In Part One of this series I discussed why and how I begun a meditation habit. This week I’m sharing the many changes I’ve noticed and why meditation is such an important tool supporting a peaceful and creative life.
The truth is that it’s not that long ago that the concept of meditation felt way outside my realm. How on earth can sitting in stillness help when there is a crazy-long list of things that must get done? At the same time though, the idea of slowing down and finding a way to work smarter, not harder was incredibly appealing. Could it possibly be true that there is a way to slow down and yet “get more done”?
In creating a meditation success story I realised it was important to let go of the notion that I would be able to empty my mind of thoughts. Appreciating that thoughts are a part of meditation helped me to re-frame my expectations and enabled me to carry on with my experiment – it was so much easier when I learnt to acknowledge my thoughts but then to detach and let them go.
Like beginning any new thing: practice + patience = progress.
Whenever you give up fighting with something and artfully surrender, that’s when real shift happens for the better. Jennifer Grey
And that’s what happened.
Shifts I’ve noticed, so far:
1. I’m getting off the hamster wheel!
A gorgeous friend of mine once dearly told me that I’m like a hamster on a wheel – once I get on to something I just work at it until it’s done! Whilst I like being a productive member of society, I think there is so much more to a vibrant life when you train yourself to slow down, focus on what is in front of you and embrace the present.
2. I’m getting better at standing in my truth
When cultivating your mind, the choices you make can either create or diminish personal power. When I move away from who I am (towards the expectations of others) I lose my power. When I move towards my beliefs my truth is amplified, creating glimpses of that personal strength I feel sure is our birth right.
3. I’m experiencing peace
Obsessive thinking is exhausting. Becoming an untied observer of my thoughts creates the space to see new perspectives and allow different choices to surface. It enables me to cultivate more peace in my life. And that is worth absolutely every ounce of effort to maintain my meditation practice.
What I’d like you to know
I’m all-for sharing experiences I’ve had, warts-and-all. So these are a few things I’d like you to know:
- I didn’t one day decide to start meditating and all of a sudden achieve enlightenment! The desire has been there for a long time and it took a fair commitment to make a start. And I’m no where near enlightenment (whatever that is, exactly).
- I am absolutely still learning – and always will be – but I feel like I have reached a milestone in that I can look back and reflect on how a practice of meditation has made a difference to my life (and my family’s, for that matter).
- There are days that I don’t meditate and everything still ticks along. But if those days build up I absolutely notice a difference in my mindset. The difference is that now (since I appreciate the benefit meditation brings me) I have a tool I can rely upon to help soothe the swings.
On the topic of making a lifestyle change, I’m the type of person to ebb and flow with a new idea. What I mean is that I’ll experiment with something new and see how it feels. If I like the way it feels, I’ll commit. But I still have a tendency to take two steps forward and then one back. Next I’ll take three steps forward and not go back. I like life being a series of experiments. Is it similar for you?
Meditation resources that helped me
1. A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle
Like I mentioned in Part One of this story, Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth, helped me to understand a practical pathway to a different state of consciousness, something freer and more peaceful. It was after reading his book that I finally made the choice and commitment to meditation.
2. 21 Day Meditation Experience
I signed up for Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey’s free 21-Day Meditation Experience: Manifesting True Success (periodically they offer a free 21 day series of meditations – it’s worth signing up to keep in the loop of when the next 21 days will start). This was about 20 – 25 minutes of meditation per day following a theme, each session focusing on a different topic. I loved this support to look inward.
3. Gathering guided meditations
There are many, many meditations available on disk or via the internet. I believe it is a matter of experimenting and finding styles that resonate best for you. Some of my favourite guided meditations are by Andy Kidd (who focuses on the magnificence of the breathe) and Melissa Ambrosini (whose many meditations topics support the theme of self love). If you enjoy sound, then the chakra balancing by Jonathan Goldman is also powerful.
Have you experimented with meditation? I’d love to hear about how you begun your meditation habit, what changes you’ve noticed and why you are now committed. Please share in the comments below.
If you’re curious about meditation, or you’ve recently started a meditation practice and have questions I’d be honoured to answer them. Post your questions in the comments section.