I was visiting family a couple weeks ago and had a fun conversation with my mom about meditation. I was sharing with her the general idea of it and what the benefits are of having a regular practice. Namely, that it helps a person feel more calm, grounded, focused and better able to handle stress when it comes.
I was describing to her the ‘how’ of meditation: that, essentially, you direct your attention onto something such as your breath, a candle flame, a mantra or even a sound. Whenever your mind strays (as it inevitably will), you bring it back to the object of your attention.
You keep coming back to NOW, over and over and over again.
“That’s it in a nutshell!” I said.
Mom paused and then said the most insightful thing:
“But NOW might be where you’re having a terrible time!”
In ten words, she beautifully pointed to one of the reasons many of us often resist being in the NOW. After all, NOW might be hard, uncomfortable, even painful. NOW might be when we’re not feeling so great about ourselves or the direction our lives are going–or not going. Why would anyone want to be in the NOW if that’s the case?
It’s hard to be with hard things.
Our natural ‘go to’ response is to turn away from our discomfort and reach for distraction. Get busy. Tune out. Stay in motion. Always have the TV or radio on to fill up the space so it’s not just you and……..you.
The irony is that we’ll often show up for other people and help them through their hard times.
Yet when it comes to little ‘ol ‘us’, many of us abandon ourselves, especially when the going gets rough. We ‘check out’ in the very moments when we need ourselves the most.
Meditation can be a way for us to learn how to stay with ourselves, again and again, regardless of what’s going on. We learn to show up for ourselves just as we do with those whom we love.
Every time we bring ourselves back to NOW, we’re demonstrating a fierce loyalty to our own company. It’s the ultimate gesture of befriending ourselves.
Meditation is NOT about being self centered or narcissistic. It’s not about ignoring the importance of thinking of others and being of service to them.
It’s about learning to cultivate love and compassion for ourselves.
When we’re able to do this, we’re more available to extend love and compassion to others. We can actually be more generous, kind and present when we’re with them.
That alone makes meditation a rather worthy practice.
How does meditation help you? I’d love to know! I’m all ears. xo
P.S. Thanks mom, for inspiring this bite 😉