Learning to Meditate
I recently learned to meditate.
It's been easy/hard/uncomfortable/awesome/life changing/frustrating/relaxing, and of course, my nose always starts to itch the moment I start.
Totally worth it. Every time.
The technique I learned is called Vedic Mediation. VM comes directly from the blessing of Maharishi Maresh Yogi down through a lineage of initiated teachers and is uniquely designed to release stress from the body, practiced two times a day for twenty minutes [which seems very doable and completely impossible at the same time.] Time seems to never pass on some days, and on others it flys by. It all depends on where you are at that moment and on what you are releasing. I was fortunate to learn from a very close friend of mine that I completely trust, which made taking her word for the all of the uncomfortableness that came a little easier.
Here's what I've learned so far:
MEDITATION IS THE THING YOU DO THAT MAKES YOU GOOD AT LIFE.
Being with yourself / within yourself / aware of yourself / conscious of who you are / where you are / the silence / the noise within you during your short meditations has an infinite amount of benefits not only for your mind, but also for your physical body, your health, your emotions, and your overall sense of being. There is an incredible trickle down effect that begins to happen.
Making a safe space for yourself to just be allows you to be ok with who you are, inspires you to change the things you don't like, and motivates you to work for what you do want. A lot of dust starts to fly when you close your eyes, but after sitting for a bit, the dust starts to clear up. This in turns brings confidence, which starts to make you feel WHOLE. Feeling whole means you need less of other's approval and validation, which means you are also more accepting of others, leading to loving more freely and a feeling bit less needy. Not only is this an incredibly attractive quality, but coming from a place of being whole all on your own means you will always be ok, no matter what is going on. Things will happen, people will come and go, but you will be able to shake it off with more ease, because meditation has made you more solid, more whole, more you.
Making decisions and taking risks becomes easier from this space because the releasing of stress also releases some of the fear. Your newfound confidence brings with it a boost of courage that you may have previously been missing. You soon start to leap forward, which is always a cool feeling.
MEDITATION STABILIZES YOUR HORMONES / METABOLISM / ADRENALS / IMMUNE SYSTEM
We carry a lot of stress in our systems. Back in the day when we lived in caves and walked freely among wildlife, we might be out picking flowers and feel the presence of a lion looking for its lunch. We made it this far in evolution because of our "fight or flight" response- our built in emergency response system that switches on in moments of presumed danger. The moment we feel a threat [all animals do this] we undergo a very real physical, emotional, and mental response. Our blood instantly becomes more acidic to make us taste less delicious to predators, our reproductive, digestive and immune systems shut down to save energy, we get tunnel vision, our oxygen intake becomes incredibly efficient, we feel a rush of hormones, cortisol and adrenaline for needed energy, and all of our senses immediately come on full high alert, taking in all of the information we may need to use to survive. Where is the fastest exit / What am I smelling / What colors am I seeing / What is the sensation under my feet / Is there a breeze / What am I hearing / How fast can I run? Our sympathetic and parasympathetic systems take in all of this information without us even being aware, helping us to decide if we should stay and "fight" if we think we can win, or if we need to take "flight" and run to safety.
We have an amazing body designed to help us survive very real threats, and that is exactly why we have survived this long. Once the danger passes, animals let all of this go and resume prancing around the forest, but humans store this information for future reference, so that the next time we smell that smell, or see those colors, we can prepare ourselves for "fight or flight." Note: Humans are the only animals that have compound fears. We don't let things go, and we store these experiences to be brought up in the future when we feel threatened / when things don't go our way.
Stresss is beneficial. It helps us survive.
The problem is that we don't live among lions anymore. We get cut off in traffic, we get scolded by our bosses, we lose our paychecks, we stand in long lines at the DMV, we watch violence on TV, and our WiFi signals go down instead. We experience stress on a whole other level, but it is stress none the less, and EVERY time your body feels a mini non-life threatening stress, it has the same physiological reaction as if a lion were hiding in the bushes. Our immune systems, hormone balance, metabolism, blood pH, senses, digestive systems, adrenals, and nervous systems all respond as if the stress we are taking in is an emergency, even if the only thing that happened is our latte came out differently than how we ordered it.
