I’m not going to give you a sob story about why I turned to meditation. So many of us come up against anxiety at some point in our lives. Of wondering what the purpose of this all is. I’m not different or special..but it still surprises me how little people are taught about meditation. That with all the evidence of how much it can help our minds and bodies, it isn’t used more in schools (some forward thinking ones do use it which makes my heart happy, and want to move to that town for Josh’s schooling right now!).
So many people tell me they might try it one day. Some of you might be looking into it because it’s the start of a new year. So I thought I’d explain how it felt to start, as best I can because it is hard to put into words and not sound like a total w*nker.
The benefits of meditation are huge but at the beginning…well you can wonder what it’s all about. I did. I sat there, pretty ocean sounds in the back ground, incense stick burning, trying to imagine the thoughts floating out of my mind…and nothing. Yes it had been nice to sit still for 5 minutes but I didn’t feel the point. The yummy feelings others talked about. My mind clearing and focusing on “my purpose”.
I carried on about 6 months like that. Dipping in and out of it. Feeling it was a challenge now, of reaching this amazing space in my mind others had found.
It wasn’t until one day I meditated without trying that it worked. Without doing it “properly”. No burning herbs and flowers, no trying not to think. It was 5am in the morning. I was up because it was the only way I would get any work done with no childcare yet. I’d written my to do list and sat with a cup of tea on the step of the patio doors, facing into the garden. It was chilly so I wrapped my grey wooly blanket around my shoulders, but the sun was coming up, peeking around the house starting to warm the world.
I didn’t bother with music. Just sat and watched the trees. Let myself day dream. Then closed my eyes and thought of a question I had been worrying about around Josh. I relaxed and asked what I should do. It sounds totally crazy, but I began to feel lighter. The answer started to float before my closed eyes. I started to feel held, comforted, not physically but in my heart.
From that day on I tried to meditate at least every few days and every time it worked. It was like a switch had been flicked. Not always meditating on a question. If only answers came so easily about life!
Here’s some of the tips I’d suggest if you want to start
Just taking time to balance myself out in this crazy digital world we now live in. To listen to my body, my mind, without the noise of people, phones, chores, cars…everything. I started to react calmer in day to day situations the anxiety lifted. I did things I never imagined I would do before like go to group events on my own in London. Strike conversations with strangers at toddler activities. I was still shy and nervous but I had an inner calm (I know it sounds wanky saying that term but it’s true) that told me I was still okay even if the situation didn’t work out so well. It didn’t matter, as it was just a drop in the ocean really. Life was bigger than that one situation.
After the IVF I stopped.
Meditation makes you look into yourself. I didn’t want to face was I was feeling. It felt dark and scary in there and I wasn’t interested. To survive and be a good mum to Josh I needed to bury it for now.
Tonight, over a month on, I’ve meditated. I’ve been thinking about doing it the last few days but was worried about how it would feel. That emotionally it would hurt. But it didn’t. I guess it was just the right time now. I spent 10 frustrating minutes wondering if I would be able to make it work for me again. Nothing was happening. I was getting bored and finding it hard not to “try”. Eventually, my mind started to lift. I started to calm. I started to feel that connection…at last. And it felt good. Not scary. Like a hug to my heart. It was back.
And then the bell to mark the end of the meditation music rang and it was gone.
But I felt calm because I knew it was back. That light feeling and that I could find it when I needed. That just because my emotions aren’t sure how they feel right now, my spirit is calm. It’s doing okay. It’s been through a loss but it knows it’s going to be okay somehow.
So if you’ve ever thought of trying meditation, please don’t give up. It comes in the end. It takes time for the switch to work but when it does it will be worth it. It can open you up to a whole new world.
It’s something I plan to teach my son. Something I wish everyone was taught because it does make a difference.
If you are starting out, try Deepak Chopras channel to start with. He has some thoughtful guided meditations that help give you food for thought afterwards. During the quiet parts, don’t worry if you are feeling bored, or frustrated. It’s not right or wrong. It’s just practice. You’ll find out why it’s worth persistence when you get there. Good luck