Including a meditation practice as part of your lifestyle can significantly benefit your mental, physical, and spiritual health. But knowing these benefits is not a secret for anybody, still incorporating a regular meditation practice is rare. Why?
From my experience, meditation completely changed my life by promoting a change in me. And the shift was so significant that it can be called a personal transformation.
This blog post will share why I started with a meditation practice, how I began, the challenges I faced initially, and the changes I noticed once I practiced it regularly. If you are curious about starting your own practice but are still trying to figure out how to start, reading my story will inspire you to start immediately!
Why did I start practicing meditation?
It was a time in my life when I was in a really dark place. I felt trapped, not knowing how to escape from myself. I was living in a very toxic relationship; I managed very bad my stress, suffered from insomnia and perfectionism, and was regularly experiencing inner trouble. I constantly thought I was behind in life. Comparing my life and myself to others, thinking I was not good enough or lacked many attributes, was everyday thought.
Does this sounds familiar to you or somebody you know?.
To change the world (your own world), you must start by changing yourself.
I knew that if I wanted a better quality of life and relationship with myself and others, I needed to start focusing on something else that wasn’t my external world. And so it became urgent for me to find a pathway back to my true self. You know, the self who loves with no conditions and is judgment-free. The one who is in peace and lives in every one of us.
You experience your true self when you feel love, peace, expansion, wisdom, and connection with the whole. That part of you is eternal and connected with Source Energy. And it is present all the time. Meditation helps you remember who you really are. So practicing meditation becomes a great tool to experience more of this.
What led me to meditate was thinking, “If meditation has existed for thousands of years and still remains strong, there must be something exceptional with this.” And discovering what became my purpose at the time.
How did I begin meditating?
In the beginning, I needed to figure out what I was doing. I needed more guidance, and coming from a Western country where meditation practice is rare, getting some advice on starting was challenging. But as mostly everything, thank god the internet is full of online guided meditations. Like many, I started like that, which felt good and easy. I practiced one meditation per day, and I made this space mandatory. It was impressive noticing how my mind craved this space, what I called my magic hour.
The importance of community
After several months of doing this, I needed to find a community of people practicing meditation. That’s when I found Brahma Kumaris, a nonprofit organization from India that teaches Raj Yoga worldwide. They have a physical space where they teach practical and theory classes two times a week, so I started assisting. I learned a lot from them, and I really loved it! I met so many like-minded people. I practiced with them for months and even went to their weekend workshops whenever they offered one. It was a great experience because I could feel the power of sharing the same space with other people and enhancing the connection. Another practice I also started doing was movement meditation and Ecstatic Dance in a beautiful place called El Despertador once a week.
One important thing to mention here is that these days is so easy and accessible to join online meditation groups if you want to practice with others. One great advantage of living in our time!
Trying my own practice.
When I sat down to meditate without a guide telling me what to focus on, I felt so lost! My mind didn’t cool down, my body was itching, and I felt very uncomfortable. I read some books to better understand the practice. It helped. But mostly, the understanding came with my daily practice as a personal commitment. So for one entire year, I sat silently for 10-30 minutes daily.
While you are sitting down trying to meditate, you allow whatever arises at the moment to be there. You witness events inside and outside of you, thoughts, sensations, and/or any emotion. And by only witnessing, they can be there without the filter of judgment, or classify it as good or bad, liked or unliked. Off course, it is much easier to say than do it. That’s why it can take a lifetime of practice to reach this non-judgemental state of being.
Returning to my story, I noticed a little gap between my train of thought during my practice, meaning I was disengaging with them. I started noticing how I could be in the witness position I described previously more efficiently, letting go of the history around the thought or feeling and liberating control. I saw how my body felt more comfortable during the practice and could relax more. I could experience how my focus was getting better during the practice. My connection with my breath was sharper, making me go deeper into the present moment. Also, the time during my practice started passing faster, or it wasn’t even in my mind.
Which changes did I notice outside the practice?
I was a calmer person. I noticed a gap between any stimulus and my response to it (meaning I could see I could always choose to act and not only to react). I started letting go of the illusion of control and trusting more in life and my own. I started not taking things so personally from others. Also, people around me began noticing me calmer, more aware, present, and even happier. I start experiencing much more love and connection around me.
Pretty awesome, ha?
It is essential to clarify that the process was not linear. Like everything, there are better days than others, but all of them are equally necessary.
Challenges during Meditation
There were days when I felt so physically, mentally, and emotionally uncomfortable that it made my practice all the contrary to something blissful. I often criticized my thoughts, thinking things like: really, Pia? You are so stupid!. Why can I not even concentrate? My back hurts, and it does not let me focus. Why is my mind so stubborn?! I suck at this! And so on… So, believe me, I understand completely when this happens to you too. As part of your practice, you must learn to relinquish control and have more compassion for yourself.
Having dark and critical thoughts about yourself and your practice is ubiquitous. It is common to think it is not working out. It is regular to not see any advances in the practice. But like everything else in life, practice makes the master. To master this inner game, you must practice, practice, and practice. Put the miles on; it’s the only way!. And also, there are many ways to make this practice easier, like calming your mind and body through breathing, movement, or using the senses (like the smell). So yeah, it is a long way toward healing, my dear beautiful friend!
I got hooked!
After this, I just got hooked! Today it has passed 6 years since I started the practice regularly. I traveled to India to study meditation and became a certified meditation teacher. Today I love to teach meditation to my students through coaching and workshops.
It has been the most beautiful, crazy, heavy & never-ending journey filled with ups and down toward my true self. Meditation is a personal experience, and it might be very different from one another. But anything that makes you closer to your inner peace and to Source Energy is worth it.
I would love to know about your experience with meditation. I hear you in the comment below!
With love and care,