HOW MY MEDITATION PRACTISE CHANGED THE WAY I SAW AND TREATED MYSELF. It can do the same for you.
Prior to discovering meditation, my negative thoughts and feelings often had the driver seat in my vehicle of life. Deep down I felt powerless and trapped. I would often find myself in a vicious cycle of having a negative thought, experiencing a negative feeling based on that thought, behaving a certain way based on the feeling and then later having thoughts of regret for having taking a negative action followed by feelings of shame and guilt. I thought these negative thoughts and emotions were who I was.
I even had allowed my negative thoughts and feelings to define my identity. This cycle I was stuck in only got worse when I entered a toxic relationship. This vicious cycle of negative thoughts, negative feelings and negative actions only caused me intense pain and suffering in this relationship. This pain led me to seek ways to reduce my suffering. I turned to google for help. I can’t remember what exactly I typed into my google search engine but I’m sure it was something along the lines of “ How do I reduce my suffering?” and the search results popped up. Somehow, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program got my attention that day. Being an occupational therapist back then, I was looking for a program that was backed up by research and MBSR had tons of research references. I made the decision to sign up for an online MBSR course that day. I signed up for the program and got introduced to the concept of meditation. I was introduced to the idea of watching my breath, watching my thoughts, and watching my feelings as they arose.
What, I don’t need to react? I can just observe these thoughts and feelings and let them pass?
This was a new concept for me. At first it was extremely hard to practise. My mind didn’t want to quieten down. I wanted to engage with my negative thoughts and validate my thoughts and feelings. But over time I got better at observing myself and noticing my need to validate my thoughts and to form a story about what I was feeling. I got better at noticing when my mind wandered. I got better at bringing my mind back to my breath. Overtime, I started to realise I was not my thoughts or my emotions. I could just be the observer, observing from a place of kindness and non-judgement.
Gradually, I started adding meditations such as gratitude meditation and compassion meditation. I started to realise how an external event didn’t have to happen in my life for me to experience gratitude and love for myself and others. I realised I had a choice to feel these feelings. Just like I have a choice to give a story and engage with my negative thoughts and feelings, I can choose to experience positive thoughts and positive emotions. Compassion meditation helped me realised how critical I was of myself. I started learning how to radiate compassion to myself and other. I no longer could hold onto grudges for too long as I saw the pain and suffering in other individuals even when I had every reason to hate them. As my practise grew, my meditations also started to evolve. One day I added a white light meditation to my existing practise and imagined a white light passing through my body. I visualised my entire body transforming to white light and pure love. That is when I felt what the energy of love feels like. It was like no other feeling I had felt before. This was different. This was like a beautiful energy that filled every cell in my body, mind and soul and all I could do was smile. I felt at peace within. I had found my inner happiness and my inner peace. Nothing in my external environment had changed, I had the same stressors but something in me had changed. I no longer felted trapped. I was no longer under the control of my negative thoughts and emotions. I was free. I came out of this meditation and couldn’t stop smiling. That day I discovered who I was in my core. I was love. I am love and I radiate love.
My journey of seeking ways to reduce my suffering led me to meditation and today I use mindfulness and meditations as one of the therapeutic coaching techniques for helping my client’s transform their negative emotions and help them live in states of abundance. If you are new to meditation, I would recommend starting off with a simple guided meditation such as the body scan meditation. This meditation is great for resetting your body. Think of what servicing your car does for your car, that is exactly what body scan meditation does for your body. You can start practising a simple body scan meditation right away on my channel “rewiring minds”. This meditation was written by Jon Kabat Zinn and is an MBSR meditation that I’m guiding you through.