While life is busy happening, unfolding all around you in rapid succession, I know all too well that it can start to feel like your recovery is at a standstill.
Somedays, your progress won’t be so evident.
It begins to get frustrating that while the world around you is flying by, you feel stagnant in the torrent. I assure you, you aren’t! Ever consider meditation?
Have you ever noticed that while a wound is healing, it itches?
The itch, though obnoxious and tempting to scratch, would undo any progress you’ve already begun to heal. Don’t tear open that scab! I know it’s hard, and things are happening to everyone around you, while you are feeling stuck in this recovery mode. Trust me when I tell you, that feeling is the recovery working; it’s clear proof that you have made progress.
This is the crucial moment when most people dig open the wound, making it bigger, causing the scab to grow to a gash that will ooze and fester into other aspects of your life. Just let it continue to heal, monitor and care for the wound and change the bandage to fit.
If you know how to, and apply it, meditation can be the salve that soothes the itch. You shouldn’t be afraid to access this relief. To my knowledge, no one has died from meditation, though I feel inclined to fact check.
(3 minutes later)
Well, I suppose you learn something new every day. Two people, in fact, have died of meditation in Sacramento California in the early summer of 2017 while attempting to meditate while submerged. I fall asleep half the time I try to meditate, so I would STRONGLY recommend you NEVER meditate while
- Near open flame
- Submerged or otherwise engaging in water activity
- Driving or operating heavy machinery
Barring some unforeseen accident, or you decide to attempt to superhuman meditate, you are probably safe to practice it as much as you want to without any real negative side effects. Of course, when I mention meditation, I have literally been met with every resistance possible. Just to name a few:
- “I don’t have time”
- “It’s too hard”
- “I believe in God, I’m not spiritual”
- “I tried it once, it didn’t do anything for me”
Debunking the excuses!
Well, let’s start with perhaps the biggest misconception about meditation. It’s not religious. Yes, it started as a Buddhist exercise, and they perfected many of its practices.
Though I’ve read even more articles and books on Buddhism as a partnering belief in any religion you already have. It’s not meant to replace, but to enhance the belief system you currently have in place. It isn’t a spiritual substitute as much as a vital tool. Whether you identify with Buddhism, Christianity, or even Atheism, the benefits of meditation on your brain are apparent.
1) Meditation is Medication
The Science of Meditation psychologytoday.com is just one of the many, more scientific explorations into the benefits of meditation and the positive effects it can have on your body, including the reverse of heart disease. The article goes on to describe test patients whom, after practicing meditation for a seven-week period “had more energy and less heart and gastrointestinal problems” than the group which did not meditate. Tests and studies on the body aside, the mental benefits have been almost commonplace in other regions of the world.
The bottom line is, whether you know it or not, your brain is STILL a sponge. It absorbs everything, literally EVERYTHING going on around you. Consequentially, it files it into levels of importance; conscious and subconscious. Some studies guestimate that your brain consciously and subconsciously bounces around nearly 70,000 thoughts a day.
Most of that is stuff you don’t need but it still gets absorbed and filed without you knowing it; a conversation about shoe sales between clients behind you at your desk at work, the unicorn named Bubbles attending your children’s imaginary tea party in the room down the hall, the announcement over the grocery store intercom about “Jerry we need you at the front please. Jerry.”.
Every single bit of that gets absorbed and filed in your brain. Albeit, most of it goes directly to the ‘recycle bin’, it gets stored.
All this time your sponge keeps absorbing, and sorting, and ‘recycling’.
…or does it?
Without meditation, that recycle bin just grows like the junk folder of your inbox you forget about for a week and before you know it, 99+ messages of how to downsize your student debt and apply for a home loan in one fell swoop, and the money you are about to inherit from a relative in a country you’ve never heard of inundating and overwhelm you. YOU DON’T NEED THIS CRAP!!!
When you meditate, you begin to wring out some of that excess mess you’ve been picking up along the way that you didn’t even realize you were retained; and it’s not even yours, to begin with! You begin to sift through and actually dump that recycle bin, giving you mental clarity and peace of mind, you didn’t know you were seeking.
2) Meditation not Social Media
The next main obstacle for people is the time factor. In all fairness, most people who have never tried meditation don’t realize how simple and quick it can be once you know what you are doing.
Meditation is like that winding dirt road to your families old cabin. No one has driven down in years so the tire tracks are overgrown with plants, and you aren’t exactly sure if you are going in the right direction the first couple times you visit.
It isn’t even until you pull up into that driveway that you even realize you’ve arrived. Before long you are making more frequent trips, so frequent in fact, no one thinks twice to wonder where you will be on the weekends. You begin to miss the cabin on days you can’t make it, and before long you can drive that old backroad with your eyes closed and nothing could keep you away.
If that doesn’t compel you to at least try meditating, think about these two last point’s I will make about your time, and sparring some for some positive meditation.
- How much time do you spend on Facebook on any given day? Please don’t ever argue that you don’t have time for something if you post 20 different updates on Facebook daily.
Whether the above does or does not apply to you, the next question is this
- How much of your life have you already wasted on this addiction that did nothing to better your life? For me, the answer was more than 7 years. 7 years, of daily abusing myself, nightly torment, and I used every excuse in the book to justify that….so why couldn’t I find a reason to benefit myself by meditating 15 to 30 minutes a day.
3) Meditation takes practice
The last, and possibly the most valid of the above-mentioned reasons I hear for not meditation, is simply ‘it’s too hard’. Which is true, especially if you have never done it, and you really don’t know how.
Though one of my dearest friends watched a video online and successfully changed her sparkplugs so, I have faith that you can, left to your own devices find some of your own resources to help you in this journey.
Meditation is not a blanket solution, one size fits all, this is how to do it and this is the only way. There are many guides, classes, articles, and audio aids that can have specialty focuses; self-compassion, empowerment, clarity. Although once you find your network, it can be as simple and as routine as your morning shower, and just a necessary.
Ready to give it a try?
An excellent site, MindBodyGreen.com focuses on many of these aspects of meditation and different outlets to explore. Including views on mindfulness and meditation by Light Watkins who aims to bring meditation to the forefront of everyone’s daily routine.
Along with FragrantHeart.com, which offer some free tools to help you get started on your meditation journey, no matter what you are going through, addiction or not, I have no doubt that you will find what works for you.