“I’ve had some amazing, transformational experiences meditating,” an acquaintance recounted during an informal gathering. “Do you meditate?” she asked. All eyes turned to me. Loaded question.
Being steeped and trained in psychology, personal growth and non-conventional healing methods, I felt compelled to nod yes. The problem is there are probably as many types and definitions of meditations as there are types of ‘milk’ in the current food market (almond milk, anyone?) …not to mention there are individual variations of each form of meditation.
Wait – do I meditate?
What is Meditation?
Per my own definition, I have and do meditate. I previously thought there was only one valid form, and I wasn’t sure which kind this woman had referenced during our get-together. The only kind that seemed to matter was where you merge with the divine, experience crazy visions, and achieve vivid epiphanies.
I was convinced I’d had such a vision during a meditation once. After I described my experience to the course mentor to confirm I’d actually had a life-changing vision, she simply told me that I likely had not. I was just entertaining myself, she had informed me. Boo.
Miracles are Real
Isn’t this what meditation, other new age practices, and/or religious customs are supposed to eventually offer? Isn’t this what we hope and wait for? Some important dream that shakes us awake; an opportune, life-changing meeting with some stranger; a voice booming through during a morning yoga routine. Some answer that offers that break.
I once paid a lot of money to hear a famous author speak. I held her in such high regard and couldn’t believe I was going to meet her face-to- face. Following her presentation while waiting in a long line of other hopefuls, I eagerly awaited my turn to receive her message to me, her bit of wisdom written on the title page of her autographed book. I inched up. She greeted me warmly, opened the book to the title page, quickly scribbled something, and sent me on my way. Clutching the book to my chest, I ran to an empty seat in the corner of the room and flipped to the inscription.
“Seek the answers. They lie within.” Double boo.
We want someone to show us. To tell us. To do it for us. To get the results, often without doing the work. We say we want insights, but if we are really honest with ourselves, we really want success, money, notoriety, advantage, reward.
One of my most highly-acclaimed mentors, Caroline Myss, says, “Miracles are real. However, don't expect a miracle to do something you can or should do for yourself. Miracles are not for cowards but for brave and courageous people.”
When We Want Something More
Of course, there are other inner desires that prove to be more meaningful than a life of ease, fame and fortune, and we also can seek them through meditation practices. What are my hidden talents and gifts? How do I harness these skills and fully express them?
But the answers don’t come a-screaming.
They are quiet intuitions, whispers, hunches, callings. And more importantly, we can’t hear this good stuff until we clear the static. The static, the ‘mind chatter,’ conquers the quiet answers to protect ourselves from our own true identity. Ignoring those soft noises puts us at risk for relying on our ego’s input rather than determining what’s genuinely true.
If we want to know and hear, to create and bear our gifts to the world, we must address the static. We must quiet ourselves each evening and ask:
If a mansion is built on rocky foundation without leveling the ground, eventually the floors will sag and the walls will buckle. People are no different. We can’t build an inner spiritual empire while denying our rockiness, our shadows.
If we try to build atop our own rocky ground, we tumble into patterns of protecting, fearing, reacting. We build armor. We look outward; not to give, but to cautiously self-protect. Arms folded defensively against chests prevents true creation or expression—actions directed outward from within.
Knowing, accepting, and managing our shadows takes vigilance and discipline. As Caroline Myss once said, “You have to watch yourself like a hawk.” We must be willing to be rigorously honest with ourselves. To change our behaviors. To see what we do and what we need to do.
There are no short cuts.
These discoveries aren't always easy to find. That's where therapy and coaching boast their worth. A second, non-judgmental perspective is sometimes all it takes to lead you to your true self.
Call us today at 724-387-1650 to set up your appointment with one of our trusted, compassionate therapists or coaches.
Diane Dean is a coach, counselor and business leader dedicated to supporting others to reach their fullest potential. She is the owner of Epiphany! Counseling and Wellness Center located in Murrysville, PA. Her passion is to support professionals to experience deep satisfaction and prosperity from their daily work and profound contentment in their personal lives, so they can truly capture the best of both worlds.