Why Meditate?

Why Meditate?

January 23, 2019

If you know me, or are a regular on this blog, you’ll have heard me mention and recommend mediation multiple times. But I realized that I rarely get into why I mediate. And yes, we’ve all heard that it enhances a sense of calm and presence, and other lovely outcomes, but our recent Virtual Speaker Series webinar with avid meditator and acclaimed yoga teacher Caley Alyssa inspired me to share the deeper essence of my meditation practice, and why it’s one of the most profound commitments in my life.

Honestly, meditation is the secret to my existence. If I didn’t rise much earlier in the morning than is comfortable, and settle into an intense connection with myself (even when I am feeling sleepy), I wouldn’t show up as the most authentic version of me throughout the day. When I skip this practice, the results aren’t great - irritations easily overwhelm me, I’m distracted, and in general, life stops flowing. I need meditation almost as much as I need air.

So that’s why I do it, that’s why I lovingly get myself out of bed when it’s still dark and feels like everyone else in the world is sleeping. I drink water, light a candle, sit, close my eyes and flow into my devotional practice.

I don’t see this practice as a to-do, I see it as a sacred time for me to be with myself and connect to a higher power, which is why my meditation includes a prayer and request that the presence of God move through me during the practice and throughout the day. It always feels like such a potent way to cultivate the sacredness of life – I can taste it and touch it as I sit in silence. And when that happens, when I tap into the grace, I feel an invitation to ask questions and can allow the answers to move through me. It’s pretty extraordinary.

"Success, happiness and a flow of prosperity are the result of mastering the mind." ~ Yogi Bhajan

But as dreamy as this may sound, there are days when I really don’t want to sit with my eyes closed for 1 hour and 15 minutes – I want to sleep, I want to do something else – but I don’t. I’ve made meditation an absolute must, not a casual to-do, so I push past the resistance. There are mornings when I tell myself “just get up and take one step at a time.” I do that through the breath, posture and movement. By the end of it, I am activated, connected in a deep way and ready to engage with life more than one more hour of sleep could ever give me.

Often, those days of resistance are when I feel spiritually high after my practice – it’s like the resistance heightened the residual reward. And then, a day that likely could have been filled with challenges and lethargy blossoms with magnetism, expansiveness and flow. That’s what keeps me getting out of bed, that’s what gives me the capacity to navigate all the projects I’m nurturing, that’s what energetically keeps it all moving forward and expanding.

Meditation has also powerfully served me when I’m ready to give up, when I think I can’t move forward, when I think I’m destined to fail – it reawakens my soul’s deep knowingness that I can do what I need to do to fulfill my purpose, that I can show up and become the person I need to be to attract the experiences I want and need.

"Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there - buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day." -Deepak Chopra

If you’re inspired to give it a try, here are various meditation-related gems of wisdom I’ve experienced throughout my many years exploring this ancient practice.

  • Gain fresh perspective. When we sit in meditation long enough, we often rise out of the human condition and receive a bird’s eye view of our life, giving us the perspective needed to decode how we can take action and transform.  
  • Remember the magic on the other side of the discomfort. We might be faced with our thorns during certain meditation sessions. These can be tricky to move through and push us to stop meditating. But when we can have compassion for ourselves in these moments, and stay committed to the practice, we can move past the thorns and discover magic on the other side.
  • Commit to spiritual hygiene. Caley Alyssa encourages individuals to view meditation as an act that’s as essential as brushing our teeth. We wouldn’t forfeit the health of our teeth just because we’re tired or unmotivated to brush them, so we need to refuse to forfeit the health of our mind and soul. Meditation is cleansing the subconscious. Cleaning the slate each and every day. Let’s commit to our mental and spiritual hygiene.
  • Unlock your greatness. When we’re stuck, need to free our creativity and innovative nature, or need to be splashed in the mind with inspiration, meditate. Then, grab a notebook, write it out and capture all of the sparkling goodness that flows from your mind.
  • Infuse your practice with your voice. Play around with using your voice during meditation through mantras and song. It’s common for many people to shy away from unconventional uses of the voice, which often ends up suppressing it in numerous ways. To ensure your voice is free to speak your truth with courage, find mantras to chant during your meditation practice and a song to sing at the end of it – one of my favorites is “Long Time Sun" by Snatam Kaur.

"Meditation is offering your genuine presence to yourself in every moment." -Thich Nhat Hanh

  • Discover your higher self. Meditation is like a portal to our spiritual existence – our higher self. If you’re feeling starved of spiritual nourishment, you don’t have to hibernate in an ashram for a year (as lovely as that might be) – all you have to do is meditate.
  • Breathe. If in doubt during meditation, just breathe. Some people feel nervous about what they’ll “do” during meditation, but really, all you have to do is breathe. As Yogi Bhajan says, “Master you breath, master your life… There is a myth that when you sit down you should be able to quiet the mind. The mind generates thousands of thoughts per second. When you sit quietly and turn the focus inward, you become very aware of what is going on in the background of your mind. Distractions are the rule. Just keep going back to the mantra or other points of focus (drishti - third eye or tip of the nose). Breathe - long, deep breathing. Do not evaluate or react to the extraneous thoughts. Let them be processed by the mantra. The mind never stops, but you can create stillness, a calm, which will serve you all through your life.”
  • Find an accountability partner. It’s a lot easier to shirk our meditation commitment when no one but ourselves is holding us accountable. Find a friend or family member who also wants to commit to a meditation practice and make a plan for checking in each day after your meditation practices.
  • Make a time commitment. Commit to a specific amount of days that you will meditate. Consistency pays off and the shifts are undeniable. My go-to is committing to 40 days of one particular meditation. I mark my calendar every day after the meditation. I keep going until I hit 40 days. After that, I keep usually keep going based on the results. Why not? The alternative is neurosis. No, thank you. Been there, done that. If you don’t currently have a regular meditation practice, but would like one, consider the human mind cycles outlined below. We can use various cycles to replace unwanted patterns of behavior with new, more positive ones. When meditating, it takes:
  • 40 days to change a habit
  • 90 days to confirm a new habit
  • 120 days for the new habit to become who you are
  • 1000 days to master the new habit

“Mediation is the art of breaking habits, to purify the mind and to take care of day to day things.” ~ Yogi Bhajan

So there it is, the life-changing magic of the practice that has transformed me, and infused my life with grace, ease, and serendipity. It lifted me out of a life of chaos and drama and helped me discover peace, coupled with the courage and wisdom to make revelatory changes. If you want dive deeper in a meditation practice you already have or you’re a beginner, check out the these resources:

If meditation is not already a part of your life, I recommend you give it a try. Because I truly believe, on a deep soul level, that it exists to help shape us into the people we came here to be.

If you’d like to explore how meditation can impact the realms of life purpose, relational communication, sexual intimacy and embodiment, join us for our upcoming Virtual Speaker Series LIVE webinar with John Wineland on Wednesday, February 6th at 6pm pst. John is a Los Angeles based relationship coach, speaker and teacher whose embodiment-driven teaching draws from over 30 years experience of his own Buddhist meditative practice, and 10 years of intensive study and practice with renowned Yogic Intimacy teacher, David Deida. Register here to confirm your spot. 

Dive in. Commit to yourself. Enjoy the ride. 

with love + respect,

 



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