As the clock approached midnight last night, my girlfriend asked me what was my biggest accomplishment of 2015. To me, the answer to the question came quickly: starting (and maintaining) my regular meditation practice was my most ground breaking achievement. As we enter 2016, to date I have completed 98 straight days, clocking up over 48 hours of meditation, averaging 1.4 sessions a day… The stats go on thanks to my ‘insight timer‘ on my I-phone … 🙂
I remember first writing about this topic when I was 3 weeks into the new programme. I also wrote a deeper piece elaborating first hand on one of my experiences of meditation. For now then, as we start the new year, I thought it would be appropriate to put it all together.
It’s now been 3 months and I look back at this period with curious insight – the benefits of meditation are easy to find. Just Google it and you will find ‘reducing stress’, ‘sleep better’, ‘improve immunity’…sounds like a perfect tonic for today’s modern twenty-first living – a cure for all the world’s ills, just like placing a band-aid over an open wound. Yet the one thing that they won’t tell you about meditation is that…it’s very personal. A practice so personal it is difficult for me to describe exactly how I feel, but let’s have a go….
They won’t tell you that developing a regular meditation practice will transform the subtle ways in which you see and feel the world, as if being on a different cosmic plane at times as the world goes by.
They won’t tell you that meditation may gently shift and release some of the habits stored in your unconscious that no longer serve you.
They won’t tell you that you will look at your anxiety in a completely different way to the point that you realise that the cause of your anxiety is actually you.
They also won’t tell you that by simply meditating, you may develop greater spiritual awareness of the part you play in this world: The mountains, the trees, the sea, the sky…. nature, they are all part of us – as we breathe, so does the world breathe too.. I joke with my girlfriend from time to time that I would like to go sit in a cave somewhere and meditate, for which I receive kind and curious looks. I’m sure she would be just fine without me for a while. 🙂
Of course it’s all full well for me to say all this. Simply sitting down and starting to meditate without thinking twice about it is probably going to end up like most new year’s resolutions…in failure. You have to want to change, you have to want it so badly, that you make it part of your daily routine, without missing a beat. You also have to realise that the sum of your intensity and efforts needs to be greater than your resistance; and you will resist, believe me. I for one really wanted to change and now I have formed a new habit in my life. Without that conviction, I wouldn’t have made it. Meditation has been that catalyst, the rest is up to you and how much you want it.
I must say I have to thank Maggie for putting me on this path, for without her open suggestion of simply trying meditation, I’m not sure I would’ve shown the dedication to change. I had been a part-time meditator for years, but am now a full-time one after our sessions. I must admit, it did take the third meeting for it to finally click, but I guess we are all human and a little bit sceptical, especially when you know of so many clichés these days, as propagated by the internet.
So happy 2016 to all and may it be one blessed with love, light, and perhaps even a little meditation.
Ps I must credit some of the inspiration for this post from this year’s fantastic new year’s day yoga workshop I attended with Zephyr Wildman at the Life Centre in Notting Hill. As I posted this time last year, new year is a time of reflection, setting your intentions (and also your perceptions of who you really are) for the new year. Some of the thoughts and themes from the workshop were inspirational. Thank you Zephyr! I thought you were very brave and courageous with the message you wanted to deliver today.