After the whole Eat, Pray, Love craze, like every other woman, I, too wanted to set off on some adventure that would take me around the world stuffing my face with all the pasta I could handle.
OK, so maybe I misunderstood the point of that book, and only as of late did I begin to give meditation any real due. As a Type A, I structure my life to provide control, rarely falling short of my goals because I worry needlessly and constantly over prepare.
So what if I grind my teeth and get regular tension headaches?
Despite that fact, I did recently take leave of my steadfast ways; I abruptly quit my office job with the overall intent on transitioning toward a career that didn’t make me dread waking up in the morning.
Then, true to form, I made a plan, part of which included joining a yoga teacher training. I fantasized that soon my days would be filled with a greater sense of meaning and purpose; I’d be so hot, start shopping exclusively at Whole Foods, and get to wear stretch pants to work every day.
Now despite my delusions, I actually do practice yoga regularly and have always enjoyed it, but my inner skeptic is never far and she usually does an enormous eye roll upon hearing the word “honor” thrown around and scoffs at suggestions that I should “meet myself where I am.”
Oh, also: I rarely see the benefit of a final resting posture because my mind, beyond relieved to have top billing again, begins buzzing through everything I missed during the last hour like a chatty girlfriend.
But with my once orderly life in upheaval and my sense of purpose faltering, the judgmental voice in my head had gone into overload. It seemed stuck on repeat—demanding to know what I planned on doing with myself and assuring me I had every right to worry I would fail.
Skeptic or not, I desperately needed to quiet my negative mind, and dare I say it, meet my critical, anxiety-ridden self where I am?
So I made a commitment to myself to meditate and stay positive every day for a month.
I began reading everything I could about Buddhism, positive thinking, and manifesting your dreams. Having always assumed meditation was only effective if you learned to control your thoughts and remove them from your mind at will like some swami priest, I didn’t see how I could possibly benefit from this.
What can I say? The cynic in me doesn’t go down without a fight.
Nevertheless, I made a vision board, created a list of intentions for myself, and also spent a few minutes every morning mindfully tuning in; mostly, I’d focus on what the new, ideal version of myself might feel like, look like, and do.
Then I’d try in earnest to keep my energy vibration as high as possible throughout the day, as if I already was that confident, successful girl. I’ll tell you, it was no easy feat protecting those tenuous positive feelings from my beast of a negative inner monologue, and it didn’t always happen.
Some days during the month, I felt energized, sometimes I felt calmer, and occasionally I felt frustrated because I couldn’t be sure this was anything more than a vain attempt at happiness. But, overall, what meditation actually revealed was that feelings arise and they go in a constant flow of dynamic energy. That, in fact, we are all made up of this same energy, as is the universe. And tuned to the right frequency, our energy could just manifest into some actual matter.
That makes our feelings pretty powerful if you think about it.
Now, I’m not turning into Buddha overnight, and certainly there were times during this foray into daily meditation that I felt discouraged, but I did notice that when I focused in on the good things I wanted in my life, and attempted to feel as though I already possessed them, good things began to happen in altogether surprising ways.
You could say the energy I was putting out was being met by similar energy within the universe. You could call it dumb luck. But whether you’re actually searching for an enlightened state or not, I think most can admit we want more for ourselves. Instead of staying on the same negative track, and holding yourself back, why not try challenging yourself to meditate on what you do want, rather than what you don’t?
You might just discover that amazing things are still possible.
How? Start with these three steps:
1. Visualize what you want for yourself in the future. Imagine exactly how it would look and feel to be that way.
2. Be real with yourself. Admit how you get in your own way and familiarize yourself with your tendencies to feed negativity.
3. Keep your energy vibration high. Anchor yourself each day more into that desired self by how you live your daily life.