Sometimes I can't help but wonder if my meditation practice is actually making my life better. I spend at least 3 hours a week mediating and I know that every time I sit, I lose out on time with my wife, friends and family. This opportunity cost, or cost of doing mindfulness as I like to call it, can really start to add up.
Three hours doesn't sound like a lot through the course of week but if you do the math, I spend almost 160 hours meditating each year! This doesn't even take into consideration the five day silent meditation retreat I did in 2017 and the seven day retreat I plan on doing later this year!!! If you add those hours into the equation, the total number of hours mediating each year approaches 200!
That's a lot of time sitting and doing "nothing." Looking at it this way we can see that meditating is a life long sacrifice of time and energy. So, the question then becomes, is it worth it?
Today I want to share a story with you today that shows me just how much mediation is impacting my life for the better. The story is inconsequential to some degree, but the lesson that was imparted on me was powerful and it's impact has proved that meditation has changed the way I see my mind.
Around two months ago I sat down for my morning thirty minute mediation session. Before I begin every session I set a timer for 32--thirty minutes for my session and two minutes to get through the rituals of lighting my candles and stating my intentions. More often than not, I don't use guided mediation but on this particular morning, I decided that I wanted to do a thirty minuted guided "loving-kindness" mediation.
I put on the audio from one of Mark Coleman's guided meditations and off I went. The session itself was fantastic. I started off by extending love to myself and wishing myself to be happy. Then I thought about my lovely wife and asked for her to be safe, happy, and free from suffering as well. After that, I wished a stranger well and then it was time to think of someone I found challenging and wish them happiness.
It was right around this time--about 25 minutes into the session--that I was abruptly pulled out of my meditation..BEEP BEEP BEEP!!!
"Oh shit!" I thought. I forgot to turn off my timer.
Normally I use the timer to let me know the session is over but on this day I didn't need it because I had a guide who was there to let me know when the session was over.
There I was, with about 5 minutes left in my meditation session, and the obnoxious beep beep beep sounding off in the background. I thought about ending the session early for a brief second but then it hit me... Listen to your mind, see what it's saying right now. This IS the practice.
So that's what I did. I tuned in and what do you know, I was tearing myself apart for forgetting to turn off this silly little timer. Narratives like "You're an idiot" and "How could you be so stupid" and "Now the whole session is ruined" were coursing through my mind. I felt my body tighten up and energy run from the bottom of my feet all the way to the top of my head.
It wasn't until I made the conscious choice to listen to those voices in my head did I notice how vicious I was being towards myself. Luckly, as I kept listening to my mind the judgmental thoughts began to slip away into the moment. After a while all that was left was the feeling of my breath and the persistent hum of the "beep beep" in the background of my mind.
When the mediation stopped and the full thirty minutes had ended, I remember thinking to myself that if it wasn't for my mediation practice, I would have let that one silly snd innocuous event ruin my whole morning and perhaps my entire day.
That morning was the very first time I had seen proof that I was becoming a better version of myself and that meditation was working through me. The sense of compassion I felt for myself that day has stuck with me in many ways, and I now know this new level of kindness would not be present if it were not for all the sacrifices I made and continue to make in order to maintain my mediation practice.
So, for those of you wondering if it's working, look for your own timer/alarm clock story. Keep looking and life will give you the answer. Sometimes the answer will smack us right in the face and sometimes we need to forget to turn off our alarm clocks in order to see it. As long as we keep looking and making time to observe our minds, I promise you will see it change your life.
Thank you as always for reading! We would love to hear YOUR story. Tell us when you knew your mediation practice was making positive changes in your life. What happened to you and what did you learn? With every story we help others find insight into their own practice so please don't be shy and make sure to share your stories! Even if you haven't found your alarm clock story yet, we would love to hear you share how what you have found and appreciate you being a part of our meditation family.
Until next time, many many blessings.