The Resistant Meditator

Melissa Ostrosser Uncategorized July 7, 2021

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.