Back in 2007 I took myself off to my very first meditation class. I’d signed myself up for a 4 week course at the local buddhist centre, full of high hopes of achieving a zen like life. Surely all this sitting down, being quiet, zoning out is going to be easy.
First of all there was the rather attractive monk! He was (and still is) rather gorgeous. (And if you’ve attending any of my meditation classes, you’ll know there is a whole other, deeply embarrassing, please-ground-open-up-and-swallow-me-NOW story about said gorgeous monk). I totally blamed him for my very challenged ability to meditate. Instead of closing my eyes, just letting all my thoughts disappear, I wanted to stare at the gorgeousness that was him. I was totally and utterly distracted. And I was NOT meditating….
Then there was the wild need to laugh.
These quiet and gentle monks who explained everything in great detail made me want to laugh, hard and loudly. I am a giggler when the situation calls for quiet. So every time we were taken into a meditation, I would sit on that really uncomfortable cushion just trying not to fall about laughing. And I was NOT meditating, mostly being really annoying to others.
Everybody else in the room was so darn serious and meditating with ease. Yet little old me couldn’t stop staring at the attractive monk, couldn’t stop wanting to laugh all the time. Then when that settled, couldn’t stop staring out of the windows to see what was going on in the apartments across the street. I wanted to know what they were having for their dinner, what they did for a living, who they lived with.
Yet again, I was NOT meditating….
In those 4 weeks of meditation classes, I spent more time doing those things, and NOT meditating and primarily feeling like a total meditation failure.
I failed at meditating. How can that be freaking possible. After all, it was just sitting down and being quiet… I just really wasn’t getting it at all.
There are many various kinds of meditation and as with food and living your life, it’s about how you go about finding your way – it’s about bio-individualty.
When you are somebody (like me) who is wired to be thinking, learning, working, talking, listening – learning to sit and just be, can be the most frustrating thing ever. Achieving the exact opposite that meditation is supposed to.
I used to be super angry when it came to my meditation sessions. I just wasn’t getting it.
The thing was I built it up to be something huge in my mind, and I thought it “should” be easy. And I thought that I had to be “perfect” at it for it to have any effect on my life. How wrong I was.
I’d read all the research, I knew how profound it could be for me if I stayed with it. That it would help me make a difference to my body on a cellular level. I wanted to feel better, be better, be a better person. I wanted all the benefits it had to offer –
It’s believed that meditation helps on a physical level ::
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Lowers the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks
- Decreases any tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems
- Increases serotonin production that improves mood and behaviour
- Improves the immune system
- Increases the energy level, as you gain an inner source of energy
And on a mind health level ::
- Anxiety decreases
- Emotional stability improves
- Creativity increases
- Happiness increases
- Intuition develops
- Gain clarity and peace of mind
- Problems become smaller
- Meditation sharpens the mind by gaining focus and expands through relaxation
- A sharp mind without expansion causes tension, anger and frustration
- An expanded consciousness without sharpness can lead to lack of action/progress
- The balance of a sharp mind and an expanded consciousness brings good stuff
Meditation makes you aware – that your inner attitude determines your happiness.
Heck, I wanted all this. But I couldn’t blooming sit still or stop taking notice of what was going on around me.
But I stayed with it.
I went to meditation class after meditation class. I tried different ways to do it. I chanted, which initially made me want to fall into hysterical laughter, but once I got past that I actually LOVE it. The more I do my own little chanting session, the more I am soothed and relaxed by it. I did mindfulness. I did sitting meditation, I did walking meditation. I tried running meditation which was most challenging as I am not a natural runner – that’s a story for another time. I did loving kindness meditation, that just made me want to slap the hell out of somebody who I deemed wronged me – telling me that maybe I wasn’t ready for that one. Or that it actually wasn’t the one for me. I tried guided meditation – that made me giddy, again.
But I just kept going trying to find my one.
And then I found Mind Calm. For me, Mind Calm is a more directional way to meditate. For somebody like me, who finds it hard to switch off and drift, the direction in this modern meditation actually helped me relax more, cultivate peace with me mind. I felt like I’d hit the jackpot. I actually become a mind calm meditation teacher, because I know that with the kind of people I work with, many of them find it hard to switch off and slow down.
I had found my one that helped me to see a much bigger picture.
What Mind Calm did for me, was to see all the other forms of meditation and access the parts of them that work for me.
I can do my Mind Calm. I can do my mindfulness. I can do walking (this girl aint ever gone meditate whilst running, I’ve accepted it and moved on!). I can chant (how I love to chant.) I can do visualisation.
The bottom line is, I can meditate in a way that works for me. I’m not somebody who sits for hours. I tend to do 10-15 minutes in the morning after I’ve done my journaling (that’s another form of meditation for me), and I’ll get on my yoga mat at some point in the day to do a 10 – 30 minute moving meditation.
And do I feel better from doing all this? HECK YES!
I am so much calmer, I have more clarity, my stress levels stay on the down low, I feel healthier, I’m more creative, I can think bigger, act bigger. It has a massive positive impact on the work I do and the people I support. It makes me an easier person to be around.
For me it was worth staying with it, even when I hated it as times.