When We Need Meditation The Most: a cautionary tale of a meditator who lost his way

November 1, 2018

 I’m not going to lie, the past couple of days have been some of the most challenging days I've had in the last 4 years.  

 

Not because anything monumental happened in my life like a family death or the loss of a job—although I've had my share of both of those in the last few years—but because to tell you the truth, I’m just feeling down. 

 

I haven’t felt this down on myself since the last time I battled with depression back in 2011 and the feeling of being helpless is one I don’t wish upon anyone!

 

The last two days I've done nothing but mope around and feel sorry for myself!  In just 48 hours I’ve been through the entire spectrum of emotions with most of my time spent in the fear and anxiety department.

 

I don’t really understand why, but lately my mind has been obsessed with my inadequacies and failures. 

 

Stop me if you’ve heard these same tracks play in your head from time to time…

 

“I’m not good enough...” 

 

“I've let people down...”

 

“I’m a failure...”

 

“I’m not worth a damn...”

 

“I have nothing to offer the world...”

 

 

Don’t feel sorry for me

Now I’m not telling you all of this to make you feel bad for me or to illicit some sort of  “Ahhhhh poor guy” response. 

 

In fact, I’m telling you this on the contrary. In truth, I want to be accountable for myself and the best way to do that is to be accountable to you—the person who reads this post!

 

The simple fact is, one of the biggest reasons I feel like crap this week is because I haven’t been doing the things I know I need to do in order to be my best self.

 

Because I've been feeling down, it's been all to easy for me to skip a meditation session, skip the gym, or wait till tomorrow to write my thoughts down in my journal. 

 

Why would I want to eat healthy or go to bed early or hang out with people who lift up my soul? Why should I take care of myself if I don't think I'm worth taking care of? In  reality, in these moments I feel worthless! 

 

Now, I know this might sound silly to the individual who has their full faculties but to someone who is down in the dumps this positive (and I meant that in the clinical term) feedback loop can be the death of our best selves!

 

So then, what to do????

 

 

 

When we need mindfulness and meditation the most

There’s an old quote that I believe was made famous as a credo by the US Navy Seals that states: In moments of crisis, we don’t rise to our level of expectations, we fall to our level of training. 

 

Meaning, when fit hits the shan, a plan or goal isn’t going to do you any good. No, instead when the waters get muddy, we humans should rely on our training. 

 

So then as the theory goes, if you’ve trained for every possible worse case scenario, you have nothing to fear because you know what to do!

 

Conversely, if you are in a crisis and you are stuck on how things “should be,” then you’re doomed to fail - a plan is worthless unless you know how to use it.

 

Now, I love this phrase for a lot of reasons but in my life, and through experience, the phrase is missing one little thing. 

 

To me, the phrase should say: 

 

“In moments of crisis, we don’t rise to our level of expectations, we fall to our level of habits!"

 

The reason I like to make this distinction is because there is a difference between training for something and creating a habit that becomes part of the fabric that makes you who you are.

 

In other words, we could train for years on meditation but never create a daily practice and when life gets tough, we won't know how to use the training effectively.  

 

The beauty of habits are that they automate a lot of our thinking because as they say, it becomes "second nature.”

 

Without a habit we run the risk of trying to find time for things like meditation and let's be honest here, who the heck is going to “find time” for meditation when life is kicking us while we're down?

 

I know I’m not!

 

This is why we must be diligent about building the positive habits in our life that we know make us a better version of ourselves.

 

As they say, you can't dig a well when you're thirsty, you must dig it way before. 

 

For things like meditation, eating well, and going to the gym, don’t wait until you're feeling like crap to make those things a priority in your life. 

 

Instead, you must forge those positive habits well in advance in order to make sure that you’ll be okay when the boat of life starts to rock you to your core. 

 

 

Discipline is freedom

If there’s one thing that I know I’m great at, it's discipline.

 

I've always been a very structured dude who loves his habits. 

 

However, over the last few months, as my life has become more volatile due to the move to Canada and due to my pursuit of a new career, I've struggled to be consistent with my positive habits like meditating and exercising.

 

Not because I’m missing them but because I don’t ever do them at the same time. 

 

For example, I used to meditate every morning at 6:30am and now, I meditate whenever I have a few moments of free time during the day.

 

Similarly, I used to get up at 4:15am every morning in order to go to the gym and now, I go to the gym whenever I have time. 

 

Now, if I stuck to my habits then the last few days wouldn’t have shaken me so much. 

 

If I continued to get up early, meditate, journal and go to the gym then my mind wouldn’t have the opportunity to tell me I’m worthless and a failure. 

 

After all, name one failure who gets up that early to go to the gym, journal and meditate?

 

I don’t know of any!

 

But here is what happened: 

 

Because I relied on my training and not my habits, I made it too easy on myself to make excuses and skip the things that I know will make me feel better.

 

And that’s the weird thing about our minds: when things are bad, our mind wants to keep it that way.  

 

This is why we must fight the urge to wallow in self pity with positive daily habits.

 

Don’t wait until you're feeling worthless to invest in yourself!

 

Don’t wait until you’ve been completely knocked down to start doing things to lift yourself up!

 

Start NOW! Start today!

 

Don’t let another day go by that you don’t invest time in yourself because YOU are the only one who can help you when you’re in a mental funk!

 

If you want freedom then you must practice discipline and let the power of positive habits carry you through the dark times in life!

 

 

Conclusion

It took me two days to realize the fatal error I had committed but it only took me one day to re-start the habits I know will save my life! 

 

There is nothing wrong with feeling down but the good news is, you don’t have to feel that way forever if you could only fall back on your positive habits.

 

So if you haven’t been to the gym in a while, GO!

 

If you haven’t been waking up at the same time every morning to get your work done, start doing it NOW!

 

If you need another sign to start taking time for positive habits in your life, let me be your cautionary tale and show you that there are only two perfect times to start practicing positive habits! 

 

The BEST time was YESTERDAY and the second best time is NOW!!!

 

Thank you as always for reading and until next time,

 

Many many blessings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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