Meditation: Getting Started

A Personal Experience of Meditation

By guest author Amy Pawlukiewicz who joins us from BeautyChaos.com. Much appreciation to Amy for sharing the following personal experience with meditation.

Lately, I’ve been on edge.  And not just, “Oh, I’m feeling a little funky,” edge, more like “If one more thing irritates me today I’m going to break something,” edge.  I’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on with me, as I’m usually a pretty level person.  And then it hit me – I haven’t been meditating.

Remember to MeditateNow, let me back up.  When I was first really introduced to meditation, other than just hearing about it peripherally as something monks and Buddhists did, I was skeptical.  I had a friend who meditated regularly.  She took classes.  She went on expensive meditation retreats for 10 days or more at a time.  She had some sort of guru who was guiding these classes focusing on pain and locating your. . . I don’t know, malfunction in life? Problems? Past life pain?

These sessions lasted for hours.  There was a lot of crying, sobbing, weeping uncontrollably involved.  Always done in groups.  We would go places, and she would have to excuse herself to go meditate in a corner for five minutes if she hadn’t practiced it that day.

I thought, “Wow, that looks terrible.  I am never doing that.  I will stay dysfunctional, thank you very much.”

All that being said… 

I have been a loyal yoga practitioner since I was introduced to it during a dance class in college.  I loved the feeling of getting through a class only to sit in Shavasana at the end, floating around in my thoughts.  But even knowing that the whole goal of yoga was to prepare your body for the meditation that occurs in Shavasana, I never equated that with meditating.  Mostly because I spent Shavasana thinking, and I thought meditation was about clearing your mind.

Not long ago, however, I found guided meditation – mostly thanks to the advent of the smartphone where there really is an app for everything.  I stumbled upon a meditation app for weight loss, and since it was free, decided to give it a go.

Now, this particular meditation was around 45 minutes long, which meant that I would often fall asleep during the sessions.   Not only that, but I couldn’t commit 45 minutes every day to meditating – not when I had work and exercising and auditioning and writing and cleaning and fill-in-the-blank other things to accomplish every day.

But here’s the thing: I felt meditation starting to work. 

  • I noticed my relationship with food changing.
  • Always being an emotional eater, I often turn to food in times of stress, sorrow, or discomfort.  But I found myself not feeling the need to do that as often.

So I decided to try some other subjects.  Insomnia – terrible, useless, paralyzing insomnia – runs in my family, and I did not escape.  It doesn’t happen all the time, but when a bout of insomnia hits, I won’t sleep properly for months.  I went searching, and found a sleep meditation app (of course).  And wouldn’t you know it, the meditations worked.  Not every night, of course, but between the breathing techniques, soothing voice of the narrator, and the sweet background sounds, my body would actually relax and . . . rest.

Fast forward a few years, and podcasts rise in popularity.  I devour them.  Since I live in Los Angeles, the city that never sees the end of rush hour, and work from home, I have a lot of space to fill.  Then one day I think, “Hmm, I wonder if there are any meditation apps.”  And sure enough, I strike gold.  There are tons of them.  Not only are there a plethora to choose from, most of the sessions are between 4 and 20 minutes long, focusing on everything from starting your day off right to dealing with anger to manifesting abundance.

Getting started with meditation is easier than you might thinkSo the next time I have a bit of time, I decide to try one.  And, like magic, I spend about 17 minutes floating around in a semi-conscious state, afterwards feeling deliciously relaxed and invigorated.  As I explored these podcasts, I found several dedicated to starting your day off on a positive note.  Sure enough, after a few days of waking up with these sessions, I could feel a difference in my day.  Little things didn’t bother me as much.  I didn’t feel so much pressure from every little task I needed to complete.  I could sleep. Things that seem small, but to me felt nothing short of small miracles.

There are things that I came to understand through my learning process with meditation.

  1. It doesn’t have to be painful.  It can be, but it doesn’t have to.  You could choose nothing but happiness meditations for the rest of your life if that’s what you wanted.
  2. It doesn’t have to be done in groups. I love my alone time.  Needing to be with a group of people to experience catharsis is not my cup of tea.  And it doesn’t have to be.
  3. You don’t have to be focused all the time.  Most of the audio I listened to touched on the tendency that thoughts have to wander, and stress that it’s okay.  They gently remind you and guide you back periodically throughout the session.

Bottom line – I think meditation can be whatever you want it to be.  If you long for sessions with a guru who guides you and delves into your spiritual pain, that’s out there.  But if you want something a bit less intense, that can be beneficial as well.  I’m happy to have found my path in the meditation world.  And I’m certain that if I can do it, anyone can.

Amy Pawlukiewicz from BeautyChaos.comAbout the author: Amy Pawlukiewicz is a beauty, fitness and health blogger at BeautyChaos.com. She grew up near Cleveland, Ohio before moving to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of becoming an out of work actor. When she’s not writing for her blog, she can be found reading thriller novels, chasing her many cats around, or annoying her very patient husband. She is a vegetarian, lifelong beauty junkie, and high-functioning insomniac.

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6 Replies to “Meditation: Getting Started”

  1. This information is so detailed that I found myself literally taking notes. This is so helpful for me because my mind is in constant chaos. I recently started mindfulness. I believe that this will keep me sane.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Marianne! I’m not an authority by any stretch of the imagination, but I find breaking meditation into bite sized pieces was manageable for me.

  2. Loved this more down to earth approach to meditation, I was so skeptical about it as well! I first tried meditating a while back and didn’t think it was for me because I thought you had to do it a certain way, but now that I know it can be much more flexible I’m actually pretty excited to try it out again- especially if there are podcasts involved!

    Julia

    1. I’m so glad you found it valuable! I felt the same way when I first started thinking about meditation, but I find that even 4 minutes in the morning makes a difference in my day. And 4 minutes, I can manage 🙂

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