“There is a rhythm to the universe. When we are able to get quiet enough, we experience how we are a part of that perfect rhythm.” Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Nothing could be less “quiet” than a championship basketball game—the shrill noise, the pounding action, the pressure to win! Yet superstar player LeBron James sits silently on the sidelines with his eyes closed. What’s up? James is just one of a host of athletes, musicians, actors, business tycoons, and leaders in every field who turn to the power of quiet to survive and excel in all their endeavors. These people at the top of their game have discovered a secret that helps them navigate the treacherous high-stakes world of stardom. They’ve learned to activate the quiet realm within—they meditate.
From Oprah to Jennifer Aniston to Arianna Huffington, the list of celebrities who cite meditation as one of their secret superpowers is growing faster than a summer sunflower. People who are seeking to perform at their highest potential, and to keep loving the journey, look for best practices. In meditation, they find a technique for calming the mind, reducing stress and anxiety, gathering energy to overcome fatigue, and balancing mind, body, and spirit. While meditation is not a religion or a philosophy, it paves the way to inner peace and pays respect to the ultimate source of all human accomplishment.
Forward-looking companies that value human potential are bringing meditation into the workplace. Fortune 500 companies such as Google offer meditation and mindfulness classes for employees. Who knows how many future superstars are waiting to discover their path and make their contribution. Meditation offers a self-development opportunity like no other. It’s a tried and true way of slowing down and developing awareness and self-knowledge. By training your attention inward, you can connect to that perfect rhythm of the universe whose power we all share.
Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio discovered meditation while looking for a way to reduce stress. Finding meditation was life-changing for him, and he embarked on a campaign to bring the benefits of mindfulness to government and education. You may have seen a picture of him sitting on a yoga mat among meditating schoolchildren. Scientific studies are revealing the power of meditation to improve memory and brain function, to aid concentration and focus, to boost creativity, to relieve pain and increase a sense of well-being.
Anyone can learn to meditate. There are different meditation techniques; I recommend a mantra-based meditation that gives a head start in dealing with fast-paced mental activity. With a mantra, no need to banish thoughts; they just seem to float effortlessly by and out of sight.
Eastern religions, like Hinduism and Buddhism, have very strong connections to meditation because it is recognized as the best way to expand consciousness. However, you don’t need to be religious to use meditation techniques to empower yourself or to help you heal physically and emotionally. Thanks in part to celebrity role models, meditation has become mainstream, not limited to any religion, culture, location, or desired effect.
You may want to learn how to meditate in order to relax — but also to bring down your blood pressure, alleviate anxiety and stress, and enhance your immune functioning. It’s not necessary to sit down to meditate with the goal of ultimate enlightenment. But if you are spiritually inclined, meditation will also open you up to a greater connection to Source, to clearer inner guidance, and a deep sense of peace. Along with developing a solid grounding in mindfulness, which is the ability to live in the here and now, with meditation you can learn to cultivate compassion — for yourself and others!
In meditation, you turn inward, not outside yourself. It is the clearest mirror for seeing yourself, and it provides the means for changing and healing anything that troubles you. A consistent practice of meditation can shift you away from blame and shame, and lead you in the direction of self-worth and self-development. It allows you to forgive yourself and others, and is a root practice for emotional healing.
The practice of inviting the quiet in meditation is not a turning away from life, but rather the highest form of engaging with it. You are clearing away distractions, learning to focus your energy, getting clearer on what you want from life, and creating a peaceful space that actually helps you be more efficient and effective.
Actor Hugh Jackman shared his thoughts with Oprah. “In meditation, I can let go of everything. I’m not Hugh Jackman. I’m not dad. I’m not a husband. I’m just dipping into that powerful source that creates everything. I take a little bath in it.” Oprah herself is a poster child for the power to create an amazing life and realize your highest potential. Long an advocate of meditation, for herself and her employees, she cites the happiness and joy that meditation can provide. As she says, “Knowing for sure that even in the daily craziness that bombards us from every direction, there is — still — the constancy of stillness. Only from that space can you create your best work and your best life.”
Super achievers as different as singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, comedian Russell Brand, film director and writer David Lynch, and media giant Rupert Murdoch all share a common dedication to the quiet within—the power of meditation. After 40 years of meditation practice, David Lynch describes the benefits like this: “The things in life that used to almost kill you, stress you, depress you, make you sad, make you afraid — they have less and less power. …You’re starting to glow with this from within.” Who wouldn’t love to join him in that quiet zone?