In spite of all the touted benefits and hoopla everywhere about meditation, do you find that you just can't get your self to meditate? Allow me share my amusing decade of hate and love (in that order) relationship with meditation.
My reasons for not meditating
I just could not get myself to meditate. With all these physical and mental benefits that purportedly lied ahead, what was stopping me? I was scared- yes, scared to mediate. Why was that?
Not everyone who claims they are a Guru are really one
My first foray into meditation was in my mid 20's. It was with this self proclaimed 'Master' who's interests I discovered later were the ladies and passing snide remarks on the students after the meditation sessions, along with his best mates. He was light years away from the enlightened being he claimed to be. So I gave up on meditation thinking its a sham.
Lack of guidance
Now with this (NOT) great master, firstly, his delivery/class was utter crap (as he was probably busy focusing on the ladies). He gave almost no guidance during the meditation other than saying focus on your breath at the start of the meditation.
Lack of proper support
Secondly, after the class he would ask the attendees to share with everyone what they experienced or saw in the meditation. Hearing the visual and detailed experiences simply freaked me out for a very long time. And every individual is different, some experience feelings, some have detailed dream like visualizations, some see lights, some may see Jesus or Buddha or other spiritual masters, and so forth. My reaction was...'aaaaaaahhhhhh, gotta get out of here, now!'
Nothing added up. Far from experiencing all these amazing benefits you are supposed to have post meditation, I developed a fear of meditation. I said goodbye to meditation and the hiatus lasted for several years.
So how can you start meditating after giving up on it?
Find a technique that suits you
Years after the debacle experience with the sham guru, I felt the urge to explore meditation once again. If people and mentors you look up to all swear by it, there has got to be some merit to it. Here is how I slowly inched my way to a regular meditation practice over the last few years:
I started with learning mindfulness through Thich Nhath Hanh's teachings in audio courses. I share the techniques that I learnt in a post on mindfulness.
Then I tried some meditation apps (we have a curated list here) with varied levels of success
I tried mantra meditation, that uses a mantra as an anchor. Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s 21 day meditation series are based on mantra meditation
I signed up for a trial pass at the Centred Meditation studio in Sydney CBD. I did their effortless meditation sessions mostly at lunch time and sometimes after work. They also have online sessions available for those not able to attend at their Sydney studio or those prefer virtual sessions. (check out our review of Centred meditation)
What personally worked very well for me was Eesha's heart centered meditation practice, particularly the Four Foundations practice meditation. Eesha has some wonderful tips on how to meditate in a free course.
It's best to explore different techniques and teachers to find what resonates with you.
Make it a part of your routine
Meditation is like exercise. You aren't going to get that flat stomach by just thinking about planks. You got to do them, my love! Set a time aside for meditation daily, a time that works for you. Even if its 10 minutes in the morning or in the evening or even during your lunch break in the park near your office. Make it a daily date with your inner yourself.
Trust what unfolds
Everything is energy including yourself. You are in the circumstances you are because of accumulating different experiences, relationships, trials and tribulations as energy over a period of time, which could be days, months or even years of something unresolved or unraveled.
Sometimes the energy shifts can be gentle but at times it could be very drastic and / or dramatic. It could be anything from releasing pent up anger, involve tears (tears help with releasing) to relationship changes.
Or you could have a beautiful heart opening and life expanding experience like I did (now don't be jealous, you can have it too with something that you may connect with. I personally experienced this with Eesha's Four foundation practices meditation). But please don't give up on meditation and trust the process will unfold as is right for you.
You will only see what you are ready to experience
In some meditation groups, you may hear people claiming travel to distant planets and meeting gods and deities during meditation, don't let that scare you from meditation. Know that you will see only what you are ready and willing to see. You will attract only what you are truly ready to experience and, feel or see.
Don't judge yourself & don't compare
Last but not the least, do not judge yourself harshly (for meditation or any thing else in life) and don't compare yourself to others. Setting such high standards for yourself, for instance, so and so CEO has a 2 hour morning routine with 1 hour dedicated to meditation, is setting yourself up for utter disappointment. As not everyone has so much time at their disposal (this mom of a 5 year old nods her head in agreement). You do what works for your life, even if it means a 10 minute meditation date with your inner self
So are you inspired and ready to start or continue your meditation journey? We’d love to hear about your experiences and what has worked for you.
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