I could feel my heart wake up. And it had a message for me. Something I always knew deep down but hadn’t been present to for years – probably since I was a child.
I spent the rest of the day in a state of bliss and love. My mind was present, but so was my heart. And I never knew that was possible.
Meditation had brought this moment to me. And I knew it could bring more.
How I Used to Think About Meditation
I used to think there were only two things you could accomplish with meditation:
- Come away feeling refreshed
- Get an answer to a question
When I sought to feel refreshed, although I’d often feel a bit better after 10 to 20 minutes of meditation, I would often be disappointed that it did not seem to work as a cure-all for exhaustion and tiredness. It was worth the effort, but the results were not phenomenal in my eyes.
And so far as getting answers was concerned, this often happened involuntarily, kind of like how when you go for a walk or a drive or a shower after a long day of work and suddenly new ideas come to you.
As you can tell from my attitude towards meditation at the time, I often had an on again off again relationship with it.
How I Was Introduced to Meditation
Meditation came into my awareness after I experienced an anxiety attack in 2008.
I started reading everything I could find on anxiety, and that’s when I came across meditation.
At the time, it probably would not have amounted to more than a to-do item. In the long list of things to do and not to do in coping with anxiety, meditation was just one item.
But the long-term benefits were there, and they seemed to stack over weeks and months.
How I Used to Meditate
As I was recovering from anxiety, I used to sit down, close my eyes, and focus on my breathing.
Anxious thoughts would sometimes interrupt, causing me to twitch or open my eyes momentarily, but I would give myself grace for “not doing it perfectly,” close my eyes, and start over. I was also assured that this was a normal part of the process.
Eventually, I figured out that you could meditate while listening to calming music, and that became my preferred way.
What I’ve Been Coming to Discover About Meditation
I’ve made many personal discoveries about meditation in the last year, all of which came through talking with others and finding new resources online.
Some of this is going to sound woo-woo, weird, or out there for some. Fair warning.
First, I began to learn more about chakras. Now, that term alone is controversial and depending on your religious or spiritual leanings, it’s going to prove impossible to accept.
What I can say is this – science is now catching up with what we have long known about the seven energy centers that run along our spine. And perhaps that term (energy centers) is a little easier to digest, even for those who experience some discomfort near it.
To bottom line it, I discovered that it’s possible to awaken and energize these energy centers through meditation. And much of energy healing work (like Reiki) also revolves around energy centers.
One of my friends brought up spirit animals in conversation, and while I’d heard the term before, I didn’t know much about it. I still don’t.
But intuitively I recognized that there were probably spirit animal meditations out there, and sure I enough, I found some on YouTube.
Using the guided meditation, I discovered that my spirit animal was a panther.
Meditation is a Catch-All Term for Something That Has Many Branches to it
Author, entrepreneur, and musician Andy Seth was on episode 200 of my podcast. He shared that meditation is a very general umbrella term, as there are many types of meditation.
He shared that asking someone whether they meditate is a lot like asking them whether they play sports. You’d need to drill down a little further to get a sense of what type of athlete they are.
“Oh, you’re a soccer player? What position do you play?”
You’d need to get at least that specific to know what type of meditation they’re engaged in.
I did not know any of this as I was getting started in meditation. But over time I learned about transcendental meditation, Kundalini meditation, Zen meditation, mindfulness meditation, and so on. And I honestly thought there were just a few different types.
But the truth of the matter is some of the meditations just mentioned are subcategories, while others are parent categories. And there are many more besides.
Yeah. It gets confusing if you let it.
Heart-Brain Coherence Can be Achieved Through Meditation
Earlier this year, I came across Dr. Joe Dispenza’s work, and that’s where things started to get especially interesting to me.
Dr. Dispenza’s studies and discoveries on meditation go deep. Not surprising since he’s dedicated his life to understanding it.
Many of his findings are compelling. The one that I somewhat took for granted, and didn’t entirely understand when presented with it, was that you can achieve heart-brain coherence through meditation.
When this state is achieved, you will experience life in an entirely new way. Because you will become more present to your purpose and reason for being here.
Many of Dr. Dipsenza’s guided meditations can be found on YouTube, and they are my go-to.
Sitting with Yourself Dissolves Emotional Pain
This year, one open door quickly opened to another. After I engaged in Dr. Dispenza’s content for a while, I came to discover Kyle Cease, whose work is also fascinating to say the least. Especially since he’s a comedian turned transformational comedian.
Cease does not advocate any type of meditation specifically. But he talks a lot about sitting with yourself and its benefits.
He shared that through the process of meditation, things arise within us – painful emotions, anxious thoughts, and so on. But they arise to be dissolved, and if we can sit with them, acknowledge them, and even love them, they will release.
What Works for Me
So, depending on your intent, what you’re looking to achieve, and what works best for you, there are many types of meditation you can engage in.
But at least for me, there is no right or wrong way. Only what works for you.
Because I’ve been asked before if meditation is about silencing the mind. And surely there are gurus or monks that will tell you that this is the case.
I’ve never thought of it that way, and it’s not the way I’ve been taught to meditate.
So, here’s an overview of what works for me:
- Go into a quiet room
- Put on some relaxing meditation music or a guided meditation
- Sit or lie down in a comfortable position – these days, typically, I will meditate lying down
- Close your eyes
- Focus on breathing in slowly through your nose and out through your mouth
- Thoughts and feelings will arise – there is nothing to fix, and most things only arise to be released
- Do not add resistance to emotions or thoughts – just be present with them
- Distractions and noises are common – these are also perfect, so do not add resistance to them
- Stay with the meditation until the music ends or the guide asks you to open your eyes (I like my meditations to be at least 20 minutes, but at longest I have gone for 85 minutes)
It’s as simple as that!
And the benefits of meditation are far beyond what you might expect, with most articles on the topic extending well beyond 2,000 words in length. There’s even an article discussing 76 benefits of meditation!
“Meditation Feels Like a Waste of Time”
This is where things get even more interesting.
Because you might assume that spending so much time in meditation would be a waste. But there’s got to be a reason why gurus, monks, entrepreneurs, and those acquainted with ancient medicine and healing modalities spend so much time in meditation, right?
Think of all the things you would be doing otherwise. Most of them fall under the category of addiction:
- Surfing the web
- Social media
- Watching TV
- Netflix or YouTube
- Video games
Meditation is one of the best things you can do for yourself because it allows you to remove yourself from addiction cycles. Further, it creates flow in your life.
Because if we were honest with ourselves, we’d see that most of our thoughts and goals and ambitions are trying to lead us upstream on the river of life, where we’ve already been. The things we desire to experience are all downstream.
When we go to sleep, we create flow. When we meditate, we create flow. When we focus on our heart and our personal development, we create flow.
When we get out of balance, work too hard, spend too much time in our addictions, and so on, we create resistance, and the universe has no choice but to restore balance and order. Which is why shrinking at the first sign of difficulty or challenge has a way of sending us back to square one in the game of achievement.Shrinking at the first sign of difficulty or challenge has a way of sending us back to square one in the game of achievement. Click To Tweet
It’s counter-intuitive, to be sure. But meditation is often one of the best things we can do for ourselves.
Again, I understand that there will be those who say meditation is to be done a certain way, and anything outside of their instructions is not meditation.
That’s fine. That’s perfect to me.
Because they’ve gotten what they’ve gotten, and I’ve gotten what I’ve gotten. And you will get what you get.
If one method doesn’t work for you, though, recognize that there are many ways of meditating. And understanding the benefits and experiencing them for yourself will help you create a habit long term.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.
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