I really don’t know when I started meditating. The word itself is confusing so depending on the definition, it is hard to place it in my timeline on Earth. When I think of meditation, I automatically think of a Tibetan monk in orange or red robes perched peacefully on a mountain or in the forest, eyes closed and a serene look on their face. They display the look of enlightenment or introspection, both of which is described as hard to attain by regular people like myself.
In the Wikipedia dictionary, “Meditation is described as a practice where the mind is trained to induce a state of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or as the end itself.” Wait what? Realize what or on the flip side, achieve the end of what?
As a young healer in the area, I started out wanting to teach meditation and hold classes because I myself wanted to learn. You realize very quickly as a teacher, that whatever topic you teach, is a topic you must learn. I needed meditation. Despite being the owner of an up and coming wellness center, I was far from a confident, cool, collected wellness therapist. I was stressed every day about finances, managing the center and coming home to a world of work as a single mom to two cute but active boy children. It seems I was constantly tired, constantly broke and beginning to be constantly irritated in life. This was not the energy of a healer was supposed to be, I recognized that, so I wanted to learn meditation.
For me, I like to learn in a hands on approach. I appreciate taking the classes and all, and trust me I do. I have taken enough classes in meditation to know how to teach one, but was I actually doing the work? I was not. So I figured, I would hold meditation meetups at the studio, invite my regular, meditating friends to host and I would attend as a student. I would learn and grow and somewhere along the line, my sanity would return.
It worked for awhile, it really did. I had my friends rotate through a month and once a week, we the students were treated to Buddhist Meta Meditation, Hypnotherapy Stress release sessions, Kundalini meditation and Walking/Dancing Meditation. It was a world of fun absolutely! But I was still not incorporating the practice into my daily routine even though I tried. Every morning after my morning yoga routine, I would sit patiently and wait for the meditating power to come upon me. I would wait and wait, get frustrated and then leave with a “Bah Humbug!” kind of attitude. Not the way I envisioned starting my day.
It frustrated me to pieces because I knew all the benefits of meditation, heck I listed them off in every meditation class I held! Not only were there spiritual benefits but can you believe mental, physical and physiological as well? True to my teacher form, here are some you need to know because trust me, when you read the list, you will understand why I was so hell bent on learning the art of meditation.
Benefits of Meditation:
I reflected on my young life on this Earth and I remembered when I was a teenager, I would sit quietly for some time and allow my mind to go still. No one taught me that, I did not get certified to do that and I absolutely did not spend a week or month in classes to learn that. It was a thought that came to me, I acted on it and received some profound healing as a result. So why couldn’t I do that now? Just ask…ask the Universe, ask God, ask what would work for me and then do it?
So I asked. The answer I received was that my mind was too restless and I needed to do some form of focusing technique to quiet it down before I sat in silence. Oh, that’s easy I thought! I can go with mantra chanting that I learned at the ashram. So one morning I woke up and too tired and too cold (I live on the East Coast and we are approaching Winter) to move, I sat in my bed and with one hand on my mala beads, I started to chant. Nothing fancy, just the mantra I knew by heart. I chanted the mantra 108 times as required and then put my mala beads down, ready to begin the struggle with my mind.
But this was new, there was no struggle. It was like it was when I was a teenager, effortless. I sat in this beautiful, calming space for a couple of minutes before I realized the thoughts came back and then I started to plan my day etc….. I opened my eyes and looked at my timer and was sad to see I was only in this meditative silence for five minutes; but hey, I will take it.
I continued this practice for one week, chanting a mantra and then setting my timer, closing my eyes and going into a meditative silence. The time varied, sometimes five minutes, sometimes three and sometimes seven but nothing ever more than ten minutes. It wasn’t until a week later that I did my routine and when I came out, I was blown away to see I was in a meditative state for twenty minutes. Twenty minutes! Where did the time go? I really thought I didn’t set my clock right or something mechanically wrong happened with my phone. It did not feel like that amount of time at all.
The days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, and you know what, the meditation time varied depending on my state of mind. Sometimes it was easy and I could go half hour on that bliss train and some days I was not in the mood and can only factor in five minutes. It really didn’t matter, because my commitment to the practice was established and that in turn was what brought about the change in my life.
All those benefits listed above and more became part of my life. I have always suffered from anger since childhood and nothing worked in relieving it. Since I started meditating, the anger dissipated slowly from my system and things didn’t bother me as much as they used to. This space developed around me and others and I was able to think clearly and feel love in most situations that were stressful and tense. I became the better version of myself I wanted to achieve through meditation.
To this day I still meditate. So far I have gone one month with daily meditation practice but I am not making it a competition. I made the promise to myself to meditate everyday and if some days, it really only results in a minute of silence then so be it. This is not about bragging to the world how long I have been meditating, this is about me keeping my sanity and peace of mind in the midst of life. Because life stops for no one, the best chance you have is to slow it down a little so you can really appreciate the beauty of it all.
So what’s my advice for you dear reader? Simple, you have to put into practice what works best for you. If you prefer to lie on the floor, listen to music or a guided version, walk or dance…do it your way. The end result is really what you are going after and that is complete peace of mind despite the chaotic reality of life. I wish you well and as always, have a Namaste
love and light,