When I left my last job and started my adventure into finding more happiness in my life, one of the first things I wanted to do was get into the habit of meditation every morning. At the time, I felt that my physical and creative energies were a bit blocked by all the stress that I was going through and that if I wanted to change that, I would have to start by taking better care of myself mentally and spiritually. I wanted to create more space in my mind so I can hone in on what would create long-term happiness.
I spotted this book from the ‘Free to Take’ shelf in the office called “May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness” by Gabrielle Bernstein. With my goal in mind, I thought it was meant to be.
I figured the best way to jump start a habit is to have some expert guidance and if I do it for over a month, there is a greater chance of me succeeding in it. I found both of these to be true, and I found the book to be very helpful in my meditation mission.
I had not read any of her books before and I was a complete beginner in meditation and these self-help type of happiness books. Some of the language in the book lean toward the hippy dippy, and she kept mentioning a reference book called “A Course on Miracles”, which, because of that, I thought that maybe I should read instead. But, I am not a quitter so I soldiered on past these minor stuff, and followed the instructions faithfully, going chronologically and not skipping any steps.
Basically, it asks you to do meditation in the morning and at night with certain thoughts in mind, and then usually you have to write down either some mantras or some feelings prompted by the inspirations in the book. It is a bit of work, that’s for sure, but I assure you, the rewards are worth it. Some of the directions generated a deep emotional response in me, so be prepared for some emotional overhaul. It also taught me to be more mindful and conscious of choosing love over fear in any situation, to let go of anything that holds me back, to focus on what I truly want out of life, and to be truly present in every moment of my day. I know these are heavy lessons and honestly, more easily said than done. These are also life lessons that you have to keep working on every single day. That’s why I feel that the gentle pace of taking it one day at a time to start, but making a conscious effort to focus on these through the guidance of the book, made it a more effective way of sticking to them.
So, did it cause miracles? I don’t have everything that I was hoping for in terms of my career or life goals YET, but I feel that I have narrowed it down to a clear vision and I am on the path towards it. I am a naturally shy person but I have been putting myself out there and meeting new people, and by talking about what I would like to accomplish, I have found new connections. I also feel internally and emotionally lighter and better prepared for wherever life takes me and I am more aware and more perceptive of clues and opportunities. In general I also feel that I am just a better person in the world. For example, where before subway crowding really, really, really irritated me, I find myself thinking about everyone just trying their best to get to work and I become more understanding of the hustle that goes on. Not to say that I wimp out if anyone is out of line, but I approach unfriendly situations now with more compassion.
I am still a work in progress and in order to keep going with my daily meditation, I downloaded an app called InspireMe that gives you a daily food for thought.
I also downloaded another app called Relax Melodies that has some interesting instrumentals that you can listen to individually or combine to create a theme.
A couple of favorites I created are “Nighttime Fireside in a Cave”, that combines nighttime cricket sounds with a roaring fire and water dropping from a cavern ceiling (I swear it sounds better than I described it!), and “River Zen” that combines a babbling brook with a flute type instrument. I usually play the sounds after I read my inspiration for the day and set it on a timer so I can close my eyes and will know when my meditation time is over. It has been infinitely rewarding for me to pick up this habit and I don’t need much time or space to do it.
How about you, do you meditate and are there books or tools you would recommend to anyone to improve their practice?