I began my meditation practice nearly three years ago by taking a weekly class at a truly wonderful studio. Since then, I vary my practice with classes, home meditation and online courses. All of it works for me, whether I meditate for 30 minutes or two minutes, meditation works. How does it work? What does it do for me? Simply put, it has changed the way I live my life.
I've re-learned how to breathe. Most of us have forgotten the proper way to breathe. Think about it. Are you aware of your breath? If so, is it shallow or is it from your belly? Meditation taught me diaphragmatic breathing, and how to use this breathing to find stillness. By learning how to breathe fully, I am able to quiet my mind (only slightly on some days!) and how to calm myself in situations that previously would have gotten me riled up to the point of anger or frustration.
I've learned to reduce stress and anxiety. Living the majority of my life with an anxious, racing mind took it's toll on me years ago in the form of depression. Additionally, anxiety doesn't allow you to make decisions from a place of faith and intuition, but rather, from a place of fear. After years believing 'this is how life really is,' it felt unnatural to release fear and anxiety and embrace a calm, faith filled way of living. Meditation guided me from anxiety to faith, from fear to love and has allowed me to forgive myself in the process.
I live more fully in the present moment. We hear everywhere how we should live in the moment, but what does this really mean? It's more than being spontaneous. It's about being fully present, right now, with this very breath you are taking. The present moment, according to renowned spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, "is the field on which the game of life happens. It cannot happen anywhere else." Now, I love to reminisce, but when we are thinking of the past by obsessing and feeling guilt, it is not the present moment. When we think about the future, we worry about that which has not yet happened. Being in the present moment keeps you in your life and allows you to be mindful and make decisions from a place of centered truth instead of from a place of guilt (past beliefs) or fear of the outcome (future worries.)
I am more self aware During meditation, I learn to find stillness. Stillness allows you to go inside your true self, that voice, the real you, your soul, your divinity. This self, this space can be called many things. It is a place that feels like home. A place where I feel the most like myself. A place that has answers. By finding this place, I've been able to tap into truths about myself that can harm me (anxiety) and those that help me shine (passion.)
I am learning self acceptance This was a biggie for me. Learning to have compassion for myself in all situations. ALL. Accepting the good, bad and the ugly instead of only focusing on the ugly and how to make the ugly prettier. I'm learning to accept the good and nurture it, and to accept the bad and improve where I can without shame, judgement or guilt. I am working on this all the time, as it is easy for me to self deprecate - I am getting so much better, and proud of it. During meditation, when I find the quiet, I tap into all of the "Neens" and embrace them all.
Here are some great apps you can use for meditating: Buddhify, Ananada, and Headspace. There are great guided meditations here. And for a little more time and investment, any and all of the Oprah Winfrey/Deepak Chopra 21 Day meditations are fabulous!
Do you meditate? Have you always wanted to try but don't know how to start? Leave a comment below and let's chat about it!
If you want to read more about my meditation experiences, take a look at these:
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