I KNOW I SHOULD DO IT…
Like many of you, I’m new to this whole meditation thing. In fact, I’ve been “trying” to do it for about 3 years now. My interest started after studying abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand where I took a Philosophy of Buddhism class and learned the concepts behind the belief system there. I first learned how to meditate from a Buddhist monk. How cool is that? And I did it on and off for the semester until I returned to the States for my senior year of college where the habit discontinued. As many of you know, it’s a chaotic year full of transitions and big decisions. I could have definitely used meditation. I went to a lunch workshop that taught me different mindfulness techniques, I tried using apps, sometimes I even succeeded doing a 5 minutes meditation every few weeks, but again, the habit didn’t stick. I wasn’t really feeling the benefits and I was “just too busy” and every time I closed my eyes I was bored and had too many other important things to do. Does this sound familiar to anyone else? The next couple of years looked very similar to my senior year. I was seeking, kind of trying to do it, I would read about it, I would do some guided meditation. But again, it wasn’t really a habit.
OH! CONSISTENCY IS THE SECRET?!
It wasn’t until I was traveling in New Zealand and volunteering at Mana Retreat Center when it finally clicked. We had a meditation circle for 10 minutes every morning at 8 am. I went every morning for 6 weeks and to be honest, I went because I loved the feeling of community and getting to know the team and less so because of the meditation, but either way, I realized something during that time. It doesn’t matter necessarily how long you dedicate to begin, what matters is your consistency. So if that means sitting for 3 minutes at 3:25 pm when you’re waiting to pick your kid up in the parking lot, then so be it. But doing it at the same time, every day is when you will start to notice the benefits and that will propel you further.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO SIT ON THE SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN TO MEDITATE
Now, another amazing thing happened at Mana. I met Chris and Soma. That’s right, the doctor/PT/meditation gurus behind TLC. And not only did I meet my future employers, but I met people who spoke my language. As cool as it was to learn how to meditate from a Thai Buddhist monk, learning from people who live in the same culture, society and live a similar lifestyle as I was key to diving deeper into my practice in a way that made sense for my life. They showed me what it looks like to live presently in THIS world in which I grew up and continue to live.
THE TIME YOU NEVER HAD, IT BECOMES AVAILABLE
At this point, I’ve done a First Sphere and have slowly gotten myself up to doing 20-minutes, 3 times a day as recommended. This was so intimidating to me when I was first told this and thought it seemed really unreasonable. I did what worked for me. I started doing 20-minutes in the morning and 10-minutes at night. Then eventually that went to 20 minutes on either end. Then I would toss in a 5-10 minute meditation around lunchtime a couple days a week. Then finally I’ve been able to implement the full time recommended. And now it feels like a habit.
OKAY, SO WHAT DOES IT REALLY DO FOR YOU THEN?
So here’s what I have been experiencing as meditation has become part of my daily life:
- The time is always there. That thought that told me that I didn’t have time went away and now I not only have time for meditation but I have time to do everything I need and want to do in my day.
- It doesn’t take effort. I no longer force myself to close my eyes. It just kind of feels like a natural part of my day, much like brushing my teeth or eating my meals.
- I’m not stressed or anxious. I have suffered from anxiety in the past and while I probably have every reason to be feeling that now with my big move to Durango and finances, meditation has helped me not only handle this transition but embrace it.
- I’m content. I’m new here so I’d love to have some friends, I’d love to have more time to go hiking, and I miss my family, but I feel so darn happy where I am right now. It’s not perfect and I’m okay with that. I know it’s not permanent and this is a lesson I’ve learned through meditation.
- When I’m here, I’m truly here and if I’m not, I know I’m not. My awareness has skyrocketed. I don’t forget things nearly as much. I really notice if I’m engaged in a conversation or lost in my own thoughts.
- Really amazing things have come my way. Chris and Soma like to say, “Do this diligently for 6 weeks and just watch what happens.” Day after day, I’m absolutely amazed at the different things that fall into place. Recently, I was thinking of going to the Whole Health Expo and later that week, my neighbor knocked on my door with free tickets. This is only ONE of many examples of this. I no longer feel like I’m having to figure out life. Life is just playing out beautifully for me.
I hope sharing this recent experience of mine will help you in your journey through the same. You aren’t alone in the ways you feel towards it and you can get through it. You CAN make this part of your life. Make it manageable to you so that you can be successful and progress further. Happy exploration!!