In good timing with Meditation

written by: Celeste Lozano 

Finding time for mediation

For a long time, years, I’ve always thought about the word mindfulness and how it could be beneficial to interpersonal relationships. I didn’t know to what extent this would mean to me. I was happily married and felt a part of the most badass couple for having many shared interests. It wasn’t long that I realized I was missing something but I didn’t know what. I never heard of shadow work or tapping into my inner child, mentioned by people who also referenced therapy to address this emptiness. 

I got divorced in the midst of my confusion and lost the desire and purpose of marriage. I was at the lowest of low. I felt bad for feeling lost, confused, and easily attracted to selfish desires. I wouldn’t have ever expected this coming, but it did. I had lost it. And it wasn’t the first time I had. It was a pattern of never ending suffering, jumping from one desire to another, hoping to be happy at all times and chasing dreams that made me feel good. And all for the selfish reasons that convinced myself was good for me. 

I had feelings of shame, anger, guilt, sadness, and grief for what had happened, and it persisted until I was desperate to try something. The suffering didn’t end.

I finally made myself attend a meditation basics class in January 2020 to learn about it. Then I listened to meditation audiobooks like The Mind Illuminated and Zen Mind: Beginner’s Guide for Zen Buddhism Meditation and Mindfulness. I had also researched the benefits of meditation and how it rewired the brain to increase focus, be more mindful, and less depressed.

That made it official. I was sold into the idea. The goal was to start a daily practice starting with two to three minutes, gradually increasing the time.
Without any further lessons, I dove in and began my meditation practice. Day by day I increased my meditation time up between two to five  minutes extra. Like starting out a new hobby, I was hooked. It felt like I was learning something new and wanted to keep going with the hopes of healing. It almost seemed as if I wanted to reach a goal, but the act of meditation is the goal. From some texts it states that there is no end goal in meditation. Besides the vague purpose of meditation, I was determined to develop the habit in hopes of improving my life. 

After a few months I was able to sit and meditate for a full hour, as that was what the text had recommended in deepening a practice. It was the longest I’ve had to sit, with my body recognizing when it has halfway point by how my knee and hip joints felt. 

I had unknowingly accelerated my practice, based on several events occurring. Covid started, and quarantine started in March 2020, and I thought I was in impeccable timing with my practice. I thought this would help me deal with being stuck at home dealing with world trauma.

It was not the case. I went through bouts of depression and random fluctuations of anger, victim mentality, and a lot of emerged deep feelings from childhood trauma. It was all convoluted that it was all far too much to manage. 

I didn’t research enough or learn enough about any negative effects of meditation until later when I read/heard from audiobooks (or I may have selectively not heard/read) that one may encounter turbulence in practice. Dark emotions or strong emotions may emerge, but it is temporary. Some texts also say that meditation is not for everybody, but for the most part it has a huge benefit.

This made sense, so I cut back on my meditation time. It was nice to free up time instead of allocating almost an hour for meditation every day.

Several months into Covid quarantine, I decided meditation was not enough. Even after cutting back, the feelings of being overwhelmed did not end. I started going to the climbing gym with appropriate safety precautions, going climbing outdoors and socially distantly connecting with friends as much as possible. 

Almost a year in to my meditation practice and all the added activities was when I started to feel that meditation was one aspect of helping me deal with overwhelming stress. I started to pause more and feel my feelings without imploding and exploding. 

I can’t say I am 100% healed but it was a starting step to healing and acknowledging and accepting myself. It was the first step to facing the dark and feel the emotions. 

I started to meet new friends and even became closer to a few. I started to value my connections, understood what felt authentic and what didn’t serve me. I started to manifest things I desired with purpose and clarity even though it wasn’t 100%. I was starting to be okay with myself and learning who I am more and more. Then the more I learned and understood about myself and my practice, the more I felt release. I started to feel better about forgiving myself and acknowledging the negative emotions that happened. With Covid and the ongoing uncertainty, I am determined to strive through adversity with meditation as one of the antidotes.

Would I recommend a meditation to everyone? Yes. I would agree it’s not for a small percentage of the population. A very, tiny percentage. Most people who start meditation practice stop. Similar to exercise, most people who want to start end up not keeping up. I approach mediation as exercise for the brain. Nothing is ever perfect but I will enjoy the benefits, even without the perfection.
“In my experience, meditation makes you 10% happier.” Dan Harris, author, 10% Happier
There doesn’t need to be a reason for someone to do it.  But a purpose, reason, intention always helps. It could be as simple as wanting to be happier. In my opinion, it’s almost as essential as brushing your teeth everyday. From there, I recommend getting guidance and starting out few minutes every day. If there is time to read the news, scroll through social media, sit at waiting area for your food or your doctor’s appointment or a train ride home, or a carpool ride on an outdoor climbing road trip. Then there is time to meditate. 
Celeste is a Mike's Mix Ambassador who is motivated to push her limits and strive for healthy and environmental living.

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