The first time I meditated was eight years ago. I lit a candle, sat crossed cross-legged on my living room floor, and I lasted about 15 seconds. I fell over in frustration, trying to figure out what this Zen thing was all about. At the time, I was seeking solace wherever I could, desperate for some escape from the madness of my life. My doctor had just diagnosed me with depression, and I was suffocating in a career I no longer felt connected to. I knew I needed to commit to something to pull me out of my darkness. So I turned to yoga and meditation.
At first, I was a lot like a child learning to walk. The thought of meditating and finding peace within the chaos was exciting, but once I started practicing, it quickly turned frustrating, embarrassing, and even painful.
Even though I returned to meditation often, I never really felt connected to it. I was just going through the motions, because it was supposed to be a "feel-good" activity, but it was hard for me to take it seriously—until I reframed my definition of meditation.
Meditation is the practice of turning your attention to a single point of reference. For some, it could be zoning out on a pillow, but I found more peace in running, writing, and painting. Being in the moment and channeling my creative energy was the best form of meditation. So when I had the chance to do a meditation retreat in South Korea, I jumped. It wasn't until I did a traditional temple stay that I recognized the true life-changing benefits of meditation.
Here are the powerful truths I learned at my meditation retreat:.
1. Not everything in front of you deserves your energy.
Everything is energy. What we spend time doing and who we spend our time with is either contributing to our well-being or taking away from it. I learned the power of protecting my energy and owning my worth. Become more aware of your energy. Spend it only on what is worth your time. Your future self will thank you.
2. You get what you project.
What you focus on becomes your reality. If you want to manifest something that is not currently before you, like a more fulfilling career, a soul mate, or more abundance and health, focus on what you want. Most of us spend our time focused on what we don’t want. We say things like, “I want to find the love of my life,” but we think we will never meet someone because we have weight to lose, or we aren’t where we think we need to be in life. Look at what you’ve been focusing on and align your thoughts with the reality you want.
3. Everything happens for your highest good.
This is a hard truth to swallow, but if you think about your life so far, you will see that everything that has happened to you has really happened for you. The devastating setbacks helped make you a stronger person. Don’t let the difficult situations overshadow the lessons. Every experience is an opportunity. You are being groomed for the next phase of your life. Without your current struggles, you wouldn’t be ready to embrace what is to come.
4. It's all connected, but you don't have to know why or how.
Everything is part of a bigger plan. Everything you’ve ever done has prepared you for who you are today. It is all connected. And we don't have to know how or even why. We just have to trust in the universe’s wisdom and grace. When I was suffering from corporate burnout, I had no idea the skills I was learning then would be essential to helping me market my own business in the future. Nor did I know that I was surrounded by people who would become my clients—whom I helped find their own fulfillment.
5. What is meant for you will always find a way.
When life doesn’t unfold on our schedules or on our terms, we feel frustrated, victimized, helpless. These feelings are merely the result of your expectations being different from your reality. Everything in your life right now is there by design. What is meant for you will always find a way, in its own time. You can’t and shouldn’t force anything. Everything unfolds as it should.
6. To attract what you want, you must embody it yourself.
We have to become someone who can receive what we desire. Everything happens at exactly the right time—not a moment sooner. So instead of asking, “When will it come?” ask yourself, “What can I do to prepare myself to receive what I truly desire?” Just prepare yourself—that is your only task. So when your desire does come, you will be ready. You don’t have to know when it will come. You just have to trust that you will be ready.