I would be lying to you if I told you I didn’t have doubts about meditation…
Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if my own practice is actually making my life better.
That’s a lot of meditating!
The life of a meditator is tough because it’s hard to get over the feeling that spending 30 minutes a day doing something for yourself is selfish.
For me, I spend at least 3 hours a week meditating. I know that every time I sit, I lose out on time with my wife, friends and family.
This opportunity cost, or cost of doing mindfulness as I like to call it, can really start to add up.
Three hours a day doesn’t sound like a lot but if you do the math, I spend almost 160 hours meditating each year!
This doesn’t even take into consideration the five-day silent meditation retreat I did in 2017 and the seven day retreat I plan on doing in early 2019 as part of my meditation teacher certification program.
If you add it all up, on any given year I could spend up to 220 hours meditating!
That’s like 9 full days!
Why proof matters
In my mind, if I’m going to spend this much of my time doing something it better be worth it and up until about a year and a half ago, I wasn’t completely 100% convinced…
Sometimes the proof you need slaps you right across the face. Other times, the proof is more subtle.
However, no matter how we find proof that our meditation practice is working, it’s important because the proof is what keeps us going.
No doubt my story is inconsequential but sometimes in life, we need the small wins to keep us motivated, and having proof that our meditation practice works should give us more than enough motivation to stick with the practice.
Around two months ago I sat down for my morning thirty-minute meditation session.
Before I begin every session, I set a timer for 32 minutes – thirty minutes for my session and two minutes to get through the rituals of lighting my candles and stating my intentions.
More often than not I don’t use guided meditations but on this particular morning, I decided that I wanted to do a thirty-minute guided “loving-kindness” session.
So, without thinking too much about it I put on an audio session from one of Mark Coleman’s guided meditations and settled in for my 30 minute session.
It started off lovely and soon turned into a cathartic and enjoyable experience.
If you’ve ever done a loving kindness meditation you know that the silly little phrases of extending kindness to others and yourself have the ability to make you feel blissed out and completely connected with other people.
Well before I knew it, I was deep in meditation and completely detached from my surroundings and my body.
Everything was going better than I could have excepted until about 25 minutes into the session when I was abruptly yanked out of my meditation by a thunderous …
BEEP BEEP BEEP!!!
“Oh shit!” I thought. I forgot to turn off my timer.
Normally I use the timer to let me know the session is over but on this day, I didn’t need it because I did a guided meditation.
So there I was, with about 5 minutes left in my meditation and the obnoxious beep beep beep sounding off in the background.
I thought about ending the session early for a brief moment but then it hit me…
Listen to your mind, see what it’s saying right now.
This IS the practice.
So that’s what I did.
I tuned in and what do you know, I was tearing myself apart for forgetting to turn off this silly little timer.
Narratives like “You’re an idiot,” and “How could you be so stupid?” and, “Now the whole session is ruined,” were coursing through my mind.
I felt my body tighten up and energy run from the bottom of my feet all the way to the top of my head.
It wasn’t until I made the conscious choice to listen to those voices in my head that I noticed how vicious I was being to myself.
Luckily though, as I continued listening to my mind the judgmental thoughts slowly began to slip away and lose their grip on me.
After a while, all that was left was the feeling of my breath and the persistent hum of the “beep beep” in the background.
Finally, when the meditation ended and the full thirty minutes were up I sat up to turn off the alarm that had been buzzing for over 5 minutes now.
In that moment, I remember thinking to myself: if it wasn’t for my meditation practice which allows me to see my thoughts clearly, I would have let that ruin my meditation, my morning and perhaps my entire day.
In truth, that morning was the very first time I had definitive proof that I was becoming a better version of myself and that meditation was working through me.
The sense of compassion I felt for myself that day has stuck with me in many ways, and I now know this new level of kindness would not be present if it were not for all the sacrifices I made and continue to make in order to maintain my meditation practice.
For those of you wondering if it’s working, look for your own timer/alarm clock story.
Keep looking and life will give you the answer.
Sometimes the answers are obvious and yet sometimes we need to forget to turn off our alarm clock in order for us to see it.
As long as you keep looking and making time to observe your mind, I promise you will see it change your life.
Thank you as always for reading!
We would love to hear YOUR story.
How do you know your meditation practice is working?
We can’t wait to hear from you!
See you next week 🙂