It took me what felt like forever to secure a meditation practice.
I remember sitting “unsuccessfully” time and time again, thinking this just isn’t for me. My mind would race, I’d lose track of my breathing (it even hurt to breathe in the way I had been instructed) and there was nothing but cruel mind-chatter happening.
Meditation felt more like an assault than a deep healing technique. This definitely didn’t make me want to move ahead on this path of learning.
And yet, I was drawn to spirituality. Nature, soothing music, expansive ways of being and thinking, astrology, open-hearted people… All deeply moving. Did meditation really have to be a part of this spiritual path, too? I tried to work around it. Convincing myself that I meditated when I was driving and doing other busy things, all very much not mindfully. In truth, my effort was toward getting out of meditation, not getting into it.
Most of the people and programs I was drawn to cradled meditation as a pillar in the process. Why can’t I meditate? No matter how much I tried to run from the meditation practice, there it was again.
So I asked… “Why should I meditate?” And here are some of the deeper reasons “why” that I found:
• Supports the mind in releasing thoughts and actions that no longer serve a purpose
• Facilitates space in your life and grows your ability to press the pause button and not live life with such urgency
• Helps cultivate courage, humor, and stability in all aspects of life
• You become more compassionate with others and yourself, which brings you peace, more understanding of others and makes it easier to feel joy in my relationships
• It helps open your inner potential and be more creative
• It helps you feel connected and soothes and heals your parasympathetic nervous system
• Enables mental clarity, recall, and feelings of wellbeing
• Stabilizing physical systems: blood pressure, cardiovascular, glandular balance, upper respiratory health
• Brightens life practices: restful sleeping, activities that bring joy, awareness of eating and exercising habits
Somehow, deep down I knew… I intuited that adopting this practice would be a life-changing event. It would mean revisiting experiences that had taken me to my knees, memories that had devastated me. Now I know that this is what happens when we say yes to healing through our most challenging life events. And meditation facilitates this in profound ways.
So maybe my inability to adopt a meditation at that time was a sign that I didn’t have the support I needed to see me through what inevitably was going to show up to be healed.
Give the BREATHE TO HEAL practice a try, no expectations, just show up, do, be, and make space for whatever simply IS in that moment. All it asks of you is 3 minutes. I suggest you make it part of your morning ritual. As we change habits all sorts of distractions get in the way. So make it easier on yourself and get the job done before too much life shows up to distract you.
Breath in for a count of 3 … Do nothing for a count of 3 … Exhale for a count of 6.
And most importantly for practice, let the measure of success simply be showing up in earnest, to notice what you notice for a few minutes. No need for peace, for things to be different, no sense that you are “meditating wrong”. Show up and notice. Then, return.