When I really had it wrong, but it was a good thing. 3 {common} things I was totally wrong about when I first started meditating.

When I really had it wrong, but it was a good thing. 3 {common} things I was totally wrong about when I first started meditating.

Ever glad when you realise you actually had something so super wrong??? Like you think you had it figured out only to discover you were waaaaay off and actually the truth is much, much better.

Yep, me too.

Humbling.

This totally happened when I first started meditating….

We gotta go way back, over 20 years ago. (eek, feeling old as shit). Anyway — I was a hedonsitic 20 year old with an intense wanderlust & restlessness when I first started meditating. Super attracted to most anything that had a combo of unexpected, sort of difficult and rarified. Experimental music, conceptual art, raves that we seriously hard to find, playmates that were unpredictable & creative, clothes that were a mash-up of high/low and vintage + futuristic…you get it…

So when I was getting into Buddhism ~ meditation was a natural fit. Awkward, other-worldly, a bit mysterious, not very “easy” & defo a bit elevated or high-minded. Something that made me “intentionally different”.

Basically, an easy yes.

Firstly, it’s nothing short of a miracle that I actually continued doing it and secondly — I had a lot about meditation SO DANG WRONG — and I’m so glad I did! Because the truth is actually waaaaay better…and ironically probably took a lot hours meditating for me to even open up to these truths. Meditation met me where I was and then took me on a journey — a journey that turned a bunch of stuff inside out and upside down.

So here’s a little myth-busting list of things I had wrong and I hear repeated a lot of from others.

I’m so, so glad I was wrong…
the last one is my absolute favourite:

1. 
I had to sit a certain way to meditate.

Nope.
Yes, a straight spine is always going to be great and being intentional with your body is great…but you can lie down, walk, lounge in a hammock, swim, have sex, draw…basically, when you decide you are meditating and engage with the practice — TA-DA, you are meditating! That’s because meditation (specifically mindfulness} is simply paying attention to the present moment experience and dropping judgement. You can do that anywhere, anytime.

2. 
If I didn’t feel suuuuper groovy during the meditation basically it didn’t work.

Soooooooooooo wrong!
This is a BIG ONE. 
People, including my past self, get all annoyed at themselves for experiencing a total monkey mind of random or repeated insistent thoughts when meditating….and then go on to say, “I can’t meditate. My mind is too active.” or some such assessment….

No, no, no, no, NO! 
This encounter with the monkey mind is essential to the practice.

Sure, it’s lovely when you meditate and feel all warm and loved up and in some kind of time-free beautiful state BUT creating a specific “good” or “pleasing” experience during meditation is not the goal of a mindfulness meditation.

Truth bomb time: 
Meditation is working whether you feel like the coolest, happiest person on the planet or a Quentin Tarantino character about to go ape shit.

There’s mucho data on this.

You are REWIRING your brain during meditation ~ each time you choose to remain present {ie not dive into past & future stories} and also not to engage with judgement ~ this creates change, on a deep level, on a cellular level, on a neural pathway level. Yes, even it feels yucky and you are all judge-y about your messy mind- it is still working.

We have excellent research that attests to the plasticity of our minds & the effectiveness of meditation to rewire. So time spent in meditation, even a couple minutes a day, is like chucking money in the bank and the dividends are HUGE and life-changing.

{If the monkey mind thing really resonates, check out my new blog/recording on dealing with triggering thoughts ~ there’s a link at the bottom}

3. 
Finally….my favourite…
Meditating made me better, or at least different, than other people. 

Yeaaaahhhh, that was a cute one (not)….
remember I was 20, so pretty self absorbed…I forgive myself 😉

And, in fact, the opposite is true.

What I found {and what tons of data and fellow humans have found throughout the ages} is that as we engage with this practice, we become waaaaaay more emotionally intelligent. Which means being more present to ourselves and others rather than judging like it’s our job.

Example ~ instead of snorting at the person who cuts me off in traffic or is a hot mess in the super market while mindlessly clogging up the aisle — I see myself in that person.

I know I’ve had moments, or even weeks, like that.

Compassion brings so much pleasure. When I can smile at the jerk knowing I’ve been the jerk and it’s best to just go easy on them or silently send them some good juju. Or ~ the joy of feeling inspired when seeing others doing amazing things — rather than putting on the dreaded comparison glasses. {You know, the glasses that lead to feeling like we are somehow “under-achieving” and then picking out faults in the other in a sad & misguided attempt to make oneself feel better….not a good look.}

Truth is…

I’m not different or better or worse.

Yes, I’m a unique expression of humanity, but I am also deeply connected and this connection with others is truly life changing.

Worth noting:
The numero uno characteristic according to a several decades long study by Harvard (there’s a TED Talk and everything) on what makes us feel happy & satisfied…it’s meaningful connection with others.

I want to make the connection between meditation, meaningful connection and the impact this has on our happiness & life satisfaction so, SO crystal clear to you. Take a sec today to consider the role of connection in your life….


So….dearest reader….
Do you meditate regularly? I would love to hear in the comments if you do, if you don’t, any challenges you face, the benefits you experience when you do it. Pretty please share. I love this stuff.

And if you don’t have a consistent practice and would like one or would like to get a really firm grounding in the essentials ~ I can totally help.

Make use of the free resources here, join the mailing list for weekly insights & inspiration to keep you centred.

And if you are ready to do something pronto. Like really, really ready to connect to that inner peace & wisdom within and not get so caught up in various unhelpful, repetitive voices in your head ~ you can find out more about my Mindfulness Essentials structured one to one programme HERE or just book a chat with me to discuss HERE 

Love & light,
Meredith

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