Colleen M. Doumeng
Subtle benefits of a meditation practice
According to davidji in his book Secrets of Meditation, “the second most common reason people cite for not meditating is they think the results are too subtle so they can’t see any value in continuing.” He continues, “this goes back to our misconceptions about what meditation is supposed to be. If your expectations are to levitate and see colors but you are only aware of drifting back and forth between the mantra and thoughts, you will assume it’s not working and give up. You may even think you’re doing it wrong because you don’t have any A/ha moments during your practice. The benefits of our meditation practice happen in the 23 hours a day when we are not meditating. “ Meditation weaves it’s grace into how I walk, stand in line, how I drive. When I walk my meditation practice helps me become aware of my pace and my breathing. I experience moments of profound gratitude for the ability to walk. My practice each day helps me slow down as I move about ~ I “notice” my environment more often ~ the sites, sounds and aromas. I “notice” the people I pass or share space with. I savor the joy of holding a child's hand. I sense connection and aliveness. I notice my mind and what I AM thinking, how I AM judging. I become "aware" of opportunities to practice simple acts of kindness. I hold doors open more, let someone go in front of me on line, smile at the checkout employee, look into their eyes and say hello, ask how their day is going. Subtle things like this happen after I meditate in the morning. My meditation practice gifts me with the ability to notice how I am driving - how I "feel" when I drive. AM I tense right now or relaxed - AM I hot or cold - I notice my hands on the steering wheel - notice when I seem to be driving on autopilot and not noticing - notice what I AM listening to and how it makes me feel inside - I notice how I feel driving with someone - do I feel safe - I notice if I AM uncomfortable with the silence and just talking to fill that uncomfortable space - I notice that I have the ability to choose my responses. Now as a meditator I drive much more relaxed. My pace is different. I stay more in the “flow” of traffic allowing more space between vehicles. I give myself much more time to get to my destination. I don’t rush or tailgate. I “notice” more opportunities to practice simple acts of kindness ~ allowing someone else to go ahead of me or to take that parking space I was planning on. Now, as a meditator I purposely park as far away from my destination as possible so that I can practice a walking meditation. I no longer worry about finding a parking place because I “trust” the perfect spot is always waiting for me! And, I remember where I parked my car now because I was fully present when I closed the door - I noticed my surroundings ~ remembered to take a picture of the sign in the long term parking lot or recorded a voice memo! These subtle changes that I experience because of my meditation practice may not be huge A/ha moments - and obviously not experiences that I encounter while meditating - but - they bring me tremendous amounts of joy, peace and a sense of well-being. They are just a few reasons why I keep showing up. Namaste.