Fab Finds Friday #15: On Meditation

Welcome to Fab Finds Friday!

A chance to reflect, not on the things you did, but on the things that did something to you!

Whether it’s something you heard, a sentence you read, a quote that spoke to you, or even something you wrote yourself, if it inspired you and you want to share it with others, we want to know about it!

Make sure you have a hyperlink in your post to both Laughing My Abs Off and My Little Tablespoon. Then drop your link below and discover what inspired others. You never know when you’ll stumble upon the next life-changing nugget of wisdom. Happy Friday!

I’ve been practicing yoga for I’d say nine years now. I’ve been practicing meditation outside of yoga for a much shorter amount of time, but still around 2-3 years, as my best guess. It is only this year, however, that I feel I’ve began to receive the true benefits from either practice. 

I don’t think I saw yoga as a meditation practice 3 or more years ago. I probably saw it solely as physical exercise with an added bout of relaxation at the end. And meditation? Hmm. I don’t think I ever “got” anywhere other than a vacation to my back with eyes closed. Which, hey don’t get me wrong, is awesome and great. I just don’t think I understood where else it could take me. 

Over these last few months especially, I’ve discovered something in my meditation practice – whether that be on its own in my room or at the end of a yoga class – that has significantly changed my, well… a lot. 

I’ve discovered a smile. I’ve discovered this deep seated happiness in a place where I like who I am, where I love my body and feel deep joy in wanting to take care of it. I’ve discovered this place – away from the usual brain-cassettes of to do lists and planning and future-dreading and guilt – where I realize I can actually be the one watching myself have these thoughts. That I am a different person than that, and therefore, that I don’t actually have to follow along with these thoughts. 

Don’t get me wrong, it often doesn’t take long from the time I leave my mat and exit the yoga studio before those tapes start rolling and that “other person” has gone the other way. It sucks. But, for even that brief moment, I’ve been able to be with this person who is still, caring, and divinely happy. 

I’m working at bringing this person out to play throughout my day; to stay much longer than the eyes-closed vinyasa. It’s a work in progress, but she is definitely present much more than in my past. 

I’ve continued to read “Women, Food and God” by Geneen Roth and the other week I read a chapter she wrote on meditation. It wasn’t until I read her words that I actually understood what it was I had been getting from my meditation practice; what that happiness and care was that I was feeling. 

Meditation has taught me that I do not always have to go to my mind. That those thoughts I am having don’t have to be mine and don’t have to be listened to. Meditation has, in a sense, introduced me to that other person I have in me, and that I can go to this person when I am struggling with thoughts. I have somewhere else to go now, other than those cassette tapes. 

Like she says, I’ve fallen in love with that person – that stillness – that notices the hysteria in my mind. I’ve fallen in love with that person who loves me; who wants to care for me. I’ve fallen in love with visiting her and feeling her presence each time I meditate and allow her to come out. 

So for today’s Fab Finds Friday, I’d like to share with you words from Geneen Roth. Words that struck me and made me realize what it is that meditation does for me.

From ‘Women, Food and God’
by Geneen Roth 

Minds are useful when we need to conceptualize, plan, theorize. But when we depend on them to guide our inner lives, we’re lost. Minds are excellent at presenting a thousand different variations of the past and conjuring them into a future. And then scaring us with most of them.Most of the time we don’t question our minds. We believe in their lunacy. We have a thought – “my contractor is never going to call me back” – that evokes a corresponding emotion (anger, anxiety, blame) and we are suddenly on the phone with our lawyer.

Meditation develops the capacity to question your mind. Without it, you are at the mercy of every thought, every desire, every wave of emotion. You become unhinged, dependent on whether things are going well that day or not. Whether anyone has rejected you that day or not.

If nothing kicks up the “They did me wrong” mix or the “…I am unloved and will always be this way” mix you might have a good day. But if you pass the mirror and don’t like what you see, if you have a fight with a friend, a partner, a boss… there is nowhere to go but your mind, which usually means listening to one of the familiar whipped-up melodies. And believing every word of it.

When you spend time watching the mind, you notice the familiar medleys and you notice what is noticing the medleysthe stillness that is apart from them. After a while, the stillness feels more like you than the top ten medleys. You begin to love that which is not caught up in the hysteria. Love the sillness. Love the spaciousness. Love the peace. Meditation helps you discover what you love that you didn’t know you loved because you were so caught up in your mind that you didn’t realize there was anything else there. The value of meditation is that it helps you first discover – and then bring yourself back to – what you love.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement”
-Mary Oliver
“When Death Comes”

Now go see Nicole if you haven’t already and link up with something that has inspired you recently! Remember it can be anything! You play the rules. 

What has inspired you recently? A quote? Something you read? Something someone said?

Do you meditate? What do you get out of it?