Part 1 - Laying the foundation of transformation
I started meditating many years ago. However, I can’t say that I really practiced it until about 5 years ago. I was a dabbler. I would participate in meditation sessions when on a retreat or when I attended various workshops. And I always enjoyed the experience. Closing my eyes, following my breath, listening to the instructor lead us through various guided meditation exercises. While I couldn’t always visualize the special light energy or the magic message box, I always felt much calmer, more relaxed and definitely more clear minded. I enjoyed the experiences, but didn’t really incorporate it into my life. I even took a Primordial Sound Meditation training class in 2001 with my husband and then 10 year old son. We were each given our primordial sound mantra to help us focus our thoughts and calm our monkey minds. After learning this technique, I would occasionally take time in the mornings to ‘practice’ my meditation. And while I found that it did help me to calm my mind and manage my stress levels, I still didn’t really understand the full benefits of what meditation was bringing me.
It wasn’t until in 2013, when I was feeling under appreciated, insignificant and trying to figure out what my next career move should be that I started to really explore meditation. I was starting to read articles about the benefits of various meditation techniques and mindfulness practices. I hadn’t meditated in quite some time so one afternoon I decided to tune into a Deepak Chopra program that I had downloaded on my phone. With earbuds in place, the music started and then Deepak’s deep, gentle voice sounded in my head. He talked about the meditation practice, lead me through some breathing exercises and then transitioned into a simple mantra based meditation. I’m not sure what happened for the next 20 minutes, but I was definitely transported somewhere else. I experienced such peace, joy, tranquility and love, that when I came out of the meditation I was crying. No, I was sobbing tears of joy. I felt like I had reconnected with my soul at such a deep level and that I was surrounded by love and compassion. Needless to say, I was hooked.
I started to explore the 21 Day meditation programs that are offered through the Chopra center and available on the app (now downloaded on my phone, tablet and anything else that connects to the internet). I started off with the 21-Day Abundance program. My thinking was that I needed to figure out what I wanted to do and that abundance needed to be a part of that. What I learned through that program was that abundance is all around us if only we open our eyes, ears, minds and hearts to recognize it. This set me on a path that allowed me to begin to frame up what I truly wanted in life. I was able to identify and articulate what I valued most and why. Surprisingly it wasn’t about money.
….standby for my next installment to see how I put this all into practice to help reshape my life and find the abundance I was looking for.
Part 2 – Finding my Why to meditation
Following on from my last blog, here is part 2, where I start to use meditation on a daily basis to help me focus on purpose (even just for the day) and gain more inner satisfaction
The Chopra Center meditation classes (and ultimately my certification as an instructor) that I shared with you in Part 1, were my springboard and I jumped on and then off it with enthusiasm. I began incorporating meditation into my morning routine. Some days it would only be a quick 5 minutes of quiet breathing. Setting my intentions for the day and opening my heart to feel the gratitude for all that I have and all that I will receive in the day. I was doing a lot of traveling at that time for work. I was leading large teams through very stressful projects with tight deadlines and multiple opportunities for failure. So I’m sure you can imagine the stress and pressure that I was experiencing. What I noticed, and what others often commented on, was that even when faced with irate customers, broken build, missed deadlines, I remained calm and focused on the positive. I would rally the necessary team members, we’d huddle in a room, work through the issues, identify the solutions and then present it to the client for final approval. All things that I had done previously, but this time I found that I rarely got ruffled (I can’t say ‘never’, because I am still human after all) and I had tremendous energy without the use of caffeine or sugar. My mind was clear and I was able to accomplish more productive work than I had ever been able to in the past.
Greater Intuition – Listening to my gut:
My new found meditation practice also allowed me to tap into my intuition in a much more profound way than ever before. While I have always been fairly intuitive, I would often second guess my ‘gut instinct’ usually to my detriment. However, through learning how to quiet my thoughts, focus my mind and energy, breathe effectively and tap into my inner wisdom, I learned to trust my intuition in a way that I never had before. I felt guided and supported in my decisions to do the right thing, communicate more clearly and think more positively. This enabled me to realize my value that I bring to a team or organization and ultimately gave me the confidence to negotiate a salary that I believe recognizes my value and contribution.
Meditation has also enabled me to be more empathetic towards others and I’ve learned to better observe my internal feelings and reactions when faced with a stressful situation or a challenging conversation. As I stated before, I’m still human and have definitely not reached the Dalai Lama level of life. I am still learning what my triggers are and by whom. Meditation allows me to go inside and really explore what makes me tick so that I can better interact with others and have more meaningful and productive relationships.
A transformation of my life
I incorporate meditation into everything that I do. That doesn’t mean that I need to take 5 minutes before every meeting (although sometimes it does help). My morning routine includes a 20-30 minute meditation practice. Sometimes I use a guided program and sometimes I sit quietly, breathe deeply and mentally chant my primordial sound mantra. Sometimes I have really profound experiences and sometimes it’s just a really nice way to start the day. Regardless of what each individual meditation experience is like, the overall transformation that this practice has had on my life is immeasurable. I am more joyful, grateful, adventurous, confident and in love with life, then I have ever been. I tap into my intuition daily and allow it to guide me in any major decisions or activities.
I encourage you to explore meditation and find a technique that works for you. There are many options out there and ultimately, they all lead to similar outcomes - less stress, better sleep, improved health, improved relationships, calmer mind, clearer, positive thoughts and possibly a more adventurous spirit.