and Inner Bonding, I nurture loving presence in myself in order to be with strong emotions. But it’s easy for me to slip into a subtly controlling stance in which “I”, my personality, am “working on myself.” Daily meditation reminds me that this “I” does not have the answers and helps me surrender into a direct connection with the spiritual source where real answers can be found.
3. Meditation makes me much less reactive to pesky stimuli
Itches, aches, buzzes, glares, hums, chills, heat, and scratchy tags used to drive me mad. This, as you probably know first-hand, is not a small thing for an HSP!
I am markedly less reactive to these annoyances now. My practice requires me to turn away from external stimuli, and this loosens my identification with my physical body. For a sensitive person, this is a profound shift. Learning to accept my HSP sensory sensitivity has been helpful, but transcending my sense of “me as this body”—even just a little—is far more liberating.
4. Meditation taps into the positive aspect of my HSP environmental susceptibility
By now, I’m used to the reality that I soak up energy from my surroundings. On the negative side, I find malls jangling. On the positive side, I feel blissful out in the woods.
Either way, though, my external environment isn’t under my control. Meditation creates an inner environment where my spirit can thrive, no matter what is going on around me. What a gift this is….and one that is 100% in my control, when so few things are.
5. Meditation answers the questions my deep-thinking HSP brain can’t stop asking
I struggled with terrible anxiety in the past. My personal infrastructure was a mess for a while, as was my inner relationship. It’s hard to settle down enough to connect spiritually when you are jumping out of your own skin. So I clearly had to address those two areas first. I was convinced that would be the end of the anxiety.
It did make a huge difference, but underneath that grosser level of anxiety I discovered a subtler existential anxiety. The question underneath was, “Why do I still feel worried? Why don’t I feel safe?” This one I couldn’t escape, because it stems from the truth that there is no ultimate security in life: as the Buddha taught, we all experience loss, sickness, and death. This reality pushed me to connect to that “peace which passes all understanding,” beyond any attachment to this life, which brings me to the true reason I sit:
6. Meditation connects me to the divine
The first five items above are wonderful benefits of meditation, but they are not the main point. The main point for me is to stay as connected as I can to God, Spirit, the Divine, Source—whatever your name for it—in a direct, personal, experiential way, and to experience that power as here for me. It’s the one reliable way I’ve found to connect to that “peace which passes all understanding.”
This direct experience has immediate practical implications too: when I meditate daily, it “primes the pump” of my spiritual intuition so I can ask practical questions and get real guidance for daily concerns.
Am I concerned about having enough money to cover the body work I need for my injured neck? Am I uncertain how best to serve a client? Am I tireder than usual and wondering what to do about it? Is there someone in my life who is suffering, who I wish I could support? I ask. I pray. I send energy.
I think that for HSP’s, spiritual practice is the secret to true happiness
By “spiritual practice” I mean a daily, intentional effort to cultivate direct connection with something bigger than oneself. By “happiness” I mean that sense of deeper well-being, peace, and rightness that transcends passing moods.
Putting those two together, I’m saying that with an intentional daily practice that takes us beyond ourselves, we empower ourselves to create the kind of peace and happiness we HSP’s crave—the joy of deep equanimity regardless of circumstances.
Of course this isn’t true only for HSPs! Everyone wants to be happy and at peace. I’m focusing on HSPs because we suffer even more than most when we have no spiritual support. We can get bounced around hard by our strong emotions, or disappear down bottomless rabbit holes of rumination, trying to “figure it out.” That’s my definition of hell.
Heaven, on the other hand, is the peace I feel when I connect spiritually. And to get there, I don’t have to die! I just have to sit.