“It feels good. Kinda like when you have to shut your computer down, just sometimes when it goes crazy, you just shut it down and when you turn it on, it’s okay again. That’s what meditation is to me.” – Ellen DeGeneres
My commitment to meditation began four years ago in a therapist’s office. I was overwhelmed, anxious, and wasn’t sure how to lessen the insistent pressure I was putting on myself to perform. I was putty in her hands and willing to do whatever she recommended.
I experimented with meditation through running and yoga and discovered peace with mindful movement of my body but, when I sat with intention to clear my mind, I struggled.
My therapist recommended a website called Calm. I had tried Headspace previously and liked it. Plus, like I said before, I was up for trying a new approach.
Over time, the combination of meditation, therapy, and reflection through writing of my accomplishments brought lightness and confidence. Meditation gave me a tool that I could use anytime, anywhere.
Months later, I started using an app called Simple Habit. I took a beginning meditation series that held the key to me understanding meditation. I learned that the act of meditating does not have a goal of clearing thoughts; if anything, it’s the opposite.
Meditation is allowing thoughts to continue while focusing on the breath, a guide (in a guided meditation), or a word or phrase. Once I learned this, I felt as if I had been released from the box of what I thought meditation was.
I have a regular meditation practice today and know more space, patience, and focus with it than I did without it. I either use a 5+ minute guided meditation on an app like Insight Timer, Simple Habit, Headspace, or Calm or I use a timer, a YouTube meditation, or peaceful music.
I’m currently reading Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive. In it, she says that well-being practices are becoming part of our working culture. She says, “about 35 percent of large and mid-size U.S. employers offer some sort of stress-reduction program.” These programs are in the form of free yoga, paid volunteering, healthy meals, meditation rooms, natural light, adjustable-height desks, and paid meditation classes.
If you find that you need space, crave calm, and want to give yourself a break from pressure, give yourself a gift and try meditation.