Meditation is a simple practice that has changed my life completely. Taking a few small moments from my day is far from a sacrifice but instead has proved to be one of the most important parts of my day. This practice has given me insight, calmness, clarity, energy, peace of mind, and hope.
Before I learned about the benefits of meditation my life was much more difficult. I had a short temper, I was easily distracted, and much more impulsive. I would react to anything and take what people said to me personally. I found myself dazed out and unmindful throughout the day which had an effect on my memory. Often when I would read books I would find myself reading the same paragraph over and over because my thoughts had taken over me. Driving, I would find myself getting upset with other drivers because they weren’t driving the way I thought they should. When plans would get canceled I would lose my peace and feel victimized by the world. Most debilitating though, I had so much worry and anxiety throughout my day hoping that I could control the outcome of all of my daily activities. Thankfully, as a result of meditation, life is no longer like this.
When I started to explore meditation, I wanted a spiritual practice that was simple and helped me connect to my Higher Power more. I started my practice with mindfulness of breath and that practice alone made such a difference in my life. In the beginning, I was hard on myself. I thought that I was a “bad meditator” but I’ve learned that we all have to start somewhere. Famous sport’s stars don’t start out understanding the whole game, but with lots of practice, they improve. Meditation has been similar in that respect for me. I have found that I still get distracted and lost in thoughts sometimes but the practice is gently bringing our awareness back to the present moment. This actually strengthens neurotransmitters in our brains making it easier every time we practice so that over time it becomes easier to stay focused.
I had some misconceptions about meditation when I started as well. I thought that I was not supposed to have any thoughts. I have later learned that thoughts can be looked at as another sense of the body. Throughout our practice, we will notice smells, sensations, sights, etc, but the idea is to continuously bring it back to what we are attempting to be mindful of. Thus, being loving with myself has been a big piece of this puzzle as well. Rather than saying “Christy, you are not supposed to be thinking!!” I say something like “I noticed a thought! Now let’s come back to the breath.” Another misconception I had was that I would see results right away. I certainly almost always feel more at peace after meditation but I had high hopes for a burning bush or enlightenment! Over the years, the practice has taught me that these grandiose experiences can happen in time but they are not the sole purpose of meditation, they are fun benefits. I have had to see that I cannot compare my meditative experience to others. My Source knows what I need and when I am ready to see it and I can trust that today.
Today, as a result of meditation and other spiritual practices, I have changed so much. As we all know, the things outside in the world of the form will never bring us lasting happiness. To find true joy, this is an inside job. When I go within, I am able to do the necessary healing work to bring lasting and sustainable change to my life. Life itself does not shift but my perception of reality changes when I meditate. I can see that the way I view things is literally what causes my tranquility or my upset. I have that choice in each moment.
I think of meditation as a micro-cosim for the physical world. We have time to practice new skills during our still time and overcome pressing issues. For example; during Vipassana meditation, we learn to be aware of the sensations of the body. When an unpleasant sensation comes up, we do not attempt to change it but simply observe it. This teaches us that when life gives us an unpleasant experience we can watch it come and pass. It shows us the temporary nature of all experience. It also strengthens our mind to overcome obstacles. In Vipassana, they also teach students not to cling to pleasant sensations of the body while sitting. If clinging and aversion cause suffering then meditative practice is literally teaching us to suffer less.
Science has proven through numerous studies on how important meditation is for mental and physical health. When we take care of our mind, the body tends to follow. But with an untrained mind, we only create more of what we do not want. Through meditation, I have become a conscious creator. I now understand that I am responsible for the way I see the world and that I have a choice in every moment to choose either Love or fear. Without the constant mindful awareness that this work requires, I would continue to choose fear, therefore causing me to act out of accordance with love. Meditation brings the light of awareness to every dark corner of my mind, and as long as I am able to look at this part of my ego and let these things go, my mind starts to become purified and I raise my vibrational frequency. This, in turn, makes me happier, helps me treat others better, helps me heal quicker, and brings me closer to my Truth.
Which brings me to my final point. My purpose in this world has always been questionable until meditation became a part of my life. I can say I am here to help others, but what if there was nobody to help? I can say it is to be a great musician, but what if I lose my vocal cords? I can imagine it is to be a good daughter, but who am I when my parents leave this earth? With these outside identifications, I am not really sure who I am. I can not define myself with the temporary but there is one thing I know to be true and that is my unshakable, invulnerable, constant, blissful place within that is always accessible. I believe it to be One mind, interconnected to all things, the real part of us that cannot be harmed, and a part of God himself. I like to refer to it as Love itself. No matter what happens around me, I can go to this place of peace within and know that everything will be okay. I know that if I lost everything in the world, my body included, that this force would still be there. But this part of me I cannot find outside of myself. I cannot find this peace through alcohol, relationships, good deeds, or money. I can only find this stillness when I take the time to sit in quiet and just be. If I can identify with this Love more often, life flows much more easily. I slow down, take breaths, and trust the process. This is my highest self, and what I’ve discovered is that finding this true self is my ultimate purpose in this weird world.
We have 24 hours a day and taking even 15 of those minutes to go within can change us dramatically. My hope is that everyone has a chance to experience for themselves the healing benefits of meditation. Some days will be easier than others but with devotion and patience, undoubtedly, there will be miraculous results.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings have peace.
May all beings find themselves.