Note: This is a guest post written by Katherine Cortes. Here she shares how meditation has such a profound impact on her life. Further, you may wish to check out her travel blog and see the world. – ROBERT LEE

In a casual conversation, a friend asked me how meditation has helped me and in what ways. Unlike many other Filipinos, she wasn’t skeptical, just genuinely curious. She knows that I practice regular meditation and read books on this subject such as the law of attraction, co-creation and so much more.

I thought for a moment and told her, “It helps me be a better person.”

Let me expound on this a bit.

Here in the Philippines, most people are unfamiliar with meditation. We know the basic practices of Christianity and Islam, but meditation is still quite new.

There are many who associate the word meditation with mysticism, monks in monasteries or Buddhist temples. To clarify, meditation isn’t a religious practice, but a spiritual one.

There are different kinds of meditation under different schools of thought, with different benefits.

I started with basic guided meditation two or three years ago to clear out negativities. From accumulated stress to anxiety, hurt, and memories of it, among others. Since then, I’ve done advanced types of meditation and explored its many forms under different schools of thought.

So, coming back to the subject: meditation has helped me be a better person and continue to improve myself.

4 Benefits of Meditation

Meditation

I’ve learned to let go of emotions not serving my highest good

We’re so used to carrying baggage that we don’t realize how heavy it is, so we don’t put them down. Some of these we’re aware of, while some we’re not. Some traumas and fears buried in the subconscious still affect our present lives.

The first time I did a guided meditation for release, the amount of baggage I was carrying surprised me. I didn’t realize I had resentment towards my parents for being too strict years ago. I was still annoyed with a co-worker. And then there’s the leftover grudge with a past lover.

These are the things I’m happier without. It has also helped me renew my current relationships by forgiving. At the same time, welcome new ones without all those excess baggage.

Meditation

I’ve become more aware of what I do in life

You see, meditation makes a person aware of his/her inner world. I’ve become more conscious of what I do and how my words affect people. I’ve also become more accountable for my actions and recognize my shortcomings.

“Most of us believe we’re good people. We wake up, have breakfast, leave for work, go home and then sleep,” a friend in the same circle once said. “We don’t harm others, but in what way are we helping them?”

After starting meditation, I came to understand why people give tithes to church and help or donate to charities. So I looked for organizations I can personally relate to and start there. I’d also joined voluntourism events with fellow backpackers in which we held outreach events for school children when we travel.

Meditation

I’ve learned to accept that I’m different and that’s okay

Society is like a framework that molds our beliefs from childhood up until we’re strong enough to hold our own. We’re taught what to think, what things to buy, and what career lines to pursue. Being different can make you feel like an outsider.

Personally, I don’t watch local television anymore. I don’t know most local celebrities. Instead, I like quality films, indies, and thoughtful reads.

I thrive to pursue financial abundance like everyone else, but I’m also careful to stick to a minimalist lifestyle. Luxury brands do not interest me and have a small batch of make-ups which I use only when necessary. I don’t exactly fit the average person.

Meditation taught me that we should, above all else, listen to our Inner Selves. Listen to what makes us happy personally, what drives our fire and be comfortable even if these do not fit into the mold.

Meditation

I’ve learned to understand other people better

There are many of us who trap ourselves in the here-now, in the present situation. It is easy to judge and condescend. For instance, our current world has a dominant “us versus them” mentality and we’re not even aware of it. You can see it in the news, in how we treat each other.

It’s Christianity versus Islam, whites against blacks (or in general race against race), or immigrants versus locals. It’s the Philippines against China or United States, the pro-Marcos against the anti-Marcos, this country’s economy versus that of another. This division isn’t real.

The truth is, at its very core, we are one. Humanity is one, and we’re here for each other. We all live to love, be happy and make others happy. The more I meditate and tune into my Self, the more I understand this interconnectedness.

And so …

This isn’t to say that I’m without flaw and I’m all understanding. I have my bad days too; of which I forgive myself. There are times I fail to understand because of my ego. When these happen, meditation helps me to continuously improve myself and re-focus on important things in life, such as love and happiness.