I’ve practiced meditation for more than a decade as part of my ongoing quest to cultivate wellness, vitality and spiritual fulfillment. It has always kept me fairly balanced and calm. That being said, I haven’t practiced much since the middle of 2016. The past year has had some very stressful months and I didn’t do a good job of managing my life. When my husband’s best friend died suddenly in December, I knew it was time to make a concerted effort to focus on my own personal wellbeing and health.
I miss the days where I was meditating on regular basis and for an extended period of time. My meditation practice took a long time to develop and I forgot how hard it was to get myself to the point where I was meditating daily for extended periods. I thought restarting my practice would be as simple as getting my zafu out, lighting an incense cone and going straight into an hour-long session where my breath would flow gently and easily.
I thought wrong.
Thoughts on Meditation and Life
My meditation practice lacks focus. My mind jumps to and fro. I have had days where I feel like I won’t make it through 60 seconds let alone 60 minutes. Quite frankly, there have been times I’ve wanted to give up and turn my back on something that not only makes me feel good, but is also good for me.
I would say I don’t know why I stopped, but I think I do know why. I thought I was too busy to take time out of my day and spend it on me. If I look even more deeply, I’ve been doing that for a long time and this is about more than meditation.
Not only have I have fallen into the trap where I have stopped doing something I love, but if I’m being honest with myself, also never fully started doing things I love because I think I lack the time. Or I think it’s selfish to do those things I want to do. Or I let my own raging imposter syndrome prevent me from doing what I want to do. Or I compare myself to others and think that “well, they’re doing this well, so there is no way I can do this” and I don’t get to stop what I’m doing, because I never start. Sure there’ll be days where I can’t live my ideal day. In fact, most days aren’t going to resemble my vision of an ideal day. But I can find bits and pieces of that one ideal day in every day.
Part of this whole line of thinking might be me looking back to how I was raised. I’m not sure anyone in family actually takes time out of their day to do things they love. I’m talking about the things that fuels them emotionally, creatively, or spiritually. That makes me really sad. After all, we should do things that make us feel joy. That make us feel gratitude. That make us feel alive.
I feel selfish taking time to do the creative work that feeds my internal fire. Selfish and guilty. Never have I also felt more like a narcissitic martyr than when making that statement. When I work on the work that fuels me, the work no one sees, I am alive. My skin is electric and my scalp tingles. Yet, I deny myself the pleasure of this work.
What you do outside “paid” work is just as significant for your work-productivity as what you do while you are working. When we’re children, our parents make up games to teach us things we look back on as simple: learning our ABC’s or the parts of our body. Play in our everyday life as adults should be just as significant.
Taking time to do the things we love and immersing ourselves into them is just as important as hard work. It is hard work. Ignoring the things we love and that brings us immense joy is detrimental to our mental health and wellness.
I’ve had to learn that lesson the hard way and I struggle with it everyday. But, I’m working on it. The work is some of the most difficult I’ve ever done, this personal work in the quest to be a better person to the people I meet in daily life, the people I love and live with, but also to me. I’ll be working on it for the rest of my life.
My friend Allan says that you have to face your fears and it’s until you truly give yourself over to fear and embrace it that you can truly start living. It’s time I listen to my friend and take a chance on me by staring down failure and welcoming it into my life. I owe it to myself.
Books On Meditation:
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