It’s been almost a year since I’ve posted on my meditative practices, and over the course of that year, I’ve received a lot of comments and messages about bringing it back. It brings me so much joy to know that there are people out there that I’ve helped in some way, if even only a tiny bit!
Truth be told, I stopped meditating for a good, long while – not because I hated it or felt it wasn’t working, but because I wasn’t allotting myself the time to do it every morning. Thus, imagine the negative thoughts, beliefs, and physical “trauma” I started to gain! All of a sudden, I became tense all of the time, feeling as though my world was a step away from crashing around me, resulting in me losing sight of what is so important: I am/should be grateful for the life I have. It’s up to me to make my happiness a reality.
In February, I went to a Bachelorette party for a bride that is very into holistic healing – something I believe in as well. We pulled a lot of tarot cards throughout the course of the weekend and the same thing kept popping up: I needed to make big changes in order to be happy. She then performed Reiki (which I had never done before, but now swear by) and anything that was causing me to panic suddenly left from the top of my head and flew away. I’m not joking. I could literally feel the bad energy leave! After that, I looked something like this:
(If you don’t know who the guy in the .GIF above is, it’s Peter from “Office Space, The Movie”. He goes to a hypnotherapist to learn to not be so miserable at work. In the middle of the hypnosis, the therapist dies and Peter is left in a state of not caring about a thing.)
When I got back home, I promised myself to bring meditation back into my routine, and I’ve kept good on that promise ever since. I was using Headspace to start, but found myself back at the Chopra Center to keep with my Transcendental Meditation, using Sanskrit Mantras. A little over a week ago, they came out with a new 21-Day Meditation Challenge that helped bring me back to the basics.
For those that don’t know, Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey come out with new, free 21-Day Meditation Challenges every so often, and this one is called, “Shedding the Weight: Mind, Body, and Spirit”. I had pulled away from their challenges for a while because they seemed to follow a path of what was happening in the world, and I really wasn’t getting anything out of them. But, this new one brought me back to the basics of why meditation is so important: If your mind is healed, so is the rest of you.
In the first nine days I’ve done it so far, there’s a noticeable improvement in my overall mood, my spirit, my thought process, and even my physique (even my brain has muscle memory, so-to-speak). It has been a great reminder of why each of us need to take 20 minutes out of our day to do some type of exercise geared towards being still, breathing, and letting all thoughts pass through you.
Instead of walking you through my practice this morning, I want to walk you through a concept of why these practices are so important, and up until recently, didn’t truly understand.
I’ve been reading this book called, “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One” by Joe Dispenza. Arguably, this is hands down the best book I’ve ever read on how to transform yourself into your full potential. I read a lot of self-help books, and out of all of them, if you only had time for one, read this!
He structures his book into two parts: The physiology of the brain and how it’s connected to the body; and how to train your brain to think differently.
He breaks down life to it’s very physiological core (through quantum physics), explaining not just our human makeup, but also how the brain and body are separate, yet connected: The body being a vessel for our brain to perform. When we train the brain to think, react, and feel a certain way, we are also telling our body to automatically respond to it in the same way. This means that when we allow certain negative behaviors to become habit (i.e. smoking, drinking to excess, or acute anger/depression), our body automatically identifies this as a routine it’s supposed to react to, i.e. only allowing you to feel comfort within these negative habits, not happy ones. The most profound thing Dispenza said on this was that 95% of our brain is asleep while the other 5% is conscious! That means that 95% of the time, we allow physical and emotional automatic responses to take over – something that for most of us, isn’t a good thing. We need to continue to nourish our brain with positivity in order to feel the continual healing effects it has on us physically. It’s why meditation – the act of training your brain to think, feel, and BE different is so crucial for each of us.
Think of one moment in your life when you felt pure elation. It could be the day you achieved a physical milestone, such as climbing to the top of a mountain; taking a vacation you had always wanted to take; a pleasant surprise from someone you loved; or even indulging in something little. Now take that memory, that feeling, and think of how you physically felt. Perhaps there was a small rush of adrenaline, you felt lighter than air, and/or there was a spring in your step. Now think of what it would be like if you had those feelings of euphoria more and more. Suddenly, the small stuff doesn’t matter anymore. Things that would upset you, no longer do. Or, you walk around with a different lens on life, realizing you have so much to be grateful for and you’d rather remain in that space. Whatever it is, it’s proof that that happy lifestyle is achievable! We sometimes just have to work a bit to get there – to train our brains to think more positively on their own so it’s an automatic response.
Tips on How to Achieve This New Mental State
Just as we train our bodies to achieve anything physically, we have to train our brains to be the command center that trains our bodies. This means “rewiring” our thought processes. It’s not an overnight process, and just with anything else we train for, we need to do these things repeatedly to get good at it.
- Remember that one (or more) moment of pure elation/happiness in your life and hang onto it. Use it as a goal to try to achieve once a month, then once a week, then once every few days, and so on. What most don’t realize about this exercise is that by looking to achieve this very simple (yet sometimes difficult to attain) emotion, you are not only reclaiming your own life, you’re making YOURSELF happy for YOU.
- Take stock of bad habits and negative thought patterns, and start leaving yourself some reminders about NOT doing these things (post-it notes, throwing out cigarettes, leaving rewards for yourself with instructions on not opening it unless you went a full day without…). Give yourself rewards each week/month, for every period of time you’ve gone without indulging in it, is a fantastic way to stay on track. For example, you might be a habitual smoker and you decide to quit slowly. Indulge in a sweet treat if you make it two days, book a weekend getaway if you make it a month, and so forth. For those trying to break negative thought patterns, start by complimenting someone on something – the reward will be in the positive energy. Or, pamper yourself with something small to show you love yourself. This leads to a “want” to continue to do positively-re-inforced things to evoke the positive feelings. This is also a reward within itself.
- To coincide with number 2, at the beginning of each day, write down one positive thought in a journal. And at the end of each day, write down something new and positive you learned or felt. Re-read these two entries to feel the gratitude for how great your life truly is. This practice actually reinforces the connection between mind, body, and soul!
While we’re all on different life journeys, are from different cultures, etc., there’s one thing we all share a “want” for and that is a peaceful existence. The more we can tune into our own thoughts, behaviors, and actions; and change that for the good of not just ourselves, but for everyone, the more peaceful our coexistence can be!