40 Days of Meditation
"Our emotions, moods, and bad character traits are just temporary and circumstantial elements of our nature"
(Matthieu Ricard "The Art of Meditation", p.13)
My story with Meditation
It took me quite a while to get my meditation practice going. When I did my yoga teacher training in 2016, we had meditation every day and I found it so challenging. Sometimes, I would leave early, I felt uncomfortable seated for so long, I was bored, etc. After the training, I was not motivated to maintain this practice and I left it aside for several months.
So then, in February, after organizing my first yoga retreat (to read more about it, click here), one of the girls was using Headspace. Every day she took 20 minutes aside; she had brought her own meditation pillow, and would put her big headphones on. I admired her for being so determined and dedicated to her practice. She seemed so blissful and mentioned how she absolutely loves it.
Thinking back, I realized that meditation had been surrounding me for years. So I started to wonder: why haven't I been able to really practice it?
My trip to Nepal and Bhutan was coming up, where I would learn more about Buddha and his teachings, visit monasteries and temples, and be surrounded by a culture completely different from my own. I used this as my excuse, or maybe my motivation, to really try meditating.
I re-downloaded Headspace (I had done it before, so I tried it again) and did the free 10-day trial. Although 10 days is a nice way to initiate yourself to meditation, I knew that having the membership would help keep me going. Having a tool like this one makes it easier to keep the practice constant, especially when it is not a habit yet.
Now, I can say that I am on my meditation journey, and every day I learn something new.
Small meditation facts
First of all, meditation is NOT trying to blank out your thoughts. Let's face it, that is impossible.
As athletes train the body and muscles, every single one of us can train our brains. Meditation is a practice that teaches you how to "re-program and re-wire your mind". It is scientifically proven that different parts of our brains (like the hippocampus, the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex for instance) are al positively affected by a regular meditation practice. Repeated thoughts and actions create circuits in our brain that allow for the brain's function and structure to change.
With only 20 minutes a day, you can feel benefits like reduced stress and anxiety, reduced tendency towards anger, and increased attention, emotional balance, and inner peace.
Differences I have noticed after 40 days of daily meditation
- I am more relaxed, calm
- Situations, people, or things around me do not affect me so easily.
- A more positive attitude towards everything.
- If after only 40 days I can already observe these small, and yet important changes.... I look forward to discovering what else my meditation practice has to offer me.