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What I Have Learned in One Year of Daily Meditation

What I Have Learned in One Year of Daily Meditation

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,

in stillness.

 

Jivi



34 thoughts on “What I Have Learned in One Year of Daily Meditation”

  • Meine Süße,

    Danke, dass du uns mitnimmst auf die Reise deiner Meditationserfahrung. Ich kann mich darin so sehr wiederfinden.

    Xoxo Claudia

  • I love meditation but it is so easy for me to fall out of the habit. I noticed real differences in my anxiety levels when I’d practice in the morning! I think I will start again tomorrow morning.

    • So, how did it go? Did you get back into the groove of things? 🙂
      I find that meditating first thing in the morning – even before looking at your phone – helps me keep the routine the easiest. And as you experienced it seems to do the most to keep anxiety levels low if I meditate at that time for some reason.
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your experience!

  • I sometimes think meditation is the art of realising there is no place to get to. Don’t beat yourself up about your thoughts. We all have them. The idea your boyfriend has 2 thoughts in 10 mins shows he is either an enlightened monk or he doesn’t have the awareness to realise that he more than likely had 100 thoughts he just didn’t realise. And that’s fine too. Would love to hear of your experience in another years time.

    • That is a beautiful definition of meditation. And yes, I’ve come to realise that too: it’s not about the absence of thoughts. It’s about not letting them take control. Thank you for the encouragement!

  • Meditation is the best thing for us really. I need to work on doing it daily again but since I had my youngest 4 months ago I’ve found it difficult to get much time to myself. Will for sure have to work on doing it daily again! I agree it is scary and hard to do when you first start out but it’s so beneficial and powerful. I love that my oldest son’s school teaches meditation. That’s how they teach them to calm themselves in stressful or upsetting situations. He goes to a montisorri school.

    • Wow, that is so beautiful! I’ve heard so many good things about Montessori, but that just puts them to another level. And hey, cut yourself some slack – anyone is bound to grow less diligent in their practice with a newborn by your side. Just two minutes a day is enough 🙂

    • Oh, I can imagine! I don’t have children, but some other stressors in my life, and meditation has helped me so much in facing them calmly. Let me know how you get on 🙂

    • Wow, I’m so glad to hear it! If you need some more convincing, there’s endless studies showing what regular meditation can do to your brain you can look at – or just give it a try yourself 😉

    • Yay, I’m so happy for you! You’ll grow so much more used to it in time – and even if a meditation doesn’t turn out the way you expected it to, you still took the time for yourself. That’s all that counts!

  • How wonderful that you’ve been meditating daily for a year. I tried to start a regular meditaton practce a few weeks ago but ditched it pretty soon as I felt like maybe my husband would Judge me. After all, he said it was unlike me. Now I do dialectical behavior therapy skills training for my borderline personality disorder traits, of which mindfulness is the first skill. I am still a bit skeptical and so is my husband. I am glad though for these inspiring lessons you learned. Like, you don’t have to be good at it. It’s refreshing to know that even after a year’s practice, you still find yourself getting thoughts in your mind regularly, and that’s okay.

    • Oh hey, I’m so sorry you felt like you were being judged for your meditation practice! There’s absolutely no reason to feel that way hun. Don’t let anybody stop you from self care! If meditation is calling you, you should absolutely think about trying it out once more – regardless of what anybody says. But for now, I’m so glad to hear you have found something! A little scepticism is normal for anything in the beginning 😉 Sending you lots of love.

    • Yes, absolutely – it’s very much a commitment type of deal. But once you do, it becomes such an integral part of your routine that you don’t even have to think about it anymore, you just sit down and do it!

  • Wow Jivi! Thank you so much for this! I’ve downloaded an app to help me meditate, but always feel like I’m doing ti wrong because I can’t stop thinking about other things. I’ll definitely try harder after your example!

    • As long as you’re sitting still and taking the time for yourself, you can’t be doing anything wrong! <3

  • Good for you for being so dedicated to meditation! I’ve been wanting to do either meditation or yoga in the mornings, I think I’ll start with some yoga stretches. That always gets my day started on the right note!

    • Well, yoga is also called meditation in movement – so no need to make a decision of either or for now. Let me know how you get on! 🙂

  • Meditation changed my life. The only thing for me is to keep it up. It’s so easy to push on the back burner. I go to Dharma talks to help me keep up with my practice.

    • I’m so so glad to hear that! It really is a miraculous practice. And dharma talks are such a great idea to stay inspired!

  • Meditation is really something I want to get into, learn more about and start doing! I have tried youtubing ways to get into a good routine but I am not able to find the right one for me yet. I would love to be able to switch off and sit in the silence.

    http://www.nmdiaries.com

    • Try some of the apps I mentioned, like 1GiantMind or Headspace – those will slowly but surely lead you in the direction of silent meditations. But keep in mind that meditation doesn’t have to be silent 🙂

    • Getting started can be hard! But once you get into the groove of it, it’s so much easier to keep up. Maybe some challenges are the right way to go for you to stay committed?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!