Most people are familiar with the many benefits of meditation such as stress reduction, better sleep, lowered blood pressure, balanced emotions, greater self-awareness & empathy. I’d like to share with you how meditation changed my life. I hope that my story can inspire you to start meditating too!
My teacher, Sarah Powers, is fond of saying that people turn to meditation when they are utterly sick of themselves. They commit to the practice when they realize that their habitual ways of being are getting them nowhere in life. Meditation, especially Vipassana or Insight Meditation, shows us where disharmony exists in our lives. It gives us tools to pull us up and out of our personal mess.
How I Was Introduced To Meditation
If you really want to know more about my personal mess, you can read my original post on my introduction to meditation. Basically, I had a really difficult time obtaining my college education and racked up considerable credit card debt. I adopted really bad lifestyle habits and endured several shallow, heartbreaking relationships. Despite all that, I was doing really well in my full-time job. I placed all my energy there, and it’s where I received the most help.
My supervisor suggested that I attend an “Intro to Meditation” workshop my co-workers were having after hours. I remember feeling self-conscious. I noticed that everyone was at least 10 years older than I, and wondering why in the world she thought to include me. But I respected her immensely and opened my mind fully to the experience.
Mindfulness ~ A Sensual Experience
What happened next, was not what I expected. I thought we would just sit as still as possible and try to empty our minds.
Instead, the instructor invited us to pick up a single raisin from many that she had on the tray. First, we described the raisin to each other. We noted it’s size, it’s texture, it’s color, and it’s smell. Then we let our mouths salivate. We chewed the raisin, tasted it, felt the change in it’s structure as it turned to liquid, and swallowed the syrupy goodness. Our senses were alive and these simple details became important as we put them in the foreground of our awareness.
I experienced a raisin as I never had before! And I appreciated my body for the pleasure of it’s sweet taste. Then it occurred to me: if I had overlooked the simple details of eating, what else was I missing in life?
As I was mindfully eating the raisin, I was calm, focused, and felt less shy when we shared in the group afterwards. Somehow I had tapped into a well of confidence and felt a greater connection to the people in the group. It didn’t matter anymore that these people were older than me, different from me.
How Meditation Changed My Life
This seed of experience was planted in my consciousness long ago. It took many more years of hardship before I really understood how meditation could help me. It was around the time I started practicing yoga too, when meditation became a larger part of my life.
I immersed myself in the practice and found my teachers. At that point, compassion, patience, and understanding replaced the desperation, self-loathing, and worry that I clung to as a young adult.
Eventually I discovered my life purpose as an alternative health practitioner & educator. I now have a healthy relationship with money. It flows into my life easily. I give it freely to people and causes that I value without feeling any loss. I have a loving, respectful relationship with my husband and we have the most beautiful, inquisitive child. I’m aware when stress builds in my body and have natural, healthy ways to relieve it.
The Place of Meditation In My Life Now
Of course that’s not the end of my story! Life is not always rainbows and roses. I will never be “done” with this inner journey as long as I’m alive.
It’s still hard to prioritize a formal sitting practice when I have so many other obligations. But even just mindfully sitting a few minutes here and there helps. When I’m overly reactive to things happening around me, when relationships with friends feel strained, or I’m feeling unsatisfied in my business, I can usually trace it back to a disconnection in my inner life. This then helps me reprioritize meditation. And I do this over, and over, and over.
I am so grateful for this practice. Meditation changed my life by connecting me to consciousness in a deep and meaningful way.
If you’re feeling inspired to begin a meditation practice but don’t know where to start, check out my website’s Yoga & Meditation page. There are several guided meditations, all approximately 15 minutes, that can help get you started.
If you like this article and the meditations, please share this resource with your friends! I’d love to hear how you’re doing with them in the comments too! Well wishes to you…