Tomorrow, May 18 will be 200 days of daily, consistent meditation for me. When I turned 30, I decided (among other things) that I would make it a priority and take action on incorporating a daily meditation practice, rather than just continue to read about its benefits. It also happened to be the first day of another Oprah & Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experience. I do love when everything lines up just right; no excuses now!
Before getting into meditation, I began my self-discovery journey in grade school. Oprah and Dr. Phil were among my favorites then. That was, of course, before Dr. Phil morphed into a dialed down version of Jerry Springer. I loved his no-nonsense approach to “getting real” with yourself. As he said oh so often: “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge!”
In college, I was introduced to Louise Hay’s books, which are still some of my favorites today. You Can Heal Your Life is a staple in most self-improvement lovers bookshelf. Louise introduced me to positive affirmations – i.e. “I love and approve of myself,” and the concept of how your thoughts create both your reality and “dis-eases” in your body. Her style is, again, straight to the point and simple – which makes it easy to understand and incorporate in your day-to-day life.
In 2008, I was fresh out of college, working my first full-time job and I began reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Oprah selected it for her book club and held a 10 –week online course with Eckhart himself. I remember reading the book in my car during my lunch break at work. A New Earth is a tougher read – not the kind of book you can fly through in a day or two. You have to really read each sentence and let them sink in and resonate. While it’s difficult to summarize the book in a few words, one of the most important concepts it teaches is how the “Self” is a mind created concept; separate from your true being and largely fueled by your Ego. It also reinforces the importance of being in the present moment, which Eckhart wrote about in his first book The Power of Now. He writes, “As you surrender to what is and so become fully present, the past ceases to have any power.”
Between 2009 and 2015, I became more interested in meditation. My first introduction was from Deepak Chopra in his 21-Day Meditation Experience with Oprah. It is really great for beginners, since it combines positive affirmations and spiritual insights with a brief pause for meditation – under 10 minutes. Meditating is tough at first, especially if you have done such a good job (like myself) at burying your feelings and emotions. Most times I was done after about 5 minutes.
Other than the meditation challenges and the occasional new book – I would say that I became somewhat stagnant in learning new material, and rather tried to incorporate what I had already learned. During some particularly stressful times, I would listen to positive affirmation CDs by Louise Hay.
Finally, on my 30th birthday in 2015, I went all in. I quit my job, and was committed to a new meditation practice and way of living. I decided to take charge of my life. After completing the 21-Days of meditation, I searched on YouTube for other meditations I could do each day, and went back and forth between simply 10 minutes of music and guided meditations by The Honest Guys. The visualization exercises and music really help me to stay focused and not wander off in thought as much.
I then started to learn about chakras and chakra clearing meditations. Chakras are very interesting to learn about. After my experience with them, it’s hard to believe that they are not more well known in the modern day world. For a quick overview – chakras are the seven energy centers in our bodies. They are each represented by a color and perform a specific function in your well-being. If one is blocked, it will cause issues in that area of your life, or a health ailment in the associated area of your body. Click here or here for more information. In addition, below is a picture depicting the chakras:
My current meditation involves centering myself and checking in with each chakra. I visualize its color and see its energy spinning (for me – counterclockwise). I have learned that it is important that they all spin in the same direction. I might also say an affirmation or two with each chakra. For example, with my Throat Chakra I will say “I express my truth with ease and with love.” With practice, you should be able to tell which chakras are more blocked than others. I then surround myself with a white light and a violet light, and visualize life working out in a positive and fulfilling way.
I usually meditate each day around 1:00. Obviously that is not always possible, so I remain flexible. Sometimes, I will grab a few minutes in my car or even a bathroom stall to at least center myself. I find if I don’t, it is much harder to get through the day. When I meditate I am calmer, can think more clearly, and have a better connection to my intuition. Meditating has become as much as a necessity to me as is sleep. It has changed my life for the better in so many ways.
Now, if you’ll excuse me..I have a date.