Today, during my meditation, I was reminded of two sides of the meditation coin.
The first being that the practice of meditation enables me to become present and aware of each moment and what comes up in each moment (emotionally, physically, etc).
The second is that, meditation, while enabling me to become more present, also allows me the opportunity to practice being less judgmental and less critical about “WHATEVER” comes up in the moment. I can’t practice being more aware, and then get upset at what I become aware of in the moment.
- My mind might be running a thought race that morning. That’s ok, be aware of the thoughts, and let them go.
- I might be aware that I’m extra anxious. That’s ok, be aware of the anxiety.
- I might be annoyed at some discomfort or pain in my hands. That’s ok, feel into the discomfort in the hands.
It’s not about getting rid of the thoughts, or the feelings, or the experiences, but rather being present and judgement free IN those thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Those experiences are real after all. They are reality. We don’t need to allow them to control us, however, we can let them stand on their own, as reality, as a true experience. Let them be as they are. Then choose your path from there.
Life is, after all, lived in those moments, and if we are continually judging or criticizing those experiences as negative or bad, then we are missing out on some bits of life that we may need to pay more attention to.
- Thoughts happen. All the time. They are only thoughts. Just notice them.
- Anxiety is real. It’s a very real part of the human experience for many of us. Don’t ignore it, don’t numb it. Pay attention to it.
- Pain and discomfort are apart of every humans life at points in the jourey. Be with the pain or discomfort. Be aware when it happens.
Avoiding the anxiety or discomfort can actually lead to more prolonged discomfort or pain. However, getting closer to the discomfort can actually help it become more tolerable and less powerful on us.
I remember when I began my journey into meditation. I remember being fascinated and excited at the thought of being more present and aware of my life in the present moment. What I didn’t expect was that if I opened myself up to the possibility of being present to the joys and pleasures of life, I was also opening myself up to the pain and discomfort of it. It has taken a lot of practice to be ok with this, and to then lean into the discomfort. I now find I can be in the pain or discomfort more fully and once I am able acknowledge it and pay attention to it, the experience moves on or subsides as many experiences do.
After about 2 weeks into the class, I came back to class and confusingly mentioned to the instructor that I was anxious in nearly all moments of the day. That all I seemed to be able to notice was my anxiety. She kindly smiled and exclaimed, “Aw, then your meditation practice is working, keep going with that”. She expressed that the anxiety was already there, and that my practice was allowing me to become more aware of the anxieties in my life, and that instead of simply numbing or ignoring or praying away the anxiety, I needed to stay with the anxiety and lean into the experience in order to go through it. I now manage anxiety much better.
Everything is ok.