One of the biggest misconceptions about meditation is that it’s for people who are troubled, or are seeking something in their lives. Although this may be true, I want to ensure people know that meditation can be for anyone, and opens a door to more fully experience life. It brings us above the day-to-day stresses and worries when one might say ‘I just feel kind of numb in my life. Every day I face the same stresses.’
Here is a conversation I had with one of my students yesterday. She is a lovely person who people might say has a typical western society lifestyle. Married, 2 kids, an office job, and runs around constantly driving, cooking and just keeping up with her daily life. This shows how meditation can change our experience of life:
Student: “I didn’t know anything about meditation but felt I was open to it and curious. When I started the classes, my life certainly had some stresses – changes at work, and dealing with a bigger home renovation than expected, but generally things were going OK. But then in the past year some terrible things happened in my life – the death of my mom from pancreatic cancer and a car accident that killed my sister-in-law and my two young nieces.”
Me: “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about that. What is getting you through all this?” (because she was telling me this in a very strong, confident manner).
Student: “Doing meditation has been life-changing. It has helped me through everything and allows me to deal with it and enjoy the wonderful things in my life. I can’t thank you enough for teaching many different meditation techniques, and I’m just so excited, that I am constantly talking to my family and friends about it. I’m going to start getting my teen kids to try it. If I can get them started early, that would be such a big thing.”
It is difficult to capture the expression and enormity of this conversation for you in a blog post, but her story of how meditation has changed her life for the better is similar to many others I have had with others.
The key message here is that meditation is not just for people who may be troubled, it is also for anyone who wants to build the skills to enjoy life in a more meaningful way, and build resiliency so when life kicks sand our faces, we can take skilled action (meditation and/or mindfulness) to weather the storm.
She thanked me for showing her the path to a happier, more fulfilled life, but I applaud her for her openness, curiosity and willingness to do the ‘work’ to learn these life-changing skills. My life has also been changed in the same way.
I hope this had brought about some food for thought to anyone reading this.