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  • Find out Why Meditation Matters

    Find out Why Meditation Matters










    The first time I’d even heard of meditation, I’d signed up for a summer of college in Alaska’s backcountry.

    Picture this.

    It was early summer and the sky was light almost all night long. We gathered in the morning outside the hardware store where we studied and slept. It was a big grassy area and the teachers had us gather in a circle to meditate on a sense of place.

    It was wild there. Warm and quiet and WILD. I’d never thought about a sense of place before. I’d never taken the time to notice how a place made me feel.

    I’d never meditated either – or spent so long standing in silence. I’d never let myself be still enough to feel and notice what it felt like to feel.

    I remember feeling the sun on my face. The calm kindness of my teachers.

    After the first meditation of my life, they led us through a series they called Sun Salutations. Again, I was astonished by the power of moving my body in a slow, mindful fashion.

    Pausing to lunge on the earth and raise my arms to the sky. It was miraculous.

    It was a morning that changed my life.

    Fast forward to 2001. I’m at my first yoga teacher training and my teacher convinces me to try Vipassana meditation.

    Vipassana is the meditation practice (said to be) once taught by the Buddha. It’s a practice of self-transformation through self-observation.

    You sit, watch your breath, observe the sensations throughout your body. You learn to pay attention to what you feel and watch what happens in your mind as you observe.

    What I love most about Vipassana is that it means “to see things as they actually are.”

    To learn Vipassana Meditation, I spent 10 days in silent retreat. Sitting and noticing while watching my breath. Welcome, life-changer #2. Not only because I made it through the experience! (To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would.)

    It was the profound level of peace and calm I felt as a result of those 10 days in silent contemplation. It affected my psyche and opened my senses like nothing had before. It was better than drugs. Life felt clearer than ever.

    I felt alive, aware and unstoppable.

    Although I didn’t know it at the time, Vipassana gave me my first taste of non-delusion. Something I now think of as my lifeline to living a loving reality.

    This was the start of a journey that’s careened and swerved and evolved over time. Managing your mind is hard!

    There have been years when I couldn’t bring myself to sit still for more than 5 minutes. And months on end where meditation was my only salvation… the only time I truly felt peace and relief.

    Why You Should Meditate

    Meditation is the first tier of health in Ayurvedic medicine. The first step to actually living self-care.

    Regular meditators tend to be more self-aware, self-reflective, and in touch with how they feel. To look at, honor, and witness your emotions – your present awareness from moment to moment – that’s the absolute, fundamental first step to practicing Ayurveda.

    Using food as medicine, tonic herbs, and body care practices comes after you have a genuine pulse on how you feel.

    Meditation – conscious self-awareness – is the first stage of healing in Ayurveda.

    You should meditate because it’s genuine self-care. Meditation teaches discipline and detachment, and I’ve learned that both of those make way for freedom.

    Why I Meditate

    I meditate because it puts me firmly on the path of right action. It’s a demonstration of how much I care about myself and being connected with nature in such a profound way.

    What is it to meditate anyway? It’s to sit in the reality of existence.

    You cannot fail at meditation – it’s not an accomplishment-based activity.

    You’re simply paying attention to your present moment awareness. And to do that without judgment is an art and a radical act of self-love.

    Because sometimes what’s happening is pain, irritation, betrayal, impatience, distraction, anger, grief…

    It can be really hard to sit with what is.

    And sometimes it can be easy.

    But the willingness to be with “it” and yourself… that’s the magic.

    I heard a wise man once say,

    “there are only two mistakes you can make on the spiritual path. Not starting and giving up when things get hard.”

    When you are willing to sit still and listen to the truth that’s inside you – no matter what it is. That’s power.

    • Meditation helps me face every challenge of life. It gets me clear on what matters, and what doesn’t.
    • It allows me to redefine myself and my life at any moment.
    • Meditation gives me permission to sit with difficult feelings – to feel them, love them, to have compassion for myself.
    • It gives me permission to sit with bliss and joy. Meditation is a revolutionary act of self-love.

    For me (and I’m not a religious person) the goal of meditation is to ”be still and know.”

    I have everything I could ever need. I am here. I matter. I am grateful.