Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The beginnings of my journey with meditation
I'm no stranger to meditation, I used to do it every week at Yoga. I loved it, it was guided meditation so I wasn't really left to wander, my teacher's voice and guidance kept me on track. However I would only meditate once a week, very rarely would I practice on my own. In recent months I have been sporadically listening to a guided meditation on my ipod; it goes for about 45 minutes and I found that after the first few times of listening my mind was complaining 'this is so predictable' and my mind would then wander off, bored with listening to the same thing.
In the last month I feel as if I have been bombarded with suggestions to meditate. Yeah yeah I thought, good idea, intellectually I'm all over it. I have read the statistics, understood the psychology of meditation etc. As I've mentioned before, if I had $1000 for every time someone suggested I meditate I could afford a really amazing trip to Europe, greek islands included! The hassling started to wear me down and my wise one inside was asking why I wasn't listening. I did not have a good excuse. I wanted to be able to proudly state that I do meditate whenever someone suggests it, so I started.
My boyfriend's been doing a mindfulness course through work and has noticed that his daily meditation practice has brought about some very positive changes. I must say I have noticed too, he seems more positive and relaxed and I am enjoying the benefits of that. He's not usually someone to go on about things, he can be a man of few words, so when he started banging on about mindfulness I was surprised. I was quietly pleased that he had become so passionate about something as healthy as mindfulness and that I was not the only one in the relationship that would talk alot about a particular topic. At first it was ok, all the talk about meditation, but as he continued to ask if I was practising the meditation and I continued to feel like a school girl who was repeatedly turning up without her homework, I didn't like it. But the wise one inside of me was telling me to listen and would not allow me to tell him to shut up.
So every day for the past 10 days I have meditated, just by sitting still and focussing on my breathing, when thoughts come I return to my breath and let them pass. Sometimes the thoughts keep coming, often actually. On my third day I went into a beautiful peaceful space for part of the meditation and heard a voice inside saying 'ahhh, this is what it's all about'. That experience helped me to feel motivated to continue.
Aside from the peaceful experience whilst meditating I also noticed something else had changed; my mood. On my fifth day of meditation I noticed how happy and content I felt. It was so noticeably different because the usual feelings of anxiety that arise within were nowhere to be seen. It is a common symptom of hyperthyroidism to experience anxiety, in fact, if left untreated people can become psychotic. It happens because everything in the body is working too hard, the heart is beating faster and too much adrenaline is released into the body. Sometimes the feelings of anxiety are really hard to bear, and often the anxiety can lead to increased fatigue.However, something has changed recently and I am now feeling much more relaxed, I haven't noticed anxiety like I used to. I feel at peace with where I am and how I am. Worries about my health and future don't buzz around in my head and body like they were. I can honestly say that I have had times during the past few days where I have felt more relaxed and happy than I can remember in a very long time. I can just be lying on the couch watching television and notice these positive feelings and feel gratitude for how good I feel.
My circumstances haven't changed much in the last 6 weeks; I still have an overactive thyroid, I am still unsure what has caused it and when I will be well, I am still tired alot of the time, I still have low energy and I am still staying with my parents in the country instead of living life in Melbourne with friends and my partner.
However, the way I feel about all of this has changed, I no longer look to the future with fear. I can accept what might be without stressing over it, but I am also having positive thoughts and ideas for what I will be doing in coming months. These ideas make me feel excited and hopeful; while I still hold in my awareness that there's a possibility my plans will be delayed because of my health. It's not about disregarding reality or potential issues, it's about focussing more on the light than the dark and having the faith that I can do it, that I can manage this and I will be ok. I am not giving up and I am doing all that I can to support my healing. I am choosing to accept what is, whilst choosing sunny thoughts that help me to feel good in the now. There's no tomorrow, there's no yesterday, the time is always NOW.