With deep roots in ancient Egypt, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism, humans have known the benefits of a meditation practice for thousands of years. According to Psychology Today, archaeologists have dated meditative practices back to 5,000 BCE through rock art found in the Indus Valley. Today, interest in meditation is growing exponentially in the West. Scientists are now able to measure the results of meditation practices, while famous musicians, artists, actors and media personalities are helping raise its popularity in mainstream culture. Here we take a look at some of the ways meditation has impacted the lives of some of your most loved and least expected meditation practitioners.
1. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah began practicing meditation with her colleagues and loved the effect it had on her workplace. She now has a podcast, 'Super Soul Sundays' where she regularly speaks with spiritual teachers, authors and artists on soul enriching topics.
"The one thing I want to continue to do is to centre myself every day and make that a practice for myself, because I am one-thousand percent better when I do that, one-thousand percent better when I take myself back to something bigger than myself,” she explained.
2. Meghan Markle
Meghan was introduced to yoga in her youth by her mother who was a yoga instructor, however she found meditation later in life.
“On days I don’t make it to my [yoga] mat, I always make some time to meditate,” Markle told Women’s Health. “I was skeptical for years, but it truly does wonders!”
3 & 4 Hugh Jackman and Deborah-Lee Furness
The long-married couple described meditation as one of the secrets to the success of their lasting marriage.
“Meditation!” Jackman told People. “We meditate together,” Furness added. “And sometimes we have friends over to do it too. It’s a lovely Sunday-morning thing. Everyone comes over, and then we have breakfast.”
5. Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs' travels in India undoubtedly opened him up to spirituality and consciousness in new ways, and had a profound impact on his creativity.
"If you sit and observe you'll see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there's room to hear the more subtle things - that's when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more."
6. Jet Li
Meditation is also known to have a lasting effect on the amygdala, a part of the brain known for processing emotions - making conflicts with oneself and others easier to handle.
"The problems aren't from the outside, from other people, so you need to study who you are. Who's 100 percent you? If you understand your inside, then you're not afraid anymore."
7. Angelina Jolie
The actress finds her meditation in the everyday moments of life, which is really the aim of the whole practice!
"I find meditation in sitting on the floor with the kids colouring for an hour, or going on the trampoline. You do something you love, that makes you happy, and that gives you your meditation."
Moby is inspiration for all of us who know how delicious it is to laze.
“I thought… meditation involved… moving to some country and renouncing wealth and materialism… [but] it’s a simple practice that calms the mind… and the thing that won me over… was its effectiveness. Nothing else helped me quiet my mind and go to a calm, centred place. The thing that makes it effective is you don’t have to do all that much, and, as a profoundly lazy person, I appreciate that.”
9. Liv Tyler
Liv speaks straight to the heart of it.
“Meditation and being close to yourself helps everything in your life… It helps [me] make better decisions and be a better mother, and just deal with the daily stress of the modern world that we live in. It helps with everything.”
10. Martin Scorsese
This cinematic great knows the need for calm in the eye of the storm.
“A lot of drama is projected onto the screens of our consciousness and minds… And I guess the common response is to tough it out… Yet… for the last few years, I’ve been practicing meditation. It’s difficult to describe the effect it has had on my life. I can only mention maybe a few words: calm, clarity, a balance, and at times – a recognition. It’s made a difference.”