About three years ago, I tried meditating for the first time. At that point in my life, I was not patient enough to deal with the uncomfortableness that it caused me. It didn’t feel right. It was too frustrating. I wasn’t sure that the payoff would be worth the effort. More than a handful of reasons not to carry on with the practice crossed my mind and I listened to them. Throughout the three years that followed, I was surrounded by friends who described how meditation had positively impacted their life, mostly because they wanted to share, but also because they hoped it would motivate me to give it another go. But, if there is one thing that I have learned about my (some may say stubborn, I say authentic) self is that I do not act until I feel the necessity, which usually presents itself in a physical symptom…an urge to physically move. And once that shift hits, it’s with full force and accompanied by an abundance of self-discipline. Well, the shift hit about two weeks ago, after reading this book:
Though the bestseller is not focused on meditation, it gives a layman’s terms understanding of the workings of the mind. I could go on and on about the book, but that would take away from this post, so just read it if you’re so inclined. The book sparked a renewed interest on thoughts, which led me to mindfulness meditation. After hearing words from the inspiring Andy, I was done…I knew that I was ready to commit. In the spirit of this blog and taking the journey of ‘doing’ vs. ‘thinking about doing,’ I decided to act that same day. I’ll admit, I’m still surprised at how quickly I am noticing the effects of meditating for ten minutes every day for the past two weeks.
No, problems do not disappear, and no negative thoughts do not evaporate, but the practice has already made me feel more settled and at peace when those thoughts cross my mind. It has sharpened my ability to recognize and honor a thought and let it go. The simple act of being mindful, of being aware that they are passing thoughts – stories in the mind that are rarely an external reality – the simple act of recognizing that, provides a freedom that is overwhelmingly exquisite.
I will leave you with Andy’s TED talk on mindfulness meditation: