Recently, I started thinking about the first time, I meditated, and it bought up a host of memories for me. Such an interesting journey it has been for me, and I wanted to share a bit of it with you. Hopefully, you will find it interesting, enlightening, and engaging.
I did my first meditation session when I did my Yoga Teacher Training in 2011 in Toronto. One of our instructors would sit us down in a tiny closed off room, with the lights dimmed down, and guide us through a brief meditation, perhaps, 15 or 20 minutes. I remember the feeling of sitting down, and having nothing to do. Sitting down, and being able to think of nothing. Really being in my body, and feeling every corpuscle of it. It was absolutely amazing.
When my teacher training finished, I wanted to continue on with it, and so I searched for some music that I could play, and I downloaded it and burned it onto this CD. I don’t remember now what song it was, or who was singing. But I remember that there was a didgeridoo playing, which was an interesting experience in itself.
My First Meditation Streak Happened In A Car
This is how I meditated then. I started work at 830am at this office in uptown Toronto, so I would drive in 30 minutes early, at around 8am, park my car in the secluded part of the parking lot, lock my doors, switch off the car, sit in the freezing car, cross legged in the drivers’ seat, switch on the music, close my eyes, and meditate.
I didn’t really know what I was doing. Seriously, I had no idea.
All I knew was to focus on the music. I didn’t use my breath too much, because I couldn’t really focus that way. Instead, I focused on the music, and every time, I got distracted, which happened quite often, I bought myself back. Over and over and over again.
That was basically my meditation session. Ah, and I also had a rule for myself that I wouldn’t scratch a itch or move a single muscle while I was in the meditation session.
Thus, I practiced every day before work, and on the weekends, I think I skipped my practice.
I Kept On Going Because I Noticed A Difference
Now that I look back at it, it seems like such an insane way to start. There was absolutely no guidance. I had no idea what I was doing. All I knew was that it made me feel good.
Less stressed out, freaking out less, yelling less, throwing less tantrums, and sleeping better, eating better, and being a better person overall.
There were so many other ways in which I changed slowly but surely. But I wouldn’t have kept up with it, if I hadn’t seen such changes. It was a pain in the arse to wake up 30 minutes early every morning to fit this meditation practice in. In fact, a lot of mornings, my bed and the coziness and warmth of it, seemed much more enticing than a 30 minute session.
But I knew for a fact that I was a grumpy bitch on the days that I didn’t meditate. It was like clockwork. If I didn’t meditate, I was angry, mean, prone to fits and tantrums, and a generally nasty person to be around. But if I meditated, I was serene, calm, and Goddess-like.
I Started Smiling More And My Face Changed
After my car streak ended, because I quit my job, I moved to meditating on the couch. I had these Binaural beats YouTube videos that I used to listen to.
Every morning, I would sit down crosslegged on my bed at my parent’s house, or the couch at my ex’s house. I would close my eyes, then let my mind calm down. I would try to focus my attention on all of the different noises that were around, or my breath, or the sensations in my body. I would stop myself from getting distracted by all of the stories in my head, and come back over and over again to myself, to my breath, and to the present moment.
It was fascinating to me to notice how my mind changed as a result of the meditation practice.
I started smiling more often. In fact, I would catch myself smiling with no reason, just randomly. I started humming to myself more often, and singing, and dancing randomly in the middle of the day. I was happier. I was always a positive person, but I became an even more positive person than before.
And my mother told me that my face changed. I guess, I had been carrying stress in my body or in my face, and it released as a result of the meditation sessions. My face became softer, started looking younger, and more serene.
I still surprise people when I tell them I’m 34, because they always assume I am 22 or at least in my twenties.
The Calm App Came And Was A Game Changer
Now, you have to understand that at the time, I was meditating every day or almost every day, in 2011, meditation wasn’t still so popular and common as it is now. People weren’t as open to it as they are now. I had really no one to speak to about this stuff.
I was mostly doing my practice in complete isolation. Also, because I was afraid to talk to anyone about it. I was afraid they would make fun of me, or think I am crazy. And I myself wondered if I was insane for thinking sitting down cross-legged for a few minutes a day and focusing on your breath, could really cause such a difference in my life.
But, I kept on going with it, on my own.
All of a sudden, meditation was pushed onto the mainstream scene. Everyone was talking about it, and creating courses for it, and doing it in their bedrooms, cars, and commutes.
It was an interesting time to see meditation grow. I was still doing my own practice, but I was curious, and I tried out the Calm App. It is definitely one of my favourite apps to use to meditate.
A lot of times, I do meditate in silence, but when I do want someone to guide me, I do love using the app, and the soothing voice of the main woman who has such a soothing voice.
