Because meditation slows you down, it lets whatever is inside become very vivid, very present. It amplifies your existing joy, love, happiness. But it also brings the uncomfortable parts — fear, self-doubt, exhaustion — right up in your face.
This can be terrifying. Especially if you’re in the habit of numbing, distancing, or distracting yourself by being super busy, over eating, drinking too much, creating drama in your life and relationships, or losing yourself in TV or online (“there’s so much internet to read!”).
I know something about this.
And if, every time you slow down, you feel overcome with all the things you’ve been successfully avoiding, then meditation can feel terrible, like torture. All the awful stuff comes rushing in, and then what do you do?
Remember that every aspect of your life is sacred. Notice that every experience is just that. . . an experience. A moment. And it passes. . . if you’re willing to let it go.
A lot of meditation is the practice of being present and letting go. Over and over again. Each moment is new. Each breath is new. Let it arise, and let it go. Thoughts and emotions, allow those to arise, and let them go.
It takes courage to be present. It takes practice and skill to be gentle, to let go.
I was riding the bus one day, thinking about my life and the path I had chosen. I was feeling self-doubt, and it was a heavy feeling. Very uncomfortable. And this conversation arose in my mind:
“There’s a good chance you’re going to fail.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“And one day. . . you’re going to die.”
“Yeah. . .”
“So. . . you might as well go for it, honey. Don’t hold back. Live your life as if it mattered to you.”
Being still and quiet allows those voices that are murmuring in the background to come to the surface. Sometimes it’s self-doubt or self-criticism, and it gets loud and cruel. Sometimes it’s from deep in your heart, your gut, some aspect of your being that speaks the truth, but quietly.
Courage, love. Listen to the deep inside. Stay present and breathe.
And live your life as if it mattered to you.