I wanted to write this review right at the end of the year, but being the introvert that I am, time was necessary for me to look back and summarize the experience. It’s difficult to tease out the source of any change even in the best research, but here’s my go at self observation in relation to my goal to meditate 30 minutes every day for a whole year:
I meditated way more than I would have without the goal. I meditated almost every single weekday, and some weekends, some days more than 30 mins. I wish I had recorded a total. BTW, now there are apps like Insight Timer you can use for that, as well as for journaling about your experience.
I meditate every weekday morning without hesitation. It’s clearly a habit now, and the busier I am, the harder I work to make sure I fit it in. I’m even starting to wake earlier and meditate weekday mornings while the house is still quiet.
I could sit for virtually any period of time now. It’s not work anymore, but rather, supreme relaxation, and an incredible luxurious pleasure. If I have trouble settling in, I ask “what if I allowed everything to be as it is right now?”. (Thank you, Adya!)
I care little for form. I used to sit zazen on a cushion and sometimes still demonstrate for my classes, but in practice I just sit reasonably upright with good back support, with my legs elevated. I don’t want any music or guide, I don’t want anyone’s yacking intruding on my sacred, silent space. Thanks to Adyashanti and his True Meditation for releasing me from all these forms of control!
The ability to remain present has increased my joy and assisted my life in countless ways. I effortlessly remain present with my clients and aware of myself, which makes me more effective at my job. I am more present and effective in my relationships, my tasks, my exercise, my driving, and my own work on myself. I live my real life, instead of an imaginary life in my thoughts.
I have become more fully embodied than ever before. I fully inhabit my own body with an awareness I never had before 2013. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s an amazing experience. It’s like I was living in my body, but I wasn’t plugged in. I admit some of this is due to somatic experiencing work, but that also would not have been possible in such a short time without the learned ability through meditation to remain present to my own internal experience without fear.
I seem to be taking better care of myself in a more consistent way. I attribute this to relating to my humanness in a friendlier, more compassionate way. It feels and appears like an automatic outgrowth of practice, rather than from effort. I sleep, eat, exercise and rest, as well as offer comfort to myself just because the obvious need is there.
Others notice and comment on the calm they experience just by being in my presence. I swear, I am not trying to “do” anything, it’s just happening. Some refer to this a shift in vibrational frequency that occurs with meditation practice, but I don’t know. Whatever it is, people around me are witnessing it and commenting on it, and begging me to record bedtime stories for them (really!).
I am more comfortable being myself than ever before, in every way imaginable…less critical of my body, my physical appearance, my mistakes, and my flaws. It feels more acceptable to just be myself all of the time. Who else would I be? I can’t believe how much time I spent striving to project some desirable image I had of myself.
I am getting to live the lovingkindness meditation: May I be happy. May I be safe. May I be healthy and strong. May I live with ease. Yes, as it turns out, I may!
And this is my loving kindness prayer for you:
May you be happy. May you be safe. May you be healthy and strong. May you live with ease.
Perhaps you’ll make my prayer for you come true, whether it’s through regular daily silence, or some other means!
The biggest thing I notice is that when my husband starts bugging me, I’m not meditating enough. When I AM meditating enough, those irritating little things are no longer irritating to me. Quite frankly, I have endured the toughest periods of my life with the ability to stay centered and focused on the issue because of meditating. The greatest risk, or potential side effect, is that everybody around me thinks I’m crazy because I haven’t lost my mind!
This is SO true! I’ve even had people tell me it’s really annoying or disgusting to them, or even makes them angry, that I’m so calm all the time, or that I’m not getting upset with them.