The other day, I had the time to think how meditation has changed my life and helped me during the last few months. At that moment, I remembered I never wrote about it before. I guess it might be interesting to share my experience with meditation to the people who already practice it and to others that are struggling with their minds.
Meditation was not for me (or this is what I thought)
A few years ago, a yoga teacher told me Mindfulness Meditation would be very good for me as I had a restless mind. I tried, even I was not very interested. I remember that meditation session as one of the longest hours of my life. I just felt pain on my back and my thoughts were overwhelming, so I left thinking meditation was useless.
When last year I decided to travel around India, I knew it was the Kingdom of Meditation and Spiritually but I was not seeking for enlightenment or anything similar.
I attended a Yoga teacher training where I learned some meditation techniques but, in my case, I did not understand the huge benefits it has. I felt frustrated again after trying to meditate, so I decided this practice will not be working at all for me.
During my travels, I met many people who were sharing with me their experiences with meditation, especially Vipassana. They were telling me how helpful and good it was and advising me to attend a retreat. Honestly, I was not paying attention to their words.
After a few months in India, I started to overthink, I had anxiety problems and, sometimes, insomnia. Why was I having these issues? Why was I reacting like this to what was happening around me? It was crazy as I was fulfilling my dream at that moment: traveling around India without a return ticket.
I gave the last opportunity to meditation
While moving around India and Nepal, I met people who I got attached quickly. I gave everything to some of them: I gave my soul, my mind and my body and I felt betrayed by their behaviors. This was something very stressful for me. Why was I dealing with these situations in such ways? Why someone else’s behaviors were affecting me so deeply? Why was I overthinking that much? Why was having such big expectations on people?
I realized I needed to change; I needed to be present and, I had to be balanced and satisfied with my life and, try to not let the other people actions affect my happiness. After spending some time with some amazing friends in Mysore, India, I decided to give the last try to meditation as we had a lot of talks about this topic. I decided to do some research about retreats in Sri Lanka, the place where I was heading to. I came across Nilambe Buddhist Meditation Center. I applied to a Meditation course to see, finally, if it was working for me.
How meditation has changed my life after a retreat experience
The moment arrived: I attended a 6-days meditation retreat in Nilambe, in the center of Sri Lanka. I remember the day before I did not want to go but I pushed myself to. I will always be so grateful to “Núria of that moment” as those days helped me a lot to understand another way to face daily life. During that retreat, I saw meditation was going to be my best ally to deal with my emotional problems and stress.
In Nilambe, I got in touch with Buddhist Meditation where I learned Mindfulness of breathing (Ānāpāna Sati). This technique works on the awareness of the breathing to release of the heart and mind.
In the same place, I also learned the practice of Metta which means “love and kindness” trough an amazing teacher, Upul. I understood we need to show love and kindness to everyone, even we do not like those people. I had a very deep experience while following a guided meditation in which we were forgiving ourselves to be able to forgive everyone else after. I understood I had a lot of anger inside me… and I also think most of us have resentment to our persona for actions we did in the past and we may regret. It can be anything we did to ourselves or to another person, it does not matter. When we forgive ourselves from the deepest part of the heart, with true love and kindness, we feel liberated. After being totally in peace with ourselves, we can start forgiving the ones who we still have some bad feelings.
This retreat was not enough and after a month, I attended another 8-days meditation course where I got to know better the theory of Buddhist techniques and everything made even more sense to me.
What is meditation to me?
I came back to my hometown in July and I tried my best to deal with re-adapting after long term traveling. It hasn’t been easy; still, it is not easy as I am dealing with a lot of “demons from the past”. Meditation is helping me to face this situation and it is helping me to be more stable and to be more tolerant with what I am going through nowadays. It is not easy and sometimes I feel I am like a roller coaster, as I think my past is still controlling my present mind and, mainly, while being in a place where I know I do not want to be.
To me, meditation is the way to have a healthy mind and be satisfied with our lives. I feel in Western societies we have been forgetting this while we are just focusing on our bodies. We are a society where often, the outside can be more important than the inside.
During the last few weeks, I put aside meditation of my daily life because of traveling and surfing and, after something that made me feel very sad happened to me, I understood I have to keep my practice in a regular basis. Meditation helps to be present, to enjoy every single second of our lives, to understand ourselves and to not let our mood be affected by what we cannot control.
How meditation can help anyone
As my first meditation teacher said once, “meditation is for any person who can breathe”, so this means “meditation is for everyone”. It is not easy and it takes time to get used to observe your breathing and trying to be detached from it, from the sensations of the body and just be an outsider. It is liberating when you realize you start achieving it.
In my opinion, everyone has periods in life. In my case, I have days or weeks of being very lazy and not wanting to meditate. Other times, especially when I practice surf, I am too tired to sit down and train my brain. And, I have other moments when I need to meditate twice per day as I am doing now.
I encourage everyone to give it a try and not give up in just a few sessions. Meditation requires time, patience and love. Meditation has changed my life and it can also change yours. If you are around Catalonia, there are some places like Centro de Meditación Kadampa nearby Montserrat Mountain or Dhamma Neru (Vipassana Retreat) in Santa Maria de Palau Tordera. If anyone knows more places to go, feel free to write a comment or DM, I am really looking forward to attend one in Spain!