Meditation has been banded around now for a while as a cure-all for a lot of conditions, but does it really hold up to the hype?
Whilst a lot of research backs up this theory I can only offer my own story as a way of inspiration .
My first experience with meditation was gifted to me on a cassette player at a Mind, Body, Spirit festival. My university housemates and I darkened our living room, got comfortable and hit play.
Instead of the light and wonderful experience I was expecting, an overwhelming darkness hit me. In start contrast, my housemates loved the it. I decided meditation was a terrible idea and ditched it for another 10 years.
My next touch point was a book and accompanying CD gifted by a friend. I trusted this friends judgement and gave them both a go. The concepts and practice seemed simple enough to see me complete the exercises. This gave me a rudimentary insight that had quite a major impact on my relationship at the time.
Maybe, there was something of value in this?
Next I was recommended to attend a course to make me a better Mind Detox practitioner. I was keen to be good at my job, so I attended the 2 day experience. The familiar darkness was present again, but this time I let it be there and continued meditating. That course definitely had a huge impact on me, yet still I was a reluctant convert!
Next, I started to see how useful meditation would be for my clients, so I set up and led a group in Tunbridge Wells. We met fortnightly and followed guided meditations from YouTube. Meditating in a group really hit the spot for me, I definitely noticed a difference after. I could go in stressed about something and come out feeling like it wasn't a problem at all. I decided it was time to become a fully fledged teacher and completed a three year training course to become qualified.
Then the pandemic hit. Everything moved online and so did I. I invited students from all the courses I'd run and we started meeting weekly. We explored different aspects of what meditation can do for us. From addressing anger to facilitating focus and meditating for health, we found new and interesting ways to make meditation real and relevant to our day to day lives.
Now it's a highlight of the week. It's a wonderful group of people that choose to heal themselves and start the week positively.
I marvel each week at where I started on this journey and where I am now. I understand the darkness that 20 year old me experienced as a reflection of my state and health at the time. Now I know that I don't need to run from such experiences, and wonderful healing happens when I am ok with it being present.
Looking back, finding meditation so hard has made me a better, more rounded teacher. I understand how meditation can feel scary and unpleasant at first, because I have been there. I also know that with perseverance and the right guidance that difficult beginnings can be overcome, and great benefits can be gained!
Now, I enjoy meditation for it's calming, centering and cleansing benefits. I have healed much trauma with the help of meditation and thought better of many a rash, knee-jerk decision. It's my go-to if I want guidance on something and a big part of my work helping others.
It's my experience that meditation is an incredibly personal journey to everyone, and that's the beauty of it. It's each of our journeys - unique in the ways we are - and in no way predictable.
I would love to hear about your experiences with meditation. Do you love it? Or do you find it harder than you think it should be? I would love to know what having a meditation practice has shown you!