I can imagine when you see that title you’re thinking that this will be another one of those boring blogs about how meditation has changed my life…. well, you’re hopefully going to be surprised… please, read on.
You see, shock horror, I don’t meditate.
That’s it, I’ve come out and said it. This person who is on a spiritual journey of self discovery and healing does… not… meditate. Or at least not in the way we are told we should by almost every expert on spirituality, psychology and self development*. I don’t practice mindfulness, transcendental, Osho, Buddhist or any other style designed to quiet the mind and create distance between me and my emotions.
I have tried, I assure you, I have tried. And there have been moments when sitting in my room I have found wonderful peace, but more often than not I have found that the silence simply makes the noise louder and my stress levels rise. I’ve more often than not come out of those moments of seeking peace more anxious and filled with self hate than when I went in.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have read about meditation, I understand that this is the early stages and I completely accept that there is a theory that if I stuck with it I would come out the other side and find myself staring at the moon over a lake of tranquility. It is possible that if I was carefully instructed to move through this process I could reach amazing states of mind. Or would I?
I’ve just been listening to an interesting program on Radio 4 called Out of the Ordinary – Mindfulness and Madness and it has confirmed some of my suspicions regarding this new fashion of mindfulness and meditation; that it is much more complex than we are being told.
Despite my own experiences and the studies mentioned in the program I do actually believe it is a powerful tool… for some. I also believe that with the right tuition more people can gain a lot from it, but I also believe that for some it is a pathway to more problems than healing.
For me meditation is a tool in a toolbox, just like my Bach Remedies or any of the other healing modalities available. It works for some but not others. The problem is, like every other time a new fashion comes along, it becomes unacceptable to admit it doesn’t work for you. Just like when Reiki became popular and was thought to be the magic bullet that would heal the world, for some of us we just don’t gel with it. And you know what, that really is ok.
So, if you are one of those people that wants to progress on your journey but find meditation far too challenging, rather than feel pressured to do it anyway or bad because it must mean you’re a failure, just accept that you are different, and that is ok. Look for other tools that can be used to help you find peace. I find journalling to be greatly beneficial, others use running, singing, dancing, or crafts as ways to quiet the mind or seek objectivity of their thoughts. This is your path, walk it your way.
There may be a time when I am in a place where I will try again. I am not discounting it’s benefits at all, just for now though I am going to accept myself as I am and reach for my journal rather than my meditation cushion.
*For those that are aware that I run a meditation group and think that is crazy, bear in mind that what I do work with is guided visualisation which is also often called meditation but is something quite different.