I can remember my first out of body experience with meditation like it was yesterday. It was a crisp, cold winter morning back in 2016. I recall feeling a little anxious because the meditation from the day before was particularly challenging. My mind was incessant, and my body was filled with tense energy which made me apprehensive because I feared today’s sit would be much of the same.
Nevertheless, I made the commitment to try again so I lit my candles, turned on my fountain, and settled in for another 30-minute journey.
After beginning my meditation with a complete body scan I started to feel something in my gut that soon spread to every inch of my body. It felt as though I was falling to nowhere and for a moment, I considered that I was just experiencing some form of vertigo.
My body felt light as a feather and I had no sensation in my extremities. I could hear everything in my room crystal clear —the sound of the fountain, the buzz of the heater, the occasional car passing by, my breath going in, and out…
The sensation of time completely vanished from my consciousness and as far as I could tell, my body was nonexistent.
After slipping into this sensation of falling I experienced something that has since changed my life.
Not outer space, INNER space.
In that moment, I had separated from the thinking in my head and literally felt like I was watching my mind on TV. There was no attachment to my thoughts and I could see each concoction of my mind with complete objectivity.
They weren’t MY thoughts, they were simply thoughts that were thinking themselves.
I remember journaling about the experience immediately after the meditation like a giddy child!
Had I just figured out meditation?
Did I just have a spiritual experience?
And most importantly, what the HELL was that???
To be honest, I didn’t really care what it was called; all I knew was that it felt great and I wanted to share my experience with someone. I thought to myself, “If it can help me, then surely it can help others right?!”
The sad truth however is that most people don’t give a shit about your spiritual experience. Not because they are bad people, but because they can’t relate.
So, I won’t go so far as to say meditation isn’t right for everyone, but I will say that meditation is right only when the time is right.
Most people live oblivious to the treasure hidden within themselves and we as meditators are often eager to help those people see the magic of mindfulness. Perhaps a little too eager…
When we first start meditating it’s like we somehow stumble upon a hidden, yet remarkably simple secret. We might even feel like those who don’t know this secret are somehow “less evolved” than us. But that’s the problem with secrets, they are divisive by nature in that one party knows and the other party knows not.
Don’t let the ego hijack your meditation practice!
The ego loves secrets and feeds off knowing things that others don’t. The ego can take your meditation practice and add it to the inventory of so called “personal attributes” that propagate the “self” and strengthen the egoic mind.
After we start a meditation practice many of us become what I like to call “A Pretentious Buddha.”
We’ve all seen this person in our lives; the one who looks down on those who are less “evolved.” The one who thinks if you don’t have a meditation practice you’re practically a Neanderthal!
These are the kind of people that give mindfulness a bad rap. They exaggerate their practice to others to seem more enlightened, all in an attempt to keep the ego—the sense of “I’m better than you”—alive.
Most of the time, these people don’t even know that their ego is really the one driving the bus here. Their intentions might be pure in that they really want to help people to see a better world, but their execution is seriously flawed.
Let’s make this clear:
You can NOT talk someone into meditating!!!
You can only show them how meditation works through you!
That’s the key! Stop preaching and start showing – because no one likes to feel like they are being talked down to and more importantly, no one wants to be told what to do!
So for example, if you want your significant other to start a meditation practice, don’t spend hours presenting him/her with the latest and greatest scientific research validating meditation (of which, there is an overwhelming amount).
Instead, embody your practice. I promise your significant other will be sure to notice. Eventually, the change in you will be so substantial that your partner will become curious which might blossom into a practice of their own down the road.
If they do start a practice, great!
At this point you will still need to keep your distance because at the end of the day, meditation is a very personal proposition. Let them grow into their practice instead of telling them things you have done or learned along the way in your own journey.
When we try to project our practice onto others, we lose them because the idea of “getting to the same place” is daunting and overwhelming.
This doesn’t mean that you should never discuss your practice, but I would encourage you to do so only if asked. Even then, I wouldn’t describe your practice in a grandiose manner because it could lead to trepidation and maybe even resentment from the other person.
People are often amazed when I tell them that my wife doesn’t have a regular meditation practice of her own. To them, I usually respond with “Why should she?” Meditation was a personal choice for me and for me to force it on my wife would be unfair. I avoid preaching to her because what’s true for me in this moment does not have to be true for her.
All I can do is be the person that my meditation practice has allowed me to be. When I show kindness or patience, my wife knows it comes from my meditation practice. I don’t need to tell her.
I want my wife to find meditation at her own pace, on her own terms, and when the time is right.
The good news is we can all lead by example. Instead of telling people how great meditation can be, show them!
When you get excited and eager to tell anyone and everyone about the benefits of meditation, practice mindfulness and take a deep conscious breath. Be patient with your loved ones and know that when the time is right, meditation will be there for them…
Thanks for reading!!! I truly appreciate anyone who reads my content! I would love to hear from you! Have you ever been guilty of being a pretentious Buddha? Do you have any other methods to help guide people along the path of mindfulness at their own pace? If so, please leave a comment and let us know!
Until next time, many many blessings.
My boyfriend is a great meditator, and I want to be! He doesn’t brag about it or even force me to try it. He does tell me at times when I’m anxious that he feels bad because I’m not mindful of that moment. The thing is, I don’t know where to start. Him and I have discussed HIS path through meditation but I’ve not really asked how to get started. I kinda thought it would just come to me?
This is super common I think. I know when I first started meditating I used to look at other people and think “there’s no way I’ll ever meditate as well as them”. But here’s the thing. Everyone’s meditation journey is unique and personal. No two are the same. What works for you might not work for others and vice versa. Apps like Headspace and Calm are great when building your foundation but they aren’t necessary. You can do it on your own as long as your kind to yourself and understand you cannot “win” meditation and there is really no right way to do it. Thanks for the comment Leslie! I’m exited to see how it goes for you!