I’ve always hated meditation. Did I seriously just say that? On MindBodyGreen? Yep. I’ve always hated meditation.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve meditated. A lot. And I’ve led plenty of meditations. I’ve advised even more people to meditate. But I’ve hated every part of it. No matter how long I mediated or how into it I got, there was always something wrong. Something that just didn’t feel right.
So I thought about it. In fact, I meditated on it. (How meta is that?ˆ) And I came to find a hidden root — my most frightening confession yet: I’m a total perfectionist, and my self-worth has been based on doing, not being.
See, I may come across as that laid-back, happy-go-lucky hippie — and don’t get me wrong, I totally am. But on a deeper level, I’m always doing, always striving to be something more. To be frank, meditation has nothing to do with doing. If you’re doing it right, you’re just being.
I spent the early years of my life doing as much as possible. Even in college, I worked full-time while attending school. I was a Dean’s List student interning at the top agencies in the world. By 22, I was a part-owner of an emerging PR agency. I had a booming social life and a wide network of friends.
On paper, it sounded pretty good. But it wasn’t enough. It was never enough, and it really wasn’t me. I’d so much prefer to act goofy and corner people into deep talks about life. Strange, I know, but just go with it.
But I never thought that who I was could be enough. So even when I changed my entire life and became a hippied-out health coach, I still couldn’t just be. It was all about giving another talk or building up my website or studying more and more.
Thankfully, I’m surrounded by brilliant people who inspire me every day. One of my friends told me that I’m most impressive not when I’m accomplishing the world, but when I’m passionately talking about life. When I can’t control the volume of my voice and my Italian hands fly around wildly. When I’m being. When I’m me.
I sat with that idea for a while, that just being me, without trying, is when I’m inspiring people the most. That’s when I’m able to contribute my part to the world. When I strip myself of all of the doing and just exist as myself for a moment. When I get so lost in a passionate speech that I forget to impress people or talk about my achievements. When I’m just Mike Iamele.
I think we live in a culture where insecurities run rampant and where your life’s worth is often measured by your achievements. But when you slow down for a moment and are accidentally yourself, that’s when your real gifts to the world shine through. It’s not in the million-dollar business deals that we're worthy; it’s in the intimate conversations with friends and loved ones, family and soul mates.
I often think about the seed that doesn’t know how to do. It just sits there and trusts the wind to blow it to where it needs to go, and the sun and rain to help it grow. It trusts that it already has in it the infinite wisdom it needs to become a 100-foot tree. It doesn’t need to do — not even for a moment. It just needs to be.
Stop for just a moment. See what it is that you contribute to the world every single day. Not in the big, impressive gestures, but in the overlooked miracles. How you know just what to say to change your partner’s bad day, or how your joke makes a friend laugh.
We truly exist in the moments when we forget to try, because it’s impossible to try to be yourself. If you’re trying, you’re being someone else.
Now, when I meditate, I let myself stop for a second. I give my mind and body permission to just stop. For just a little bit. To slow down and just be.
Because perfection is nice, but I’m not perfect. And being me is just a little bit better. Don’t you think?