How 3 years of meditation changed me (Part 1)
Almost every day for the last three years, I sat on the floor, a chair, or my meditation cushion for a few minutes - in silence. How I came to meditation and how I practice meditation.
I was quite surprised when I realized a few days ago that I have been meditating for more than three and a half years. How time flies! I use the thought to reflect on my “meditation journey”. I wanted to record the result in a blog post.
A podcast that opened up a whole new world for me
When I started meditating, I was 19 years old and felt like a completely different person. (That's what you always think when you look at your past self, right? 😋) In any case, I had just started studying psychology and moved into my first apartment - a new phase in my life.
One day I became aware of the topic of personality development through Laura Seiler's then brand new podcast “Happy, Holy & Confident”, which was suggested on the homepage of my podcast app.
The search for happiness and personal growth had been pursuing me for a long time, but only on a personal level. I didn't realize that there were books, lectures, seminars, podcasts, and even science on the topic. I became totally fascinated by the whole thing and started devouring all of this content. In the course of this, I quickly became aware of the topics of mindfulness, yoga and meditation. Until then, for me, meditation was some kind of spiritual nonsense - in my head there was an image of a monk in a floor-length robe sitting cross-legged on the floor in a Far Eastern monastery - that I couldn't do much with. But I had never really dealt with it before.
The art of doing nothing
When I learned what meditation actually means (being, pausing, observing, living in the present moment), I was totally hooked and wanted to try it myself:
Just do nothing ? When was the last time I did nothing? Can I even allow myself to do that? How does it feel to just be?
Let your thoughts pass by ? Allow silence to settle in ? Clear your mind ?
Wow. 😯 This all sounded incredibly exciting to me and like a kind of freedom that I hadn't experienced in a long time.
I was used to having what felt like a thousand thoughts every second. I constantly considered what could happen. Had one foot in the past and the other in the future. I quickly got caught up in negative thoughts and worries.
Even now, I would definitely describe myself as an “overthinker”. I think a lot, but say very little. I'm just in my head a lot.
This also means that I first absorb all possible information before I get into action (which has its advantages and disadvantages). So I knew that it would take time for the meditation to have positive effects. As a result, I had no expectations when I went into it.
Take: A chair, an app and yourself
At least that's how it all looked to me at first. I was respectful of sitting in complete silence for a longer period of time, so I decided on two things at the beginning: I wasn't going to overwhelm myself and I was going to take it slowly.
The time factor
I started meditating for 3 minutes. Then 5. Then 10, then 15. In the end I mostly stuck to 15 minutes. Because that is a realistic time window that I can and want to commit to every day. Some days it's 10 minutes, other days it's 30. But the average is definitely 15 minutes.
I prefer to meditate as soon as I get up in the morning. This is when my head is at its emptyest and I can start the day calmly and relaxed. But meditation is also good for me in the afternoon or evening before going to bed.
I now meditate every morning. Depending on your needs, meditation is sometimes added in the afternoon or evening. If I miss a day, I don't beat myself up about it anymore. In the beginning it was important to me not to have any interruptions in my meditation streaks, but I don't see that as strictly anymore. Ultimately, meditation should do you good and not become another “task” or even a burden.
The auxiliary factor
Okay, I don't think that's a word at all, but you'll understand what I mean by that. 🤓As I said, at first I didn't dare to be completely alone with my thoughts. I wanted a little support, some guidance. This is exactly what I found in guided meditations. A person (in the case of an audio recording, more like a voice) leads the meditation, gives information, suggestions and instructions.
I started with the Headspace app. There you will learn the basics of meditation within a week to 10 days. I then scoured YouTube, podcasts, and the app store for more resources and guided meditations. The Insight Timer app accompanied me for a long time (free, versatile and highly recommended). The apps Balloon, 7Mind and Calm are also recommended. Every app is a little different; you just have to find what suits you best. My needs and requirements are best implemented in the Calm app, which is why I currently use it daily.
Whether it's a body scan, breathing meditation, visualization or loving-kindness meditations. Even today I really like guided meditations because they always give me new impulses. But I also discovered meditating in complete silence. In addition, I am noticing more and more how everyday activities such as washing up, painting or brushing my teeth can be meditative.
The convenience factor
This is actually a very important point for me. At first it was super difficult for me to sit cross-legged on the floor with my back straight. So I picked up a chair and leaned against it. I placed my legs side by side on the floor and enjoyed the feeling of my body being “rooted” to the floor. Sometimes I also meditated while lying down, although some people advise against it (you could fall asleep). Or I did a walking meditation.
For some time now I've mainly been using my meditation cushion, which my boyfriend gave me for Christmas the year before last, and I love it.
However, one of my principles is that I meditate in the way that feels best to me. Some days it's on the meditation cushion, and other days it's lying down or on the sofa.
One of the first things I learned about meditation was: You can't do anything wrong . This sentence helped me to do my own thing and not put pressure on myself to have achieved something at a certain point.
After about 3 months of daily meditation (which is actually not such a short time), I was able to observe the first positive effects. I'll tell you more about this part of my journey here and more in the second part of this blog post . ☺️
If you would like to learn more about healthy eating, mindfulness or sustainability, check out more exciting blog articles on these topics here .