I Have Had Streaks And I Have Fallen Off The Wagon
When people ask me how I have been able to meditate for so long, I tell them only one thing. Meditation is a part of me now. My practice is my life. It is as important to me as breathing, or eating, or sleeping, or water. It is essential, crucial, imperative for me to meditate every single day. Without it, I am a zombie, a shell, a mandrake.
I need it.
I want it.
And I shall have it every single day. If the only thing I do every single day is meditate, I would consider those days to be successful, and full of life. Meditation has given me so much that I cannot even begin to outline all of the benefits, and joys of it. Most of the effects of it are intangible, and that’s why, I can’t really talk about it with people.
But also, meditation to me is a practice. I will stick with it until I die. But I will have good days and bad days. On the good days, I have a great meditation session, with a strong powerful focused meditation, and almost no distractions. On the bad days, I have a really terrible meditation session, with distractions galore, and a twitching body, I cannot control.
So I go back and forth. And I realize that it is a normal part of being on this journey. I am not looking for perfectionism. I am not looking for enlightenment.
Just to do the practice as much as possible, and to keep on going, on this self-improvement journey, without fail.
I Have Been Told That I Look And Sound Like I Have Done Work On Myself
It’s interesting to me, to see the differences in me, as time goes on. I can see myself growing more confidence, and calm, and content with life. But I do wonder sometimes if the people on the outside see that.
It’s not, obviously, about that. But, I have had people come up to me, randomly, out of the blue, and tell me, that it looks and feels like I have done a lot of work upon myself, from within myself.
Sometimes these are strangers off the street, who see me smiling to myself, or displaying some patience, that I didn’t even know I was capable of.
And sometimes, it is people I have known for a while, that I have seen over the years, and who have seen me grow through the years. They look at me, and they say I seem different. Not just in physical appearance as I have grown older. But also from the inside out.
It is always so gratifying to get these comments from people, because it confirms to me that the changes that I am seeing, are translating into the relationships that I have with the loved ones in my life and the relationships I have with other random people.
Everything is interconnected, and this just emphasizes that fact.
Loving Myself No Matter What – That Has Been Meditation’s Greatest Gift
One of the main reasons, I want people to start meditating when they are children, is because the transition period from being a child to a teenager, and into adulthood can be terrifying, and filled with hardships. But, if you are able to use the joys of meditation to make yourself stronger from within, than none of that turbulence can affect you.
You can become that eye within the storm. Calm and untouchable.
People ask me this one question all the time – what’s the biggest thing that meditation has helped you with. I always say the same thing. My belief in myself. My love for myself. Self-efficacy, self-love, and self-determination – they have all grown by leaps and bounds due to my meditation practice.
I have more clarity in who I am, and instead of making me hate myself (for being imperfect), it has made me love me even more, flaws and all. My path is clearer to me as well, in that, I don’t worry about the path as much, as taking it day to day, moment to moment.
I used to be the kind of person who could barely bear to look at herself in the mirror, because she despised herself so much. But now, I’m happy to say that is quite the opposite. I roam around naked with the best of them, no fear, no shame, and no admonitions.
I Am Not Saying My Life Is Perfect – But Damn Near Close To It
You might get the mistaken understanding that I am saying my life is perfect, and there’s nothing more left for me to do. I can just zoom off into space, and get over this life business.
But that’s definitely not the case. Not the case at all. Not even close.
Perfection is a steep hill to climb, and mostly an unreachable summit. But I can say happily that I am living very close to my ideal life at the moment, and it has to be because of the amazing work meditation has allowed me to do on myself.
I am so grateful for all of this time that this life has allowed me to sit on my bum, and meditate. Not many people have the luxury of time to be able to meditate like I have. I am lucky to be able to do that.
This time has given me so much. I think that’s one of the reasons I have become such a major proponent of meditation, and getting it to as many people as possible.
My hope is that if I share my story of the journey through imperfections and ignorance, to where I am right now, I will be able to entice you to at least start the meditation practice on your own.
The thing with meditation is that it is self-fulfilling prophecy – the more you do it, the more you notice yourself improve, the more you want to do it. Or at least that’s how it has worked for everyone that I know who meditates.
I Want You To Start Meditating Now – At Least Start, That’s All
I have gotten so much from the practice of meditation that I want you to get the same from it. All I want you to do after reading this post is to do one meditation practice. Or seven. Or ten. Just start. You will notice such an immense change in your brain, your thinking patterns, your neural pathways, and even your spirit, that you will get addicted to meditation.
I just know it.
Or I am hoping it.
Either way, make a promise to me now. Try it once. At least once. Even if you hate it, at least you will have tried it once, and that’s all I want you guys to do right now. Because the magic is there for you to experience, but you have to sit down every single day and tap into it.
It doesn’t come to those who wait. But to those who sit and observe their breath.
Hopefully, you will take me up on this, and start this journey, soon. I love you all, and hope the very best for you.