“Your life, all of your life, is your path to awakening. By resisting or not dealing with its challenges, you stay asleep to Reality. Pay attention to what life is trying to reveal to you. Say yes to its fierce, ruthless, and loving grace.” – Adyashanti
I was first exposed to meditation about 10 years ago.
I probably was exposed to it before that, but don’t remember hearing or learning about it until then.
I was experiencing a lot of anxiety in my life at the time.
It was debilitating at times, and significantly impacted how I showed up and experienced life.
To the point where I was experiencing physical symptoms as a result of it (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, weight loss, etc.).
When I got checked out by a doctor for physical symptoms, they told me that I was fine. Which made the anxiety even worse because I felt like I was crazy!
I tried most of the conventional Western medicine responses … medication, psychotherapy, diet, exercise, sleep, etc..
But… nothing seemed to touch the depth of where the anxiety was coming from.
I would get some temporary relief, but it never felt like the underlying cause was addressed.
At the time, I was practicing yoga and would feel noticeably better after spending just a few minutes in the Savasana position (aka corpse pose).
It piqued my interest in meditation.
I started asking around and received a phone number for a man who taught meditation and led sitting groups.
I attended one of these gatherings where we sat for about 45 minutes in silence before this man gave a short talk/teaching.
I don’t recall it being religious in nature, just some basic concepts about meditation.
I had never heard of the ideas that he was presenting… allow everything to be as it is, notice your thoughts and emotions, watch them rise and fall without judgment, allow what wants to come up… come up.
It was so foreign to me.
I had spent my life up to that point trying to control and manipulate my experience so as to not have certain experiences (those I disliked) and to have certain other experiences (those I liked).
But… I was up against a wall as this strategy for moving through life wasn’t really working for me anymore.
At some level deep down, I think I knew that I could only control a limited number of things (and most of what happened in life was largely out of my control) and this created a lot of anxiety for me.
I was motivated and open to trying something new… and the results I was experiencing from just a little bit of meditation were pretty profound.
So… I started meditating.
At first, it was only a couple minutes at a time. But as I started experiencing some of the benefits (more clarity, greater peace, increased well being, heightened sense of groundedness, I could go on and on), I started sitting more and more often and for longer and longer periods of time.
To the point where I was sitting most days for almost 3 hours (on top of working a 50-60 hour/week job). I would often get up at 3am in the morning to meditate.
The effects were so noticeable and dramatic in terms of how I was feeling and experiencing life that I couldn’t help myself from sitting.
It felt like my brain was being rewired.
That went on for about 3 years and then, suddenly it seemed, it felt as though there was no difference between the meditation and the rest of my life.
At this point, it felt as though everything was (and is) the meditation.
And with this, I lost the desire to sit.
Life became the teacher and meditation was always happening (whether I wanted it to or not!).
While I still enjoy sitting and will periodically sit from time to time (I have been drawn to sit more recently), it doesn’t feel noticeably different than what I experience throughout the rest of the day.
It seems there are endless opportunities to be an observer to the unfolding of life (not in a dissociated way), and be at choice in how I want to respond to what I’m observing (both the internal and external weather conditions!).
Yes… this is what meditation feels like to me these days.
And yet… sitting in a more formal style of meditation always supports me in connecting to this space… this space that holds and allows everything.
It is in this space where my worries and anxieties slip away and I remember what it is that never changes😉.
How about you?
What supports you in staying open to the endless opportunities (aka challenges😜) that life provides?
Are you paying attention to the opportunities that life is currently providing for your own growth, development, and awakening?
As always, in Ultimate Support of You!