It was 20 years ago I was first introduced to meditation while on internship at the University of Miami cancer center. I was required to attend daily meditation over the noon hour. At first, all I noticed was my racing mind, impatience, and annoyance that I wasn’t spending my lunch break in the warm sun. Within a few weeks, however, I began to settle and by the end of my month, it was the most important thing I had learned. I took my newfound interest back to my small college in MN and told my professor I wanted to start a meditation group on campus. My professor humored me, and gave me a small space in the back of the psychology lab and for a semester a small group of 3 explored the amazing power of meditation.
I’d love to tell you I stuck with it, but life happened….graduate school, marriage, kids, jobs. Sure, I “dabbled” in it from time to time and certainly believed in it, but never made a daily commitment. About 2 years ago following some life challenges, I returned to it in a committed and consistent way. I now get up every morning and sit for 20 minutes. Just like brushing my teeth, I don’t miss a day. While I’m sitting, it doesn’t feel magical, or transformative, or even useful. Instead, I watch my mind get attached to experiences from the past, plan my schedule for the day, perseverate, and worry. There are small moments of grace – periods of seconds where it’s just me and my breath, or when I notice my body relaxed yet expanded, but those times are fleeting.
So if I only experience seconds (and some days those seconds don’t even show up) of contentment, why am I doing it everyday? Because the rest of my day and life has vastly improved. I’m more clear in my work, I can better manage the intricacies of balancing 3 kids and 2 jobs, I have more compassion for myself which translates to more kindness for others, and the most profound gift – a deep sense that I am okay, no matter the challenge or crisis. I am okay.
The research is established touting the benefits of meditation. (Click here for a brief video from Deepak Chopra.) Stress is a key player in all our lives. Here is a tool that will significantly change your life. What are you waiting for?