What I learnt after 307 days of meditating

This is a post inspired by a friend who I taught Vedic meditation to last year. Last week, he wrote a Facebook post that said he had been meditating for 307 days. Someone then commented saying, "Tell us what changes you've noticed after so much meditation?" This is what he said (with a commentary by me to in italics after each one!)

1. I didn't have an "awakening". It was more of a nice little nudge towards calmness.

This is actually what awakening is. Awakening to your true nature of presence, calmness and vision. Awakening is usually a gradual process that integrates over time. There are many misconceptions around awakening, one being that it happens overnight with some grand AH-HA moment. As Vedanta teacher Mooji says, "The awakening of the Self does not usually happen in one whack. It is meant to be like that. There is a gradual merging of the ego-mind with the heart-mind through the yoga of perfect knowledge, and this expresses as the harmony of being. The mind has to slowly adjust to the atmosphere of the Self."

2. I realised how much I hated the words “namaste”, “zen” and “enlightenment”.

These words use to hold such power and presence. But these days, with the 'meditation-washing' of the media they're used in selling anything from face-cream to dog biscuits. You will however still find people in this world who are true embodiments of these words, and when you do, you will get it. Till then, speak what ever words float your boat!

3. It didn’t give me the urge to go out and buy incense or “fisherman’s pants”.

Turns out, neither of these items are required to meditate nor be a calm and happy human being. With Vedic meditation, you can do it anywhere, anytime, wearing anything from fisherman pants, to velvet flares, to a corporate suit... or you can wear nothing at all (just make sure you're not meditating in public). Meditation is an inside job and although a nice space, incense, crystals and comfy clothes can help create a nice atmosphere, they're not necessary for your progress in meditation nor life for that matter!

4. I realised how angry or agitated little things used to make me.

This is a huge benefit of meditation that most people wouldn't think of right away. But the truth is we are triggered on a daily basis, usually by a build up of small things that end up creating an underground pressure of irritation and agitation inside. In contrast, when you start meditating and giving yourself the time to release the pressures of daily life (e.g. dissolve daily stresses) you find you're not so irritated by the little things anymore. There is more space inside, less pressure, and you have the ability to interact with the situation rather then react. You may actually end up having a good laugh at it. And when you think back in retrospect, you'll realise how stressed your body must have been, to be triggered by such little annoyances that today you just don't care about!

5. I used to aggressively “BEEP” people on the road, now it’s turned into a friendly “beep beep” — ‘excuse me, please let me through beep’.

Kindness, understanding and compassion. These are the hallmarks of a non-stressed human. And it all starts in expressing these beautiful qualities in the everyday interactions of life. 

6. I fall asleep a lot easier. And I noticed I was getting up earlier. (I’m already an early riser).

Less stress in the body through daily meditation means that you don't need to spend hours trying to 'wind down' from your day. You find you can more easily fall off to sleep, get a good rest and wake up feeling refreshed. Possibly before your alarm goes off.

7. It helped to structure my day and kept me focused on everyday tasks.

Although we can hate routine, daily practices are wonderful for creating greater flow and stability in life. Instead of calling meditation a daily routine, a prefer to call it a 'daily rhythm'. Just like how the sun rises and sets each day, so too do we meditate to prepare us for the day of activity, and then settle us into the evening of rest time. Daily rhythms like meditation are what set us up for greater flow of awareness, creativity and energy to see it all through. 

8. Meditation in the morning worked better than in the evening for me.

The second meditation is always the more challenging one to fit in to daily life. Why? As a culture here in Australia, we're just not use to stopping throughout the day and resting. Unlike a nice siesta that our brother and sister countries may have, we just keep pushing on through. Making the time to meditate in the afternoon or sometime before dinner will be the most challenging part (the meditation itself is actually easy). But once you get into the habit of it, you'll find it quite addictive as that second session is where all the good meditation juice lays!

9. I realised the 20 mins I invested into meditation was not as scary I initially thought it was going to be.

Nothing ever is. It can be enlightening to reflect on what other ideas we have about life/ourselves that are just not true? And if we took the dive into the unknown how pleasantly surprised we may be.

10. It made me realised how little I knew about meditation.

This is my favourite. Because you don't really know what something is until you do it. And you do it repeatedly. Ideas dissolve in the light of direct experience.

Laura Poole