The Power of Being Still: How I Found My Peace Through Meditation

We all have those times when many aspects of our lives collide into one big ball of stress. I don’t even have to explain what I’m talking about, a memory has probably already popped up in your head from the last time you just couldn’t seem to get a handle on things. That was my entire Fall 2016 semester, and I’m here to tell you I would’ve never experienced nearly as much emotional stress and intensity that I did, if only I had known how to do one thing: meditate.

Let’s get real.

Dear friends, let me get this out in the open: I’ve experienced severe anxiety for the majority of my life. Though it can be a driving force for success, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t really cripple me sometimes. Up until this January, I had been living my life fighting off thought after thought and worry after worry. It was mentally––and sometimes even physically–– exhausting. Whenever someone suggested meditation to me I’d shrug it off, completely unable to imagine myself sitting still and allowing my thoughts to wreak havoc in my head with no distractions. Me? Meditate? HA! You’ve gotta be out ya mind *insert friend/relative/therapist’s name here* do you want me to drive myself crazy?

Fast forward to January of this year. I’m about to travel across the country to California, leave my friends and loved ones behind, and work full time at a tech company in Silicon Valley. With nothing to focus on over winter break, I’m freaking out. Suddenly I found myself grabbing my phone to look up meditation apps. Little did I know, the next ten minutes would change my perspective on meditation forever.

I was levitating. No, seriously.

I closed my eyes and followed the directions of the person guiding the meditation, “breathe in through the nose, and out through the mouth.” I waited for my thoughts to overpower me and distract me, but they never did. Instead, I felt like I was levitating. Yes, levitating* (see below). A tiny laugh escaped from me, tickled by the fact that I was sitting here meditating all on my own. I opened my eyes after the recording finished and instantly felt refreshed. All the thoughts that were plaguing my mind were washed away and for once I was able to read my poetry book, undisturbed by any nagging fears that I might’ve had. “Huh, would you look at that,” I thought to myself.

I continued the next day and the next, feeling more drawn to the calm sensation I experienced immediately after each meditation. These sessions were never “perfect” and sometimes thoughts would pop into my head more than others. The first and most important lesson I’ve learned through meditation is that experiencing thoughts is completely normal, and it actually helps you find some clarity in them if you just let them to pass through your mind, observing them instead of allowing yourself to be immersed. It wasn’t always easy, but as I practiced daily it became habit to not let my thoughts overpower my focus on my breathing.

Moral of the story: listen to your mom the first time.

After just a few weeks, I felt a type of clarity in my mind that I hadn’t experienced since I was little. Though I had begun my self-care journey months ago, meditating every day gave me the room in my head to view my life through a lens that highlighted positivity, opportunity, empowerment, and the power of manifestation. My smile reached my eyes, my body felt lighter, I got an overwhelming sense of joy every time I had some “me time.” I could breathe, finally. My trust in the universe grew immensely, and I discovered the magic of gearing positive energy and thoughts towards my desires and watching them come to fruition. I unlocked a part of myself that I forgot existed and began to feel as if I, for the first time in a long time, lived up to the meaning of my name: “joy walks in.”

I meditate every day. In fact, I’m on a 75 day streak! The more I meditate, the more I discover my inner peace and living in the now. Through meditation, I found the courage to start this blog and the peace of mind to live my best life without letting my fears hold me back. But, most importantly, a way to devote just ten minutes of my time each day to taking care of my mind and clearing it of any thoughts that keep me from being the most authentic version of myself.

Except in this picture.

Except in this picture.

A good number of people have expressed to me that it’s just too hard for them to shut off their brains and do the damn thing. My advice? Keep trying, stop being so hard on yourself, and don’t be afraid of your thoughts. Not every meditation is a walk in the park and that shouldn’t be the expectation. Practice might not ever make perfect in this case, but I do know one thing: I never believed until I tried meditation, and now there’s no way I’m looking back.

*Now, by no means should you think that you must feel like you’re levitating the first time you meditate. It happened to me once, it was quite magical, and it has rarely ever happened since.