Meditation has been such a gift. Truly a gift for me.
You see I have always been an overthinker, cerebral, scientific, analytic, logical. I considered myself a problem solver and usually able to figure things out. This meant I was always in my head, lost in my thoughts, or worrying about the future.
I thought success meant achievement. I was seeking to do "all the things". I thought that was what I needed to do: set goals and achieve them.
And this became overwhelming, causing anxiety and stress, analysis paralysis, and being stuck in my thoughts.
I had always been drawn to meditation. I read books and watched videos about meditation and mindfulness. I treat my yoga practice as "active meditation".
Then I went to my first meditation circle - guided by an amazing meditation teacher. I didn't know what to expect, and it turned out to be such a powerful experience for me. I felt light and emotional, tears kept falling. I felt a connection to the spirit, being in God's presence.
This teacher had a Learn to Meditate series and I signed up. I learned the benefits of meditation, the different types, and the myths. And I started to practice to meditate, trying different ways, mantras, focusing on the breath, guided meditation. The key here is that meditation is a practice. There is no one way to do it. There no perfect way to do it. Do whatever works for you.
Why meditate anyway?
We have 60,000 - 80,000 thoughts every day. You may hear that voice in your head, the inner critic, saying negative thoughts. Or you may just be thinking about that thing you need to next on your never-ending to-do list, causing you some anxiety.
Meditation helps you become aware of your thoughts. You become an observer of your thoughts and realize that you are not your thoughts. You can notice the thought. And let it go.
You are not your thoughts.- Michael A. Singer
Meditation is being in the space in between your thoughts. It is being in the present, in the now and just be. Not in the past, not regretting the past. Not in the worries about the future. In the present.
Sometimes it's just taking notice of the breath. Coming back to the breath. I am breathing in. I am breathing out.
There are many benefits to meditation, including less stress and anxiety, increased feelings of calm, improved sleep, reduced perception of pain, among others.
Personally, I've come to appreciate these gifts of meditation.
Being in the present
Staying the present has been liberating and freeing. I am not my thoughts. I am not my past. I am not in the future. I am here and now, I am safe, happy, and at peace.
Being my own friend
Meditation is about acceptance. Being always in my head meant I was self-critical and second-guessing myself. I have learned to accept my self, to accept what is, and just be.
I held tension in my shoulders, neck, and back. And whenever I did a body scan to see where there was tension in my body, I could feel where I was holding the stress. This awareness has helped me to identify where I was holding the tension and to just let it go.
Waiting before reacting
Being aware of my thoughts has allowed me to take a moment before I react. I become aware of when I am triggered by someone else's words or actions and choose to wait before I react.
Discovering the power within
I was always looking for answers outside. When all along, the answers were within. There is no need to seek validation from others. I am worthy because I exist.
I am worthy simply because I exist.
I am grateful for meditation and its gifts.
Meditation is like coming back. A practice of coming back to your sense of self that is present and now. Truly such a gift.
Do you meditate? What have been the gifts of meditation for you?