I suppose you could say the meditation seed was planted when I was a child, about 10 years old when I started taking karate classes. We would meditate at the beginning and end of each class. While I'm sure, I did not fully grasp the technique and its full benefits, I still would sit there, cross-legged with my eyes closed sitting perfectly still. Because that what meditating was right?
Well, that was my first impression of it. I knew it was doing something, but I didn't fully understand what. At the end of the year, I went on to earn my black belt...so I must have done something right! I just didn't fully understand the correlation between meditation and achieving that goal until now.
The next year I went from being homeschooled to a new public school. Unfortunately, public school, especially back then, did little to incorporating meditation and mindfulness into the curriculum, so I felt out of my practice for the first time. I really struggled. Looking back now, I realize what a helpful tool it would have been as I battled the calamities of adolescence, high school, two exchange years abroad and college.
Thankfully, in college, there was 1 credit elective course in meditation that led me to rediscover its benefits. Here I was introduced to the power of guided meditations. And I found them to be wonderful. For putting me to sleep. So then meditation became a way for me to relax enough to fall asleep. Which was great, but still not quite the point of meditation.
Still, I meditated to that tape for a few years. But then that tool got lost in the toolbox as distractions and life intervened and I again, I fell out of my practice.
Then in my late 20’s, I decided it was really time to commit. After moving to a new state, making new friends, starting a new job, and really embracing my own transformation - I was ready but I just needed the motivation and the guidance to get started again.
Serendipity played her cards and introduced me to an enlightening meditation group lead by a down to earth, yet mystical, teacher who taught me about chakra based meditations. That is, focusing on the different energy centers of the body, primarily naval, heart and third eye. This resonated with me. I finally started to feel what meditation was all about.
And the more I got a taste of the inner peace and the balance meditation could bring, the more I looked forward to developing my practice.
I found that by committing to a group and by learning the techniques regularly it was easier for me to get excited and curious about meditation again. Now I find that I meditate both for fun and in times of stress. I’m more mindful and appreciative of little things like walks with my dog Lucky. I'm in touch with my own inner magic and more confident in my personal and professional life. My overall optimism and satisfaction with life have drastically increased. And I’d say those are some pretty positive side effects from simply closing your eyes and calming your mind.