I recently went on a two week trip to California, on my own. A 36 year old, married woman, travelling on her own, staying in hostels. I had the time of my life!
It was on this trip I learned a lot about myself.
I learned that I am made up of some really great stuff, and, that I still have a lot to learning and growing to do.
But something profound hit me whilst on my travels, and in a way it feels like something has changed inside me.
In recent years I’ve been interested in the whole ‘meditation thing’ though I never fully ‘got it’ either. I tried different ways to meditate over the years, through yoga, mindfulness, guided meditations in person or on UTube and have tried my hand at Buddhism – haven’t ruled that out either. More often thought, I just got to a certain point and mostly felt like I just didn’t quite get it.
I have asked different meditation teachers over the years what it’s all about, some would say it’s an opportunity to ‘be still’ – why though? Or to ‘clear your mind’ – eh, do you know me? or to ‘concentrate on your breath’ – So I know I’m alive or what?? I just could not get it, get it.
I get it now. And I’ll tell you how it landed.
But first I want to try and explain to you, in a simple way, what I now understand meditation to be. It is more than all those things I mentioned above. They are just the words people use to describe the very actions of meditating. It’s what’s beneath the ‘still’, the ‘quietened mind’ that’s important, and it’s your breath that connects you to who you really are.
Okay, so that said, I need to back it up and talk about the Mind for a minute.
Your Mind is the mother board that contains and stores all of your previous experiences, life’s lessons, information, and beliefs. Beliefs you’ve collected from our parents, friends and other influential people in your lives, social conditioning and what you think you ‘should’ be doing, or why you think you ‘can’t’ do something etc.
Generally speaking, your mind is your ‘go to guy’ for decision making. But it is not without its flaws. It reaches for answers based on previous experiences for situations that appear similar. It fills in blanks and makes up completely fabricated stories to fill in any information that it’s missing. It will also keep you ‘safe’ inside your comfort zone, a zone that has been built around you self-limiting beliefs. Our minds can be very loud and chaotic places to live in. Especially if that’s your main place of residence.
Okay, now let me ask you this – metaphorically speaking, have you ever gone left, when all the information and all your thoughts said to go right? But somewhere inside you, you just instinctively knew you should go left. And that was the correct move.
That, in my opinion, is your true self speaking. Your gut instinct, soul, spirit, source or whatever else you want to call it.
Meditation is about turning the volume down in our minds, so we can hear ourselves speak.
So who are you, if not your thoughts? – Good question, and here’s my take on things.
Meditation is the process to connect you with your true self – the person who you really are. The person behind the face you put out to the world.
We are fundamentally capable of becoming anything we want, but situations over our life time will have left us with varying degrees of crippling self-limiting beliefs that keep us from reaching our full potential. So if we rely on our mind, a partially flawed mother board, we are left building our lives upon a fairly shaky foundation. Our true selves has no limits.
If we can connect and stay connected with who we really are, we can ‘feel’ our way through our fullest of lives.
Right, so that’s the Mind and Meditation. The moment it clicked for me fully, was while I was away.
When I decided to go, I instinctively knew I needed some time on my own. Luckily for me, I have an amazingly encouraging husband who gets me and supported me in my decision all the way.
When I arrived into LAX I took a deep breath. I had recently decided to close the door on a business I had for 8 years, although deep down I knew it was time to go in a new direction, I was struggling to let it go and struggling to let my identity go with it. But I was ready now, my opened my heart wide open to whatever my trip had in store for me.
I have to tell you, it took me the best part of the first week to ‘come down’ and feel more in my body. And It wasn’t until the second week I started feeling more like myself then I had in a long time.
I had no idea that I had become so disconnected from myself. When I realised, I cried.
At this very moment, I can’t help but wonder if the world feels like that too right now?
But when I cried, I felt better. And when I cried, I had been meditating, and that’s when it hit me what was wrong. I had just lost myself. I totally get what people now talk about when they say they ‘found’ themselves.
You might read this and totally get what I’m saying. You might read it and think it’s completely ridiculous and people can’t go around ‘losing themselves’, what a load of crap. But I think we can lose ourselves. I think we can do it lots of times in our lives actually. And I also think we can always ‘find’ ourselves again.
So for those of you who are feeling a bit disconnected at the moment, don’t feel like you fully know who you are, or feel like your sense of self is shaky. Here’s a few things I did that might help bring you ‘home’.
1. Get yourself a dedicated journal to your cause.
This is for you, for your inner most feelings and thoughts. Let your subconscious thoughts flow. Writing is a very powerful tool. This journal is for you to document your journey back.
2. Read every word of ‘The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success’ by Deepak Chopra.
Don’t speed read it. Get a pen, make notes and demolish the book with all your learnings as you go along.
3. Start meditating daily.
Put it as a priority in your day. You are connecting with your real self so you live your live to the fullest. The more connected you’re are to yourself, the more unshakable you will be. Listen to what you are saying.
(A great guided meditation you can find on YouTube is Deepak Chopra – Soul of Healing)
4. Spend time on your own.
You don’t need to go full turbo and leave the country (not that you could now if you wanted) but when all this is over, go for a night away on your own, or spend the day on your own dong something you love. If you’re not used alone time, be warned, it’s uncomfortable! Know that, so when you feel the discomfort, you know it’s normal. I feel that the level of discomfort you feel while being on your own is an indicator to how far away you might have drifted from your true self. Spend even more time on your own then. The more you know who are truly are, the more of force to be reckoned with you will be.
4. Spend time on your own.
You don’t need to go full turbo and leave the country (not that you could now if you wanted) but when all this is over, go for a night away on your own, or spend the day on your own dong something you love. If you’re not used alone time, be warned, it’s uncomfortable! Know that, so when you feel the discomfort, you know it’s normal. If you feel extremely uncomfortable it is like to be indicator to how far away you might have drifted from your true self. Spend even more time on your own then. The more you know who are truly are, the more of force to be reckoned with you will be.
So that’s it my friends. My experience, thoughts and actions.
It’s a very difficult, but interesting, time in our lives right now, as are forced into into our homes to be still and quiet. And so I shall leave you by asking you this……
…………if you stop for minute and listen, can you hear what you are saying?
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