Why Meditate? It’s a valid question! As trendy as meditation, yoga and all things “New Age” have become. There’s a reason they have existed as practices for thousands of years.
I would be lying if I said meditation didn't change my life. I've been practicing regular meditation for almost two years now, but trust me, it hasn't been an easy road!
Meditation is just like a muscle. It takes some time and dedication to see the results you desire and it takes continued efforts to maintain. Not to say you can't experience immediate relief from practicing, you absolutely can. But, when I talk to most people about meditation, I often hear "I just can't," "my mind doesn't work that way," "I can't get myself to think about nothing," and the best one "it's impossible."
Hate to break it to you guys (jk actually STOKED to break it to you guys) but meditation is ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE, and for ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE. It's a fact. Your brain is not special. It is just as capable of slowing down as any modern mystic or saint is capable of going out and partying should they choose to do so.
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's start demystifying a few aspects of meditation so we can get over our fears and actually get started. Because trust me, it's going to be worth it!
Meditation - A work in Progress
First and foremost, meditation is and will always be a work in progress. Yes you can get stronger, and yes it does get easier, but there is no end goal with meditation which means, before we even get started, it's time to let yourself off the hook!
Come into your meditation practice with no expectations. It's not a challenge or an accomplishment to complete, it’s a constant flow, an experience, with no end. Even years into your practice you will find some days will just be easier than others, and that's okay!
You don't have to go it alone - Start Guided!
I almost exclusively meditate using guided meditations. This is of course a personal preference. I just have found in my own experience that sitting down and attempting to think about nothing is the surest way to open the floodgates to everything you don't want to be thinking about.
My favorite guided meditations are by Gabrielle Bernstein and Madeline Rinehart. Gabbi's meditation series on Spotify is diverse, short and sweet. Ranging from 4-10 minute meditations, it's easy to find one that fits your daily schedule, and how you are feeling that day! If you are feeling inspired, try and go for the longer meditations, but if you're really not feeling it, don't force it, a few minutes is always better than none!
Madeline Rinehart also has a whole lot of meditations on her YouTube, my favorite being her chakra series. This is a great place to start if you're feeling stuck in any part of your life! Getting the energy moving again internally, is what will create the shifts you want to see externally!
Benefits of Meditation
Where do I begin? Meditation has been known for contributing to decreased stress and anxiety, clarity of thought, clarity of purpose, self knowledge and awareness. Controlled breathing (“breath work“) alone has a whole list of health benefits. And then of course from a spirituality perspective, it can open up your entire world.
My Journey - How I Got Into Meditation & Why I LOVE IT
I first got into meditation through Power Yoga about three years ago. At the time I was struggling with severe anxiety, depression and alcoholism. I was in a very tough place and my hands would shake uncontrollably throughout the day. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I had allowed myself to get to such a low place, and it was becoming harder and harder to hide what I was going through.
I knew I had to make a change. So I started going to Power Yoga. The physically challenging nature of Power Yoga meant I pretty much exhausted my body and mind into a meditative state by the end of each class, which at the time was exactly what I needed.
Yoga and meditation showed me a clarity and peace that I had never known before. It helped me regain control of my thoughts, eliminating negative patterns of self hate, shame and anxiety, and replacing them with self love, motivation and joy.
For about a year and a half I danced between the highs and lows of overcoming my challenges with mental health, before reaching what I felt to be a break through. And then a year after that I experienced another break through. 2018 was a big year for me in the meditation and healthy living departments, and I can honestly thank meditation for helping me do a complete 180 with my life over the past few years.
To this day some mornings I meditate and feel super inspired and others I just can't wait to get on with my day, but I've learned to appreciate myself regardless! Just deciding to get quiet even for a few minutes is a beautiful accomplishment and will benefit you immensely both mentally and physically.
Everyone's Journey is Different
Most importantly remember, your journey is YOUR JOURNEY. There is no benefit that comes from comparing your meditation experience to others. Loving and accepting your journey is the surest way to fast track further breakthroughs and success. Also, meditation looks different for everyone. I love starting my day with a guided meditation, but running, hiking and riding my bike are all meditative experiences for me as well!
You just have to find what makes you feel most connected. And never forget it is and always will be a work in progress. There is no destination, only the journey, so you might as well enjoy the ride!