Myths of Meditation
Meditation creates a powerful container for healing and growth. In one of these sessions where I actually felt peaceful, I realized how I have caused my own PTSD. Let me explain.
When I was in medical school for Acupuncture, Tai chi became my tool for survival. My husband and I both returned to Grad school with 3 kids ranging from age 1 to 7. Everybody people thought we were crazy. I guess I would have too, but it was another one of those times when the stars aligned to make this happen.
It was one of the most challenging times in my life. When I found Tai chi, I jumped in with both feet, practiced every day, and was the fastest person to ever learn the Yang style long form from my teacher, the lineage holder for the Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu. He offered a challenge to us one friday, to post (do still posture of tree pose) until you collapse, to see how much it will deepen your skill. I woke up early Saturday morning before class to complete this challenge.
I Succeeded (or did I?) and Proudly (ego!!) reported to him in class that morning that I did in fact post til collapse, and realized that I can just get back up, and still go to a 2 hour class.
But the next day, I started to feel the sting from ego. Did I really do it right? Did I fudge it? Did I do it good enough? So I went to do it again. and again. and again. Then I decided i would do it everyday for a month.
You can see the direction this went on. I was strengthening the wrong muscles.
So when it came time for crisis in my life with a child with cancer, I could not get myself to practice, for even a minute. Years went by, and every single day I felt so much shame. That I was a failure. The time I needed it more than ever and I was terrified to go to that space.
Fast forward 5 years ahead and I have learned and grown so much. I see the role of ego. I see that I had not succeeded, but that was the beginning of the downfall for me. See, on the surface you would think that someone who does tai chi 1-2 hours per day is meditating, but It is not about what, it is about the how. I realized that I created fear from traumatizing myself, and then I continued to beat myself up for it everyday, all day long.
I had created my own PTSD.
There are no bruises or broken bones to show for it, no support group to go to. It's just me in my meditative space. Now, sometimes I do Tai chi, sometimes I say my mantras. But sometimes I am listening to music, or laying in bed. Meditation is a practice to just be. Yes, you can have a focus like your breathe, a visual, a sound. But really it is just a practice (not a perfect) where you bring yourself back to the here and the now.
There are several myths about meditation that make it harder to approach. It is easier to create a meditation practice than you think, and I love helping people find the practices that suit them. Because as you have seen, I have done it the wrong ways, strengthened the wrong muscles of ego, pride, and the goal focus, AND I have learned humility, about healing and connecting to Spirit from this practice.
So many of my clients tell me that they don't meditate because
➢ They don't sit on a cushion
➢ They don't know how (they have not formally been taught)
➢ They don't have a teacher
➢ They get restless to focus on their breath
➢ Their mind is too busy
➢ They don't do it everyday
➢ They don't do it for more than 5 minutes
Do you resonate with any of these?
The Truth is:
⭐️ Meditation is really just creating space to connect to yourself.
⭐️ A space to just BE (without having to do, without a goal)
⭐️ You can do it anytime, anywhere, and in any position (Yes, even laying in bed.)
⭐️ You can do it in your own way, make up your own way
⭐️ It is a chance to reflect on our busy mind without needing to fix it
⭐️ It is beneficial, but not required to do everyday (not another excuse to beat yourself up)
⭐️ Even 1 minute is fine
Truly, to just pause for 1 minute, to return your attention to the here and now, and just be, where ever you are, however you are, this is all it takes. And yes, this can be meditation. It's not about looking like it on the outside, and then not doing it on the inside. I learned that the hard way.
So please comment and reach out to tell me, what's 1 fact about meditation that you needed to hear today?