Who I am:
I am a happiness junkie. Being unhappy is not an option. So, if you told me putting on a purple Barney suit (from Barney & Friends) and doing cartwheels while singing “A Christmas Carol” would magically make me happy, I would.
The goal to be happy motivated my research to discover how to sustain my happiness. The research revealed that Meditation provided a sense of well being. I thought, I am in. It appeared that meditation was the perfect solution to provide consistent happiness: No long process. Instant happiness. Boom.
Boy, was I wrong. After trying to meditate, I felt frustrated. No sense of well-being. I felt more like a traffic cop for my thoughts. Not peaceful. And, no happiness!
My Spinning Mind:
I tracked down my friend Joyce, who I knew meditated. “When does meditation bring me happiness and that sense of well-being?!”
Joyce smiled, “Melanie, that is why it’s called a meditation practice. It takes time to train your mind.”
My thoughts began flooding my brain. Practice? Wait a minute. I don’t remember reading about practicing or training my ADHD brain. Then, she said the annoying phrase that makes me twitch, “It’s a process”. Process? I was stunned.
All I could hear were my thoughts “…being good at meditating doesn’t happen right away? I don’t have time to wait. I want to feel good right now.” My brain echoed “…NOW NOW NOW.”
Before I could say another word or listen to my repetitive rapid thoughts, Joyce said, “Just know, there is no such thing as ‘being good at meditating.’ Meditation is NOT about making your mind go blank. Try. Show up. Meditate. Listen to your breathing.”
I sighed. I thought, listen to my breathing? How is BREATHING going to make me happy? Or give me peace of mind?
I am still a traffic cop for my thoughts. When meditating, sometimes I make my grocery list, think about buying tickets to the next Giants game, or replay the last conversation that upset me.
I’m learning to let the thoughts pass through my mind like clouds floating by. I acknowledge the thoughts. I don’t pressure myself to stop my thoughts. And, yes, I breathe. Deep breaths give me peace. Breathing helps me let go of my anxiety. The more attention I give to the breath, and therefore the body, I notice my thinking naturally quiets down. Which creates an opportunity to notice the body and emotions.
I found that because I no longer reinforced negative emotions, I feel happier. I am free to notice my happiness because I am less obsessed with my thinking. So I really noticed how happy I was becoming.
To date, meditating has given me a sense of peace and well being. My meditation is different every day. Sometimes, I listen to music and other times, I listen to my breathing. I accept that my mind is busier some days than other days. Joyce is correct, there is no such thing as “being good” at meditation. Phew.
Meditation increases my self-awareness. Meaning, mediation gives me a stance, the ability to simultaneously see how I would normally respond in the past, and choose a more compassionate response. I choose to let go of being in control while trusting the process of life. When I let go, my mind slows down, spins less about future outcomes.
Meditation is giving me an invaluable awareness of how my mind works. I am learning how my thoughts hijack me, take me down a path paved with stressful emotions while creating scary scenarios. I am starting to realize my thoughts are just that, thoughts. They are not the truth. My thoughts are my fears. I am not my thoughts. The outcome from meditating far exceeds any form of happiness I have yet to experience.
If you say you can’t, you won’t. I know you can. If I can meditate anyone is capable of training their brain. If I can trust the process, so can you. You are welcome to borrow my faith in your ability to meditate. My offer will never expire.
Try It … again and again:
If you have already tried meditating and you felt you could not do it, try again. Let go. Don’t judge. Be compassionate with yourself. You didn’t come out of the womb knowing how to meditate. And, yes it is a process, one that I now treasure. I didn’t even have to wear a Barney suit to make myself happy, I just had to take a breath and then take another one. I just have to breathe.
Where do you begin?
Try Headspace. www.headspace.com.
Go on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmRiHuOKnkU
7 Ways On How To Meditate https://www.unitedpalace.org/thank-you
Seek out people at work-start a meditation group