My journey in meditation
I always thought myself as a sensitive person.
I was the emotional type who was easily hurt.
My emotions sometimes engulfed me and I didn’t know where it all came from. It just seemed like it was coming from nowhere. Emotions controlled me.
I was studying Psychology during undergrad years (to helps others, but also to help myself!) and stumbled upon CBT, which led me to ACT, and then to Mindfulness-based practices.
While CBT sometimes felt very difficult to master, ACT and other mindfulness-based practice felt more compassionate and kinder in their approach; it was easier for me to stick to and actually apply it.
That’s how I got into mindfulness meditation. That was the first time I’ve really learned what meditation was.
Before then, I had this idea that only monks and secluded spiritual people did meditation. It was definitely not something that regular people did on a regular basis.
But when I learned about meditation and tried it out for myself (using guided meditation) it felt very natural and nurturing. It was an only time when I could stop doing and start being.
I could reflect, decompress, and seek refuge from the chaos of the outside world.
The thing is, it was great at first.
But my perfectionistic tendencies were coming out while I was meditating. Even in meditation, I would measure myself against the “standard” or rule of what it is like to be in a perfect mindful, “meditative” state.
If I didn’t feel calm or focused, I would feel bad about how I wasn’t doing well in meditation.
I noticed so many thoughts were popping up in my mind, bothering me and I couldn’t let them go! I thought it meant that I wasn’t doing it right.
I’m sure, monks don’t have thoughts while meditating, right? And I thought If I wasn’t doing it like a monk, then I would “fail.”
I couldn’t get my life straightened out, and now I couldn’t even get meditation..urgh.
These thoughts made it harder and harder to meditate. Why is meditating so hard? – I thought, while it was *me* who was making it hard.
No. The thing is I came to realize meditation is not about achieving a certain state.
It is a practice and a ritual.
It’s not like you reach this level and you’re done. You don’t go from A to B and then you’re finished.
Like brushing teeth, you do it because you want to be healthy and you want the rest of the day to be more fresh and clean.
With meditation, you’re not trying to affect how you feel during meditation.
You’re trying to pave the road for the rest of the day when you’re *not* meditating. What I mean by paving the road, is that meditation can make the rest of your day more mindful and peaceful.
You’re more centered and more focused.
So It doesn’t matter particularly how you felt during meditation.
But the fact that you sat down and took time to simply notice your thoughts and sensations is what matters.
Think about it: how many times do you actually consciously face your thoughts? Most times, thoughts just come and you become controlled by them or you just run away from them.
Meditation (mindfulness type) helps you be honestly close to yourself and allow you to be you (finally…after trying to make yourself become someone else!).
Realizing this, meditation became so much more easier and natural for me. There is no “achieving” or reaching a certain state.
It is just a simple practice where I notice and repeatedly come back to my breath. It’s not really that complicated.
Sometimes I notice my mind if crazier than other times, but that is just how it is. I note it and move on.
At some point, you learn that thoughts are really fickle, temporary, and random. Seriously.
They have nothing to do with who you are. They come and go, like clouds.
Welcome them when they come and let them go when they leave.
Featured image by Rocio Montoya