Meditation: The Real Reality TV
I am about to complete two meditation series that I offer at Yoga Yoga, and as these series come to an end, I have time to reflect on what this practice has meant to me personally. Meditation for many may be a bit anticlimactic because often the experience is very far from the peaceful pictures we see on magazine covers. Despite the numerous, touted benefits, we may meet what feels quite messy, scattered and anything but peaceful. Thankfully years ago, I was intrigued enough to persist beyond this initial experience. I have always been interested in the potential of the human spirit to persevere amidst great challenge, and meditation seemed to offer a path for exactly this kind of exploration.
Meditation has been a way for me to stay the course even when things begin to feel shaky, uncertain and even scary. It has been a daily act of courage to simply sit with all the nature of thoughts and emotions moving through me, especially when they feel uncomfortable. Prior to meditation, I didn’t have many tools to navigate life in a way that felt skillful. It is still a work in progress, but instead of withdrawing or wallowing, I find that I am more willing to stay and feel all the ways in which life shows up. Practice has strengthened my faith in trusting that every challenge is an opportunity to grow, even when the way won’t be fully realized for some time to come. I find it less daunting and instead more refreshing to take a real honest look at myself. Though I am not a fan of reality TV, meditation is almost like having your very own, wholesome reality TV show everyday. It is time to get up close and personal, and with practice there is a little more room for all the imperfections. I still get caught up in judgement of all kinds, but I am more inclined to catching myself and feeling the separation it creates sooner rather than later. The more I dive in, the more I see all the ways in which I might still remain guarded, and I know that awareness itself is enough to motivate change slowly and steadily. Paradoxically, it’s the places that we tend to guard that turn out to be the places where we hold our deepest beauty, love and vulnerability. All of this together is enough encouragement for me to hold life both sacredly and lightly. The more I show up consciously, the harder it becomes to take everything too seriously or personally. Lightness and a sense of humor might be one of the sweetest benefits of meditation. Thankfully, it turns out that the mellow, contemplative side of me has a pretty quirky and comedic counterpart.
More than anything, I have found that the human spirit is vast beyond words. There are numerous examples of this in history, but meditation helps me see that this spirit is alive in each of us, not just in the heroic figures we read about. The Buddha said that he would not have taught these methods if it were not possible to live from a place of clarity and love. Whether this is apparent everyday or not, I am inspired enough to keep on exploring and trusting in this beautiful and deep potential.
“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” ~ Pema Chodron