I took my first "official" meditation class in 2006. I was familiar with the concept of meditation, had certainly read a lot about it and knew a lot in "theory". But in practice? Like actual personal practice? Not so much.
I'd been practicing and teaching yoga regularly for 5 years but I did not have a sitting practice apart from yoga asana (posture).
So when a good friend asked me to take a meditation class with her, I was both curious and excited. The class was a series of lessons with just the two of us plus the teacher. This was the start of my love for meditation. Starting in a class atmosphere taught me how to start meditating on my own and how to stick with it.
So here are a few things I've learned through the actual experience of meditation I'd like to share:
Anyone can do it. I've heard a lot of excuses over the years about why a person can't meditate, why a person doesn't want to, doesn't need to or my favorite: "it just isn't my thing". Ok. I've said most of these myself too when I haven't wanted to stick to practice, when it felt uncomfortable or inconvenient. And I know you may very well be saying all these things and believing them too right now.
But in my experience, anyone can do it. You don't need to be special, have any kind of gift or insight. You don't need to have a yoga practice or know anything about the chakras, prana or qi. All you need is the will to get started.
Meditating in a group is easier. I love teaching the Tao of Meditation course becasue there really is something so powerful about tapping into the group energy to help you ground down and get results. You'll find fewer excuses and distractions when you join the class.
The Zen saying "There are many paths up the Mountain" must surely apply to a meditation practice. It's like Hot Yoga - I love it, I but not everyone does. And that's ok. There is enough yoga out there to find the class that speaks to you. Meditation is the same way. I've learned countless techniques to tap into my own zen. Certain ways work for me easier than others. And I call on different techniques at different times and so will you. There is not one way, one right and one wrong way. There are many ways.
Meditation works. Here I am really asking you to trust me. It works...well, what exactly? YOU. Whatever you need, it will help. Less stress? Yes. Less anxiety? Yes. Greater will power? Yes. Meditation brings out the best in you, so all the wonderful things you are start to shine through. Just get started!
The Tao of Meditation starts March 25. We meet three Saturdays: March 25, April 1 and April 8 at 12:45 - 1:45. Explore many ways up the meditation mountain like music, movement, color and visualization. All levels. The early bird is available through this month of February. ($69 now, $79 after 2/28)