For most of us, it’s common to wake up and immediately feel stressed out about the day ahead. Bogged down with endless to do lists, responsibilities, daily practicalities; anxiety begins to loom over us, and we can’t fathom taking a moment to ourselves to truly connect, and when we do, we’re faced with re-living our anxiousness.
Suddenly, we read an article, or watch a YouTube from one of our favorite influencers—that tells us the benefits of mediation. We’re told everything from sound peace of mind, stress management, healthier mental process, etc. But we’re not sold. If life could only be so…Simple. Even though we’re not convinced, we attempt at mediation. What harm could it cause? After all, five or ten minutes in the morning is harmless right?
Finally, we find ourselves listening to guided mediations, and breathing exercises by some of the top spiritualist, thought leaders. Slowly we can see the changes in our moods, attitudes. As time progresses, we’re thinking positive, enjoying the benefits of putting the dedication, and hard work we’ve committed to ourselves.
And then… Life happens.
Something that we weren’t expecting to happen, does. Our day becomes unmanageable, we’re struggling in some aspect of our life, and the anxiety resurfaces. The feelings of powerlessness meet’s us in our need to get everything done, but the problem is… We don’t know how to handle the emotions that we’re processing—which leads us to feel paralyzed. We then believe that perhaps we just need sleep, and we can start over the next day. Until we lay down and discover our anxiety is looming over us like a black cloud.
What happened? You may ask yourself. You thought anxiety was a thing in the past. You’d overcame it and can’t identify with that person who was always on edge, who was so shaking and fragile.
The truth is, it’s easy to feel despair, and lonely when confronting anxiety. We crave control and thrive on it. We return to our mediation practice day after day, hoping that we’ll find ever lasting peace of mind. Perhaps we’ll find our nirvana. But what if I told you that losing control, feelings of despair are a good thing? Yep, that’s right!
I have personally found that mediation is best used as a tool to enable self-exploration that promotes self-awareness, profound inner peace by leaning in and looking at the painful aspects of ourselves dead in the face. Furthermore, as we observe our discontentment and dis-ease, we realize that our psyche is inviting us to embrace these so-called negative aspects that we’d rather judge, flee and abandon.
When we choose to reject feelings of anxiety, despair, discontentment we approach our mediation practice with the intention of resistance. Resistance shows up as: “I must focus on the positive.” This is to say that we spend our mediation time avoiding our truth and become undone the moment our true feelings surface throughout our day. However, we must keep in mind that our mediation practice is ours and this is the space we create for ourselves to be as naked, vulnerable as we need to, and without apology.
By allowing ourselves to lean into our discomfort, we give ourselves permission to feel out of control. Anytime we give ourselves permission to heal by first acknowledging anxiety, we build self-trust and allow feelings to surface without harshly judging ourselves or our mental state.
The moment we can release the need to neglect any part of ourselves and build self-trust— we then find ways to work with what we’re feeling and thinking. As our day progresses and the stress factors show up, we can choose to go with those feelings. Our anxiety becomes our practice by checking in with ourselves and not taking on a victim mentality. The next time you’re in your meditation, simply allow whatever feelings that exist below the surface to arise. This can be feelings of joy, peace, contentment. Or it can be hostility, pain, suffering, resentment, anger, fear. Whatever feeling you experience allow it to come out of you, allow your breath to pull it to the light and dissolve. At first you may that you can’t quiet your mind, and the restless voice that is repeating in your head won’t stop. That voice in your head has a space in your mediation. Give it some love by allowing yourself to hear it out. You will find out that there’s no need to control your thoughts or attempt to make yourself feel anything. Your job is to show up for yourself, and as you address and explore your feelings—you’ll be able to work through it with a new story that frees you from it altogether.
It can be dangerous to force ourselves to paint positivity over our traumas and anxieties, because we don’t allow ourselves to build healthy self-esteem. While it’s true that positive thinking can in-fact change our entire life, and possibly assist in our healing—we can’t skip the steps to building our mental and emotional foundations. When you’re meditating and the same old stories and anxieties come to surface, it can cause us to feel that we’re not getting anywhere. Keep in mind that healing the emotional body and mental landscape is like physical exercise. We don’t get easy results at first—we must earn it. As we persist in our exercise, we slowly begin to witness changes in the body, and we desire to push our bodies to see further growth.
In mediation, we’re not pushing our emotions. We’re setting the stage to examine them, as we consistently do that; we become comfortable with leaning into our emotions. Feeling our emotions helps us deal with our triggers. Our triggers are the body’s reaction to external stimuli. Once we allow ourselves to confront these triggers in our mediation, the body starts its own healing process. The healing process naturally helps us deal with heavy emotional weight such as anxiety.
Healing anxiety through mediation can cause us to feel overwhelmed. There are days we feel extremely happy, and the next day we can feel highly sensitive. This emotional imbalance is a key indicator that our body is regulating itself. Needless-to-say, the body and the emotions are becoming congruent; which is a shock to the nervous system. Keep in mind that your immediate inclination will be to recoil. Instead of recoiling, show up for yourself. You’ll be reminded that you can land safely now that you’re building a healthy self esteem and foundation. So, I invite you to explore, fall and get back up. Do it again, and land.
Breath by breath. You find your center.