One year ago, I made the commitment to start a daily meditation practice. This is what I have learned.
Meditation is terrifying
It seems so easy, to just sit and do nothing for a period of time. But you will notice, the first time you sit down, just how difficult it actually is.
Think about it, when in your day-to-day life are you actually not doing anything? We are always busy with something, whether it be driving to work, watching a movie, or hanging out with friends. And when we find ourselves unoccupied, or rather: too little occupied, and the silence becomes too uncomfortable – we flee from it. Waiting for the bus? Your phone is always handy. Walking your dog? How about a podcast or some music. Breakfast? That just calls for a newspaper.
Meditation pulls you away from all these distractions, and it’s bloody hard. But it’s also necessary. So necessary. It’s a time for your brain to detox, to focus on what really matters, and to explore the depth of your consciousness.
You don’t actually have to be good at it
Meditation is not about the absence of thought. Instead, it is realising that a thought entered your mind, and effortlessly observing it on its way out.
In the beginning, I would frantically push any thought away that came up, not realising that when I tried to do that, my mind would just hold on to it even more.
See, my brain runs on steroids. Despite my daily (humbly one-year-old) practice, I usually can’t remain thoughtless for longer than a minute, while my boyfriend, who sits down to meditate once every couple of weeks, will have a thought or two during those 10 minutes. This used to bug the shit out of me. Which didn’t exactly help.
Now, when a thought comes up, I simply notice it. That is all I do. I try not to focus on it, but I also don’t attempt to force it away. This has made my practice so effortless, and I am actually cultivating feelings of lightness during my meditation, instead of emotions of strain or anger at myself.
Remain flexible, but keep a routine
Apparently, my mind needs change once in a while. I usually go through phases where all I do is silent meditations. Then all I desire is a guided 1 Giant Mind meditation, and after that I want mantra meditations for a couple of months, or sound meditations. I give in to that desire, because it makes meditating so much more powerful for me.
At the same time, I have to meditate in the morning. Before I look at a screen, before I even utter a word.
For a daily meditation practice, you have to go on a journey to discover what works for you. Try different practices, try different times of the day, and I am sure you will find what you are looking for.
It is mighty powerful.
Part of the reason of why I was able to actually practice every single day for the past year is that I really feel it when I don’t. There were some days where I just didn’t do it in the morning, and by late afternoon I was feeling so out of whack that I just had to sit down and meditate. My brain goes haywire.
The scary thing is: apparently this was what my brain was like every. single. day. before I began meditating.
Meditation has been the single most powerful tool to curb my anxiety, cultivate a sense of calm and contentment, and deal with difficult moments in my life. There are times where I don’t work out or do yoga for a week, and I feel it, but I am fine. But I never, ever skip on meditation anymore, and I am beyond certain that I will continue this practice for the rest of my life.
I am no master by any means, and I have so much to learn. There’s so much more around meditation that I want to explore, but for now,
I will just sit here,