Not only do we experience stress, but we carry stress with us, repeating the physiological cycle possibly multiple times a day. We over-react, we snap, we get upset, we get emotional, and we freak out, constantly, and though our minds may forget, our body imprints these stresses in every cell. Stress is a direct cause for dis-ease in our system and leads to a multitude of imbalances that affects our health over time and ages us prematurely. Therefore releasing some of this stress and allowing it to leave the system by way of two short meetings with yourself a day has a huge impact on your internal balance. Not only is stress released, but over time, your stress response becomes re-wired so you actually begin to respond to life's ever changing demands in a much calmer, much more reasonable way. In turn, this means it affects your body less on a cellular level, including the "not holding onto it energetically," which can be exhausting, and taxing on the adrenals / hormones / metabolism / immune system.
Releasing this tension through meditation allows your body to rest, giving your cells the space to detox and begin to function as they were designed to. Your body will balance itself naturally.
MEDITATION MAKES YOU AWARE OF YOUR IMPACT ON OTHERS
Becoming aware of yourself, of the space you hold, of the energy you radiate and of how you treat yourself makes you distinguishably aware of what you put onto others. When you are more accepting of yourself and when you actively participate in bettering yourself, you become more tolerable of others, and also start to realize that being judge-y does you no good. Everyone is on their own journey, and this is perfectly ok [because you too are on your own journey.]
Feeling whole means you have more to give, because you need less. You become nicer, more compassionate, more understanding, and much more patient.
MEDITATION HEIGHTENS YOUR INTUITION AND ALLOWS YOU ALIGN WITH YOURSELF
Meditation is a key factor in alignment. When your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions are all aligned, the universe responds positively. The universe responds with energy, so what you put out there is what you get back. Your cells also respond to your inner alignment, and this reflects on your health.
As my meditation teacher put it, "It's not about what you want from the outside world. It's more about you tuning into your highest Self, your true Self, and therefore being aligned with what nature wants to manifest through you. Your desires as a non meditator tend to come from a place of need and acquisition. Whereas a meditator's desires come from a place of wholeness and aligned with nature's cues. When nature is running the show, which it always is, we may start off with a desire only to find that it had nothing to do with the initial cue we got but to get you to the next step.. (i.e. going to the market that is completely out of the way and the intellect can't rationalize why this makes sense, only to find that you were guided by your intuition in order to cross paths with someone significant.)"
Meditating is not about how much you do it, its about learning to allow being guided by your intuitions and tapping into a cosmic consciousness that allows nature's favorable path to unfold for you.
YOU ARE TAPPED INTO THE UNIVERSAL COSMIC CONSCIOUS ENERGY WE ARE ALL A PART OF, SIMPLY BY TAPPING INTO YOURSELF.
We are all made of the same stuff. And becoming aware of this "stuff" allows you to be more a part of it. Your intuition will sky rocket because you are now more aware of you. Your decisions will begin to come from a place of intuition, and not of intellect- which is usually run from the lion fear based.
Becoming in tune with your inner world will make you very clear on what you want from the outer world, and leaving a positive impact on this outer world because you are now a calmer, more patient, more understanding person means the world will respond positively to you too.
"Meditation allows you to clear the stresses from the nervous system which in turn allows you to be the best version of you. You live in the present moment and make yourself available for the need of the time, versus being needy for something outside of you to 'make you happy or whole.'"
It's truly a beautiful cycle.
Knowing that every meditation brings you closer to feeling whole, aligns you more with yourself, connects you to cosmic consciousness, and allows you to heal makes you truly want to commit to an everyday practice, because essentially, you are committing to yourself and to creating the life you want to live.
I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to learn this technique, and I look forward to seeing how my path will unfold from here. Stay tuned for breakthroughs!
Sabina Padilla is a Vedic Meditation teacher and one of the most beautiful souls I have ever met. I absolutely recommend attending one of her intro talks if Meditation is something you are interested in looking into, [which you should be if you don't practice already.] Sabina is LA and Miami based, but travels extensively teaching and promoting this beautiful practice. You can find her on her Facebook page here or can contact her with questions through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learning to meditate from someone highly trained makes the process of understanding so much easier and the support is something that is so wonderful.