My meditation journey started about three years ago when I was going through a chaotic, intense period in life. I was getting ready to quit my marketing job in Paris to discover what I really wanted to do in life. I had no clear sense of direction as to where I was heading; all I knew was that my gut was telling me that it was time to leave my well-paid job and a city I'd called home for the past two and a half years.
It was a bit stressful, to say, the least, and I knew I needed a strong coping tool. But as I took my first trembling steps toward embracing meditation, I felt crazy. My thoughts wouldn't stop firing no matter how hard I tried—my mind just raced on and on. But slowly, I found that by meditating every morning, I was able to deal with the upcoming fears and uncertainties in a more practical, less emotional way. Don’t get me wrong, I still had many moments of doubt and fear, but I was able to come back from those moments a lot more quickly.
Since then, I’ve pretty much kept with it. I’ve skipped my practice a few days here and there, and I’ve also had periods, like that month I spent in an ashram in India, where I meditated even more. Then, a few weeks ago, I just stopped. I told myself I didn't have the time to prioritize mindfulness, nor was it necessary. I felt stable in my mood and life, so I didn't feel like I needed meditation in the same way I once had.
At first, I didn’t notice much difference. But slowly, stressful moments seemed to appear. I thought that it was a period that would soon pass, but as the days went by, I felt like I was increasingly losing control—like things were happening to me instead of for me. When I was meditating regularly, I was able to respond instead of react. Before, I had space between myself and my thoughts. Before, I could notice if a thought derived from fear or love and then choose how I wanted to perceive the situation.
Here are three things I realized when I stopped meditation.