The first time I meditated was not by choice. It was my first year of acupuncture school and I went into it with my very western mind. I had no interest in working on myself I just wanted to get my 4.0, my degree, and begin my career. I had no interest in becoming some New Age weirdo. I was very good at judging others and when I look back at the unhappiness that caused me, I cringe.
The school and the very nature of Eastern Medicine had requirements beyond my grasp at the time. I had to learn to walk the walk if I was going to talk the talk. I was supposed to be centered, present, and happy so I could give the best treatments possible and lead by example. My eyes rolled.
Sitting in the classroom with a teacher telling me we were going to meditate exasperated me. I was poised and ready with my notebook and pens and they wanted me to sit with my eyes closed, or stare at a candle, or listen to music, or do Qi Gong. I was paying thousands of dollars for this? I thought it was a waste of my valuable time. I loved the “I should” game back then and so while they told me to breathe in and out, I sat there thinking … I should be studying anatomy, studying point location, practicing with other students, making index cars, or doing my laundry.
They say there is no wrong way to meditate but I disagree. If you are not ready to take on meditation, if you are going to sit there and think about what a waste of time it is, you are doing it wrong. I know because that is exactly what I did for longer than I care to admit. Then, when I finally became interested in learning more about it I would sit there and think about how I was doing it wrong because I didn’t feel like I was levitating or having any major breakthroughs. It took me three years to really figure out that meditation is not about striving or putting yourself in a position you do not what to be in. It isn’t even something I have to do because I am an acupuncturist and all the other acupuncturists are doing it. Meditation is a tool, a process, and a learning experience. However, first mediation has to be something that you’re open to and actually want to do.
There are spiritual, physiological, and psychological benefits to meditation and now that I have invested some time in it I can tell you it is worth some investigation. There are also numerous ways to do it. I have been to meditations where you listen to rock music, soft music, guided imagery talks, singing bowls, body scans and sit in silence. I have been to food meditations, laughing meditations, screaming meditations, and crying meditations. I leave all of them feeling better than I did when I walked in. Finding the right way to meditate for you is important. For me, sitting in an uncomfortable yoga position for four hours isn’t something I am willing to commit to, especially after I tried it. However, ten minutes a day sitting in silence or listening to soft music is enough to help me start my day from a state of peace and helps me to stay present and focused. I have found the right way for me and I hope this writing encourages you to explore for yourself. Books, CDs, articles, classes or even videos on YouTube just might help you find the right way for you.