i’m conflicted about sharing this online, but over the last few months friends have told me it’s inspiring…so, today i’m celebrating 500 consecutive days of meditation! And for 10 months I’ve been doing an hour of meditation almost every morning.
i’m not sure exactly when my journey with meditation began…18 years ago when i started reading about it & tried it a few times “but nothing happened”, or 11 years ago when i did my first 10 day Vipassana retreat (a meditation bootcamp of 16 hours daily meditation practice)?
Thanks to the awesome Insight Timer App, i got back into it as a regular practice ~ & am able to boast on facebook & blogs with a screenshot as proof 🤣🤣🤣
Last year was a difficult year for me. After “graduating” from a fantastic 6 year relationship, i fell into a kind of existential crisis, “who am i & where do i fit into the world?” which i realise is normal after so long identifying as his partner.
i thought back to how happy i was before getting together with Antoine – crying most days from the ecstasy of being alive – versus where i was on the other side of the relationship – unclear, sad & lost. i started searching for the differences between my daily life then, compared to now. i realised that 6 years earlier i’d had a consistent, daily meditation practice.
So i plonked my arse on the floor, crossed my legs & began to watch my breath, as the noisy thoughts erupted all over my stream of consciousness. i was back in meditation land!
If it hadn’t worked so well, i’d say that it’s embarrassing that i started meditating for gold stars on a phone screen. The free app Insight Timer, allows you to set a beautiful sounding timer (like a singing bowl or gong) to mark the end of your meditation. i adore this compared to the other option of ending with a standard iPhone alarm or constantly peaking open my eyes to check a clock.
Plus, for each 10 days of consistent meditation you get a gold star. It also tracks the number of minutes you meditate & you can check your stats. In the first couple of months of getting back into my regular practice, this prevented the temptation of skipping days when my mind told me it REALLY didn’t want to meditate & gave me a whole list of other ‘better’ things to do. Massive bow of gratitude to Insight Timer! (They also have good, free guided meditations. But if you’re totally new to meditation, then i recommend starting with Headspace, which is absolutely EPIC for beginners.)
One benefit i experience from having a consistent meditation practice, is the ability to observe what’s unfolding in my life (the good, the bad & the ugly) with a greater detachment to the outcome.
A couple of months ago, things were really financially precarious. Rather than being lost, spinning out of control in the reaction-based dramas created by the mind (trying to help prepare me for the worst-case scenarios)…i found myself *observing* the stress that arose in my body, the fearful emotions & panic-laden thoughts.
i went through the experience, which lasted for about 6 weeks, with a sense of trust & curiosity. And i don’t mean in the hour a day I was sitting in meditation, but rather throughout the day, i was saying to the mind “It’s okay. We’re safe. Let’s find out what happens next.”. I felt peaceful, centred & secure.
If i could dispel one meditation myth, it would be “Meditation means having no thoughts”. It took me ages to get over this! For years i believed i was “doing it wrong” & “still such a beginner” because there was still a barrage of thoughts bombing from my brain.
Now i realise it’s more about observing the thoughts, without reacting or getting entangled in them.
If you’re interested in getting into meditation check out one of these fantastic Apps (there’s enough freebies on them both):
Got a meditation practice, but looking to make it more consistent? Try: insighttimer.com
Want to learn how to meditate? (Hint: DO IT!) This is the App i wish had existed in 2001 when i was trying to learn from books:www.headspace.com