In fact, a few years ago, I would have completely scoffed at the idea and written it off as being new-agey mumbo jumbo.
It wasn’t until very recently that I finally decided to actually give it an honest try, and I am finally beginning to see huge results.
My first taste of meditation came about five years ago when I was still living in Dallas. I had just begun outpatient treatment for my eating disorder, and I was so completely lost.
While I have never considered myself a religious person, I have always felt that spirituality plays an important part of my life. At the time, I needed to turn somewhere, and a Buddhist meditation Center seemed a good place to start.
My main source of therapy at the time was Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which is highly focused in teaching mindfulness. My therapist had also suggested yoga, and I was beginning to experience how pleasant it was to pay attention to my body and let my brain take a break from thinking about life. Meditation seemed to fit in perfectly with my goals.
The Meditation Center was quite like anything I had ever experienced. I wasn’t open about my treatment at the time, so I mostly kept this part of my life a secret as well. I didn’t know how to explain to my friends that I was suddenly interested in spending my Sunday mornings chanting barefoot with a bunch of strangers.
I can’t say that I really took away anything from that experience as far as meditation goes, but I can say that it served as a nice escape for me once a week. I really tried to clear my mind and follow along with the guide, but mostly I was just thinking about how cool it was that I had this private little secret all to myself.
5 years later, and I once again find myself needed to satisfy that spiritual gap in my life. Perhaps it’s because I’m back in therapy and back to regular yoga practice, or maybe I just desperately need a way to quiet my mind-but I’ve plunged back into the world of meditation.
I’ve only been practicing daily for about 3 months now, like I said-I’m no expert- but this time around I’m really finding it helpful.
My life is so incredibly busy that I initially thought it would be impossible for me to find time in my day to meditate. I can barely find time in my day to prepare meals and eat-but I really wanted to give it an honest shot.
So every day after I leave the radio station and before I head to my afternoon job, I turn everything off and get into a comfortable position with my feet on the floor and my hands in my lap. Everyday I focus on my body for ten-fifteen minutes and try my best to turn my attention to my breath. Everyday I become more and more aware of my thoughts, and it is becoming easier to just let them be without judgment.
Everyday, when my 15 minutes is up, I feel a little more relax and in tune with what’s going on inside of me. I’ve also noticed that I’m getting better at noticing my thoughts throughout the day. I am getting better at dealing with uncomfortable emotions and the little surprises that life unexpectedly hands me.
Not only that, but I’m proud of myself for sticking to something that doesn’t come naturally for me. My brain, by nature is a whirlwind of anxious thoughts and worries. They’re still there, but I am beginning to understand that I am not my thoughts.
If you’re interested in starting up your own practice, here are some references that helped me a lot.
The Power of Now- Eckhart Tole. Great for anyone who’s interested in mindfulness or meditation.
Untethered Soul-Micharl A. Singer. This is probably my favorite book on mindfulness so far. It’s beautifully written and with so much insight.
Mindfulness : An 8 Week Plan Finding Peace in a Frantic World-Mark Williams and Danny Penman. This one really got me started this time around. It even has guided meditations and a plan to stick to that is not overwhelming and easy to stick to.
Headspace App: Great app for beginners! The first ten guided meditations are free, and I just sprung for the paid version because I love it so much. Plus I like the ability to have a guide with me wherever I am. Definitely a must if you have a busy schedule!
There are a LOT of books on meditation as well as a TON of apps. I’ll be reviewing some more in an upcoming post, but these should get you started!
What about you? Do you meditate? Does it come easy to you? How did you start your practice?