3 Big Ways Meditation Changed My Life
Posted on September 28 2015
I strongly believe that if you do not feed your soul, the world will feed it for you. I also believe that if you do not decide who you are, the world will decide for you. I started incorporating meditation into my day because I realized that if I didn’t go into each day with a specific intention of what I wanted and needed from that day, I would allow the day to control me instead of taking control of the day. It’s interesting that we’re constantly thinking about what we feed our bodies. By the end of breakfast, we’re already thinking about lunch, dinner and the snacks we’re going to have in between. Feeding our souls however, barely ever crosses our minds.
This is where meditation comes in. There are so many definitions out there for what it is and what it means. I like to keep things simple – I see it simply as food for my soul. When I started practicing meditation, my intention was to find inner peace. Not only did I discover that my inner peace was never lost, I found so much more hidden within. Here are 3 big ways this practice changed my life.
1. It taught me how to forgive
Forgiving others is something that I learned over time. Learning to forgive myself however was a whole other beast. You don’t realize how harsh you are with yourself until you try meditating and get bombarded with a billion thoughts. What should I cook tonight? That lady at Trader Joe’s was a little nuts. Don’t forget to put that check in the mail. What really happened at the end of Inception? Is the matrix real? What if Neo took the blue pill and the red pill? What is wrong with me? Am I even doing this right? Why can’t I stop thinking for a few minutes?
“Mind is never peaceful; no-mind is peace. Mind itself can never be peaceful, silent. The very nature of the mind is to be tense, to be in confusion. Mind can never be clear, it cannot have clarity, because mind is by nature confusion, cloudiness. Clarity is possible without mind, peace is possible without mind; silence is possible without mind, so never try to attain a silent mind. If you do, from the very beginning you are moving in an impossible dimension.” Excerpted from Osho, Tantra: The Supreme Understanding, Talk #2
These days I don’t try to stop the thoughts. I accept that they are there. I observe them as they are. I smile. There’s no judgment. It is what it is. And then there’s silence.
2. It taught me to be present
A friend once wrote in a letter to me “Wherever you go, make sure your heart is where you are.” I was 19 years old and I lived primarily in the past and the future, always wishing and hoping for a better moment. Better moments did come but I was always too busy to fully enjoy them. My head and my heart were already plotting about what could make things even better. Eckhart Tolle wrote in The Power of Now, “Nothing has happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.”
“…the past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whatever form. Both are illusions.” Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
When I meditate, I realize that there is no moment in the future in which I will be perfectly happy and complete. Everything that I need is available to me right in the moment I’m in.
3. It reminds me of who I am
Think of how many times in a day you utter the words “I am”. Now think of the words that follow. What I hear so many people say are things like I am tired, I am fat, I am angry, I am an idiot…the list goes on. What I take from this is that we don’t spend enough time with ourselves to really know who we are. It we spent a minimum of 5 minutes connecting with ourselves daily, there’s no way we would think and say such horrible things. Knowing who I am before I step out of my house means no one can project their issues and insecurities on me while I’m out there. My sense of self and self worth are guarded, protected and reinforced daily.
“The student (you, me, all of us)…must stand guard more strictly over his thoughts…for every time you say ‘I am not, I cannot, I have not’ you are, whether knowingly or unknowingly throttling that great presence within you.” Dr. Wayne Dyer
There is no right or wrong way to meditate. You can do it anywhere; for 30 seconds or 30 minutes. You don’t need to be in lotus position and you don’t have to build a special room for it. You don’t have to do it every single day but the more you realize how much value it adds to your life, the more you’ll want to do it.
If you’d like to give meditation a try, there are some great, free resources out there. I’d suggest going with a guided meditation like Wayne Dyer’s I AM to kick things off or any of Tara Brach’s archived guided meditations.