One of the first times I successfully meditated, it was so uncomfortable that I drove home and vowed never to try again.
I understood that it wasn’t supposed to be comfortable. Other people fidgeted. Other people struggled. But I had been determined not to be one of them. I would become enlightened.
Then, one day, the meditation teacher asked us to envision a lotus. This simple exercise is the one that drove me away from meditating for months. He described each petal, its color and asked us to hold it in our mind’s eye. Then we were supposed to inscribe what we wanted more than anything in gold leaf on the petal. His calm voice suggested “grace” as a possible option.
As I envisioned “grace” on the petal, the gold lettering disappeared. I wasn’t looking for grace, though I was determined to mimic the teacher and put it there. Something else within me conquered, and the word “enough” was written in blazing gold print across the petal.The Three Truths I Learned While Meditating Click To Tweet
This was the first truth about myself that I learned through meditating.
1. I want to be enough, and I don’t think I am
It was a truth that I buried in scholastic awards and new job titles. It was a truth that I countered by taking on every extra bit of work at my job, by running across the world to prove my worth. It was a truth that I couldn’t escape within the deep calm place of meditation.
It took me a long time to work through this truth and to let go of this belief about myself. I enrolled in a memoir class to delve into my psyche and find the source. I wrote about my childhood, my parent’s divorce and my endless and futile quest for perfection. My classmates didn’t always understand, calling me “ambitious.” I wasn’t yet ready to write that I was just scared. But every piece that I wrote cracked the way open a bit more, allowing the poisoned belief to flow out.
I also worked through this truth by meditating more. However, I was having a hard time keeping my mind focused, so I started listening to guided meditations. One day, my finger was drawn to a meditation by Sarah Blondin called “Loving and Listening to Yourself.”
From the first moment, I was crawling in my skin. She talked about how beautiful I was and how I should love myself. Finally, she asked me to say “I love you and I am listening” to myself. With my hand on my heart and the other wrapped around my stomach, I choked on the words, unable to say them.
This was the second truth that I learned about myself through meditation.
2. I don’t love myself
I used to get into arguments with myself at stores. Every time I wanted something, another part of mind would smack that idea down, claiming it wasn’t practical, the wrong size or it wasn’t my color. This negative voice followed me everywhere I went, and it took me a long time to figure out how to quiet it.
Again, meditation was part of the solution. I practiced letting go of negative thoughts. The image of thoughts as clouds racing above my head or leaves fluttering around me was helpful. I could see them and engage with them, but they weren’t me. When I was meditating, I was free of the voice that hounded me.
The next step was to try to let go of these thoughts in the moment, rather than in the safe space of meditation. I started to let go of these thoughts at Starbucks and when I was training my puppy or making dinner. Months later, I realized that I didn’t hear the voice so much anymore. It too was released. Self-compassion was more relaxing and less narcissistic than I ever realized.
Despite the stress of her guided meditations, I went back to Sarah Blondin’s audio files. Her voice opened my mind to the idea that there was a childlike version of me within, unencumbered by all my adult fears, sadnesses and anger.
This was the third truth I decided to believe about my myself, thanks to meditation.
3. There is an authentic version of me within
Deciding to believe that this was true was a comfort. I had spent my life seeking the “right job” or “what makes me happy.” The meditations told me that I could stop searching, sit back and allow my authentic self to come forth. She would show me the way (provided I let go of all the fears and crap that kept me from going that way in the first place).
It took me months to stop compulsively applying to jobs, convinced that this was “the right one” or the best one or the most practical one. Making decisions by my level of enthusiasm instead of cold hard logic was a big change for me. I was surprised to find myself picking out red outfits, and cute mini skirts, instead of the practical dark-colored and dull clothes that I had decided were appropriate for me.
Meditation Opens Your Eyes
Meditation may take you to places that you don’t feel comfortable or make you understand truths about yourself that you dislike. However, the experience builds up your resilience, provided you have the tools at hand to deal with the feelings. Guided meditations and writing are my favorites, but I’ve also gotten through bad days with karaoke and dancing. Trust that it’s usually better to know the truth, however painful than to keep wandering in the dark, not knowing.
About the Author
Kaitlyn Kelley is a freelance writer, technical copyeditor and a participant in too many Meetups. She quit her job as an aerospace engineer in 2015 to pursue her first love, writing. Now she divides her time among many loves, including her boyfriend, pets, and swimming.