And I’m back, day 3 of my August monthly experiment to write and publish a daily blog post. I’ll include these short intros each day to offer an update about how this entire experiment is going so you have an insiders perspective. Why? Because I want you to know that it’s not all butterflies and rainbow, sometimes it’s just pure hell … And sometimes you and I just have to suck it up because we made a commitment. As outsiders looking into someone else’s life all we see is the end product which is often perfectly packaged with a pretty little bow on top… and we assume that the final product was the first product… often times it’s not. Regardless of what it is you are trying to shift in your life: how you look, feel, or perform… the journey is not going to be pretty, but it will be fulfilling.
I seem to be drawn to the “messy” in life, kind of ironic for someone who is a recovering perfectionist. Hmm…. (food for thought)
With that being said let’s dive into the messy of meditation. I sat down for my first meditation in 2004 at the Bryan Kest Yoga Studio in Santa Monica, California. We had just finished a fairly intense vinyasa class and sat up out of savasana to find a comfortable seated position and be present… I can’t remember exactly how long we were there for but it seemed like forever and I was ready to eat. Point being Meditation didn’t come easy to me, it was work… intense work. As I embarked on becoming a yoga teacher and continued my studies with teachers both in San Francisco and India, I continued to face challenges when it came time to meditate. Some of the thoughts that would consume my mind were: this is a waste of time I should be running or I suck at this or my body is falling asleep I must be tired and go to sleep… the thoughts were endless.
One time (before iphones and apps) I remember laying down my jute eco yoga mat with the intention of doing a 20 minute meditation… I sat down, closed my eyes, and began to breathe and “empty” my mind, I thought I was doing well and surely I was almost done so I opened my eyes only to feel a wave of defeat rush through me, only 5 minutes had gone by. Feeling like a failure, I rolled up my mat and went for a run.
Even though it had been a struggle for me, I wasn’t ready to give up… call it grit or competitive spirit or perseverance, but I continued to find ways to learn more and delve deeper.
And deeper I went. In winter of 2009 I signed up for my first Vipassana in North Fork, California. Vipassana, aka Insight Meditation, is one of India’s ancient meditation traditions as practiced by the Buddha himself. By this point I had done a number of trainings but nothing like this, Vipassana requires a 12 day commitment, 2 days allotted for commute and the other 10 for practicing meditation. Still doesn’t sound too bad, except this is all done in noble silence meaning no forms of communication – talking, reading, writing, eye contact, etc. for 10 days.
I have written about the details of this experience on a different site and will link to that later. But the gist of it is that Iw walked away with a fire ignited within me to share this life altering inner technology of meditation. I remember thinking OMG this is the missing link… and it was and still is. In the last 8 years, meditation has become the single most talked about habit by successful entrepreneurs. There are thousands of apps and tools available to help you meditate, and countless coaches and teachers (myself included) helping people master this technique.
That meditation experience completed my personal and now optimal well- being prescription: eat. move. meditate. I had been focused on the move since I was 7 years old, starting tweaking my eat in my twenties but it wasn’t until I discovered meditate that it all came together.
When I say meditate, I mean more than the actual practice of sitting still and working with the breath. What I really mean is living mindfully and finding small simple moments of connection to the self and to something bigger than you. Sometime that could mean staring at the wall and doing nothing, or enjoying a sunset, or eating in silence. I’ve explored many many different ways in which I developed a connection to meditate and I’ll be sharing more of that here.
I’m not a huge fan of labels and boxes and often times these three categories get blurred for me because when you truly start becoming mindful, you naturally eat. move. meditate. in harmony with your highest self, your best self.
So with that I leave you to begin thinking about how you meditate in your life currently. Share in comments… I’d love to hear from you.
Stay mindful my friends!