I knew I needed to establish a daily meditation practice when:
I realized I couldn't make it through dinner without checking my phone.
Silence was extremely uncomfortable, even terrifying to me. I couldn't do anything without having some distracting noise, like the TV or music, going in the background.
I was composing Facebook or Instagram posts in my sleep.
I had stopped writing in my journal.
I went shopping to numb my thoughts of inadequacy. Buying something new lifted my spirits, which is fine, but it had become a sort of escape from reality for me.
Most of my energy was spent trying to avoid being alone with my thoughts.
It should be the most natural thing in the world to sit quietly and connect with your body and your heart for a short time each day, so why was it so hard? I knew I needed to stop reading about meditation and start actually doing it. Having a knowledge of what meditation could do for me but not putting it into practice was kind of like going to the gym and watching other people work out. You just don't get results that way.
And so I began. I started with 2 or 3 minutes at first. Then I moved up to 10. Then jumped up to 30 minutes. And I started to hate myself a little bit less with each practice. And I began to let go of tons of crap that I had been trying to avoid facing for a long, long time. And I started to feel lighter in my body and mind. And I knew this was something I would continue doing for the rest of my life.
Just like you don't always feel like going to the gym, you don't always feel like sitting down and being quiet either. Sometimes when I meditate, I have a hard time sitting still. My mind starts screaming like a crazy person about everything I SHOULD be doing instead. Then it brings up painful memories, forgotten hurts, and haunting regrets. Then it brings up stupid stuff that I can't do anything about. It's nuts I tell ya. I think this is what often stops us from sticking with a meditation practice - it can be exhausting sitting with all of that. But that's also kind of the point.
I've learned that beyond that initial garbage, if you can push through it, is an abundance of love, peace, light, and joy. But you do have to wade through all the crap to get to it. And the crap keeps coming up, over and over again, not just in the beginning. That being said, I feel like establishing a daily meditation practice has been one of the most healing things I've ever done on my "journey to wellness." You can read more about how I got started here.
When you get to that place of infinite awareness, you start to realize some really cool things about yourself. And then, after awhile, you realize that it's not just true of you, but of every single person on the planet! Isn't that amazing? You'll get these awesome "downloads" or insights into your own true nature, the creative power of the universe, and your connection to all people and living things. It's so incredibly cool that it sounds sort of lame as I'm trying to describe it to you. I guess until you go there yourself, it will sound a little kooky. But I was never one to shy away from my weird-o side. Just ask anyone I went to high school with. ;) Every single one of us has the capacity for greatness, and it's up to us what we do with it.
Here are some of the "downloads" i received in the past week. I like to write them down as they come to me so I can look back on them later. Obviously, some of this is from things I have learned or read or heard at some point. Not everything is an original concept or brand new idea that has never been thought of before. These are simply what I needed to receive. Revelations about what I am, what YOU are, and also, what we are NOT.
What you are not:
You are not what you do for a living, how much money you make, or how much "success" you have achieved in the eyes of the world.
You are not the roles you play in life -- wife, mother, father, friend, grandmother, daughter, son, caregiver, etc.
You are not the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the size of home you live in, or the number of toys you have in your garage.
You are not what other people think of you.
You are not the belief system or tradition you were raised in.
You are not your relationship status.
You are not how many likes or followers you have on social media.
You are not your fears, doubts, anxieties, illnesses, conditions, or problems.
You are not the number on the scale or the size of your clothes.
You are not your gender, gender identity, or sexual preference.
All of those things are a part of who you are, but they are not YOU. They are an aspect of your existence, but not your identity.
What you actually are:
You are infinite love and endless creativity.
You are the beautiful expression of life happening at this moment.
You are a beam of light that changes colors and intensity, but never burns out.
You are the deep-down knowing that everything is and will be okay.
You are the vast awareness of all emotions, thoughts, and feelings that move through your sphere.
You are one with all of life -- every tree, flower, river, and creature is a part of you.
You are the love of God concentrated down into human form.
Our wise, inner selves have so much to teach us, but we must be willing to do the work of sitting with our pain for awhile, working through those demons that we tend to avoid at all costs. It really is true that everything we desire is on the other side of our fear. It's extremely difficult to open ourselves up and face all the sadness, loneliness, anger, regret, and pain that exist in us. But for me, the freedom, serenity, peace, and stillness that are on the other side are most definitely worth it.