Our newest team member of Bali & Beyond talks about her first experience with Meditation and how different it was that she was expecting…
I was 27 years old, 2 weeks into a 6 week drug and alcohol treatment program. I laid on a yoga mat in a room full of 20 other women trying to seek recovery from addiction. This wasn’t an intervention type situation, I had voluntarily checked myself into rehab. There I was, not having had any drugs or alcohol for 5 months, absolutely batshit crazy.
I’m not entirely sure why I pictured myself levitating anytime someone mentioned meditation, but the correlation was there. Hippies, yogis and yuppies, that’s who I thought meditative activities where for. I certainly wasn’t any of those… I was an alcoholic, drug addict, depressed loser with OCD and an anxiety disorder. Beyond the help of “meditation”.
Why was I willing to put all my skepticism and prejudice aside for the next 30 minutes? Because I was desperate. I had hit a low so painful that I was willing to try anything to stay alive. On Saturday November 30, 2013 I surrendered to the fact that I was completely powerless. The journey to serenity is hard work, and in that moment, the hard work was setting aside what I thought I knew about meditation. I worked those next 30 minutes like my life depended on it, because it did.
A beautiful counselor sat on a chair in the front of the room and proceeded to guide us through the meditation. It was a mixture of a recordings and readings all designed around becoming mindful. Before I was halfway through I could no longer feel any tension in my body or mind. For the first time in years I felt peace that wasn’t induced by drinking, drugs or spending money. I felt the connection between my mind and body, but also the separation. I wasn’t hypnotized into being under someone else’s control like I had always imagined, I was the most in tune with myself that I had ever been. I was so calm that I cried tears of relief.
Losing my meditation virginity went a hell of a lot better than losing the real thing. Lasted longer too :). Contrary to my presumption that I would levitate, the only thing that was elevated were my thoughts. Lifted out of grave of anxiety, I went to sleep that night without having to review every single thing that I had said and done 5 times to try and calm the impending sense of doom I usually felt.
Today, meditation is a key ingredient in my recipe of sobriety, peace and happiness. Everyday it takes on a new form and meaning. Sometimes I lay on my meditation lounger and put on a guided YouTube video or play a song over and over again until the lyrics become a part of me. Other days I sit in nature, quieting my mind until the flames of the campfire or the babbling sounds of the river are my entire world. The best thing about meditation is that it grows and evolves with me. My religion or lack of religion does not dictate what my practice is. Meditation is and will always be, personal to me. Not everyone will have the dramatic effects take place at once. Some days I can’t connect, I can’t get that instant mind expansion that I so badly need. But I know that it’s not the meditation that isn’t working, it’s me.
So don’t knock it until you try it, and I mean really try it! You might just be as surprised as I was.