Last week I passed the milestone of 365 days of daily meditation practice.
For the past year, I’ve meditated at least once a day although the duration has varied I’ve always tried to live my days mindfully.
I started meditating when I enrolled in an organised group mindfulness course. The original intention was that I wanted to improve my skills when it came to coaching and being present for my clients.
But also I knew there were things that I needed to know and understand about myself.
I felt like I was transitioning to my midlife and all the problems that came with that.
Who was I? Why am I here? What is my purpose?
After a year of meditation here’s what I have discovered.
Meditation isn’t a panacea
Yes, there are profound benefits and I continue to benefit. But meditation alone isn’t enough to change your life. Although the most significant changes came within the first eight weeks, I still needed to do further work.
You can, of course, implement a daily mindfulness practice to reduce stress and anxiety and leave it at that.
But if you want to do deep personal work, improve your performance and well-being then continuing to work with a coach, guide and teacher is also required.
The more you meditate, the more you uncover, and the more you need to bounce these insights off someone who can reflect them back at you.
I am more at peace with myself
I have realised that peace is an internally generated state of being independent of external circumstances.
The more I practice, the more I can feel this sense of peace growing.
It is a beautiful feeling, just being able to sit with yourself and have a quiet mind.
You can never get rid of thoughts. Thoughts still appear, but they are quieter and seem more distant.
Like they are being spoken by someone else from across an empty room.
If I want to pay attention to them, then I can, but most of the time they come and go of their own accord.
Most of the thoughts my mind generates are truly random
I can do an hour-long meditation and get no profound insights at all.
My mind will just produce noise, random thoughts and images will pop into my head that has nothing to do with my daily life.
A line from a movie I watched, a book I read, a memory from my youth, details of a meeting I had etc.
Other times my mind can be busy with work or life problems. When this happens, I wait and see if these subjects come up a few days in a row.
If so, I realise that these are things I probably need to take care of and consider. Either to do something about or to accept and let go.
I no longer suffer from ongoing stress or anxiety
Removing ongoing stress and anxiety has been one of the most profound benefits of meditation.
Once you increase the amount of time that you are spending in the present moment, you spend less time in the future worrying about what might happen.
Although I still get stressed and anxious, this is in reaction to events such as public speaking or right before a coaching session.
Feeling stressed and anxious at these times is normal and part of a healthy stress response. Stress from these events passes once I start speaking or start coaching.
Compared to long-term stress from ruminating or worrying, performance stress is part of your bodies natural response and does you little harm.
My purpose is to help people overcome their insecurities and emotional roadblocks
I realise more and more that I have a purpose to help people get in touch with their life’s meaning.
That I need to help my clients live lives of purpose and meaning.
It is so rewarding to see people grow and overcome their self-limiting beliefs.
To see them rise up and take control of their lives and to know that I played a part in that.
There is no better feeling in the world.