Let’s start by me telling you I wasn’t a great meditation student in the early days of my practice. In fact, I was sort of reluctant and (ahem…) crabby about it. I once a asked a pretty well known author and meditation mentor something like: “Why wouldn’t I just crochet instead…I don’t see why I can’t do something active…”. In a room filled with devoted followers of said guru…
Let’s fast forward to two of my experiences in the last 20 or so hours…
Last night I had a (long story short) TERRIBLE time driving home. Wintery weather + darkness + no reliable GPS + anxiety… At one point I was just going to leave the car in a ditch and take my chances walking the 6 miles to my house.
Then this afternoon I had to have an unpleasant medical exam lasting about 30 minutes. I found myself slipping into a panic attack, confined in an MRI machine.
OK, here’s how the Power of Practice (capital letters!) saved my butt…because I choose to practice meditation many times each week I have a strong foundation on how to control my breathing, slow my heart rate, and make more clear decisions. I can become much more reasonable about any situation with which I find myself. I can remember that time passes and situations (such as being stuck in an MRI machine) aren’t forever. I can control my urges of fight and flight.
The take away:
PRACTICE MEDITATION EVERYDAY, in the small moments where you don’t NEED to calm down or reset. Practice when it’s easy in order to make your “meditation muscles” strong when times are tough.
Easy peasy: Breathe. In then out. Then out again. Do it with the intention to slow your heart rate and hamster wheel mind. You don’t have to get all fancy with cushions, candles, and memberships to apps. Those things are nice, but not necessary.
I am so very grateful my meditation muscles kicked in during these stressful events. I hope you find the practice useful too.