I was a reluctant meditator. Actually, that isn’t accurate. I was resistant to meditation. I knew people that meditated. I read about the scientifically proven benefits of meditation. I had a regular yoga practice. But I somehow couldn’t get myself to the proverbial – or literal – cushion. Why? There were two main blocks for me. First, I felt like I didn’t know how to meditate. Once I sat down and closed my eyes what was I supposed to do? Which lead me to my other block. I feared the stillness and the silence. I came to meditation by way of my aforementioned yoga practice. With yoga I was drawn to the physicality of it – I love to move. There is no way I could just…..sit? However, after working with a health practitioner, I realized I had been living in a state of constant and heightened stress which meant my sympathetic nervous system was in overdrive. In other words, I was constantly in flight or fight mode and needed to engage in activities that would activate my para-sympathetic nervous system or the “rest and digest” function. It seems I couldn’t resist any longer.
There are two things that helped me with establishing a meditation practice. The first is Community. Like yoga, before I ever had an individual practice, I went to yoga classes. So that’s what I did for meditation. I sought out an experienced meditation teacher and found Pat Harada Linfoot. In her classes she offered, as she calls it, a “buffet” of meditations, so I experienced different types and styles and I choose what worked for me. Pat made meditation accessible. Also, I was surrounded by a group of likeminded practitioners of varying levels of experience. This community made an individual practice part of a collective. We supported each other and shared our experiences. And even though the classes are online, we cultivated a palpable energy.
The other gateway to a meditation practice for me was to focus on something tangible. And I found a practice that engaged my senses allowed me to remain grounded in the present moment. By taking classes with Pat, her voice guided me. I attended a sound bath, so there was almost no silence during practice. This I could handle! Pat also offered options alternatives to a traditional seated position: sometimes I would lay down. This isn’t typically a recommended position for meditation but it’s what I could handle. I needed to feel more of the ground beneath me. And sometimes I would walk as I needed to move. With the freedom to explore, I learned that meditation isn’t about doing in so much as it’s about being and thanks to this amazing community, I no longer feared silence or stillness because even when I practice by myself, I know that I am never alone.
My journey with meditation has led me to become a Certified Mindfulness Mediation Teacher and I am honored to be able share this practice with others. Join me on Our Meditation Channel on Friday’s in July at 12pm EST as I share a meditation practice engaging our senses.