“Renew, thyself completely each day; do it again and again, and forever again.” Chinese Inscription City by Thoreau in Walden
During the summer of 2013, I found myself at a true crossroads with my career, and nearly every inch of my body was filled with angst. Here my journey with meditation started. I had just begun to embark on what I didn’t know at the time would be a three year book/research project. While maintaining my full- time job as a clinical social worker, I decided to write a book. No one in my family was an author and I didn’t know anyone within the publishing world, so I was truly in unchartered territory. I was lost, overwhelmed, confused, and filled with uncertainty.
On one particular Saturday, I remember looking outside and noticing that it was perfect sunny, summer weather, but standing inside I was filled with stress and worry.
As I was literally walking through my living room to the kitchen, I remember hearing Dr. Deepak Chopra’s voice on the television. He was on a repeat TV episode talking to Oprah about the benefits of meditation. I’m not sure why, but I sat down. Never before had I listened to Deepak, nor had I read any of his books. However, there was something about this topic that drew me into wanting to learn more. He was asked how someone with no prior meditation experience can begin to meditate. Deepak’s response took me by surprise. He said that one can simply begin with the word “Om.”
Upon realizing that I didn’t have to purchase anything fancy or learn a new language, I decided that I would give meditation a try. I knew that I had nothing to lose.
The very next morning, I set my alarm to wake up fifteen minutes earlier than usual. I positioned myself in front of the living room on a Mexican blanket, and sat on it with my legs crossed while resting my open hands upon my knees. I was mirroring a meditation pose that I saw in various magazines. With my eyes closed, I began to say “Om” aloud. I did this for several minutes and then ended with a short prayer. There was not a big transforming moment, but as the days progressed, I noticed an inner calm began to occur.
Before the meditation, I often had multiple things on my mind. And during the brief mediation time, I noticed that I became clearer about things. While this didn’t mean that all problems ceased, I did notice that I began to see situations in a new light. This different perspective gave me insight on how to resolve things. Also, after the mediation, new ideas began to cultivate.
Within weeks of beginning this daily meditation practice, I noticed a shift in what I am calling my second career. My professional writing world began to open up as well. I don’t consider this a coincidence. My emails included invitations to write for various platforms, and unbeknownst to me at the time, I was directly communicating with Deepak via email. I reached out to him assuming that the person replying was a staff person at the Chopra Center. Much to my amazement, my emails led to a January meeting with Deepak in his office. Since that time, we have developed a friendship.
Meditation also created a balance in my life that didn’t exist prior. Each morning, I use either a guided meditation or one that I’ve memorized, and close it with a prayer. Certainly, at times, my mind begins to wander, but I can also quickly bring my thoughts back to focus on the mediation.
I also discovered that I began to make decisions related to my writing career based on my inner wisdom or “gut” feeling. With meditation, I felt more connected to my intuition. I’ve also found that it creates an openness that I didn’t experience before. When I rush through the meditation, or on the rare occasion that I miss a morning session, I feel tense throughout the day. And when I check in with myself, I realize it is because I skipped mediation.
One of the most important things that a daily meditation practice has taught me is to be open to all that is yet unresolved. Many times, I am seeking answers and mediation has given me a new perspective. It has created a new mindset in that sometimes, things will not work the way we had wanted, but this too is part of remaining open. By remaining open, I’ve observed in myself that I am gaining insight and a new wisdom.
Having done this for a while now, I can tell you that meditation is a unique experience. Each person gets something different from it, but it is one of the best reasons to do it. No two meditation experiences are exactly alike.
Do you meditate? What have you learned from mediation? EmpowHER would love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts about mediation here in the comment section.