Why I stopped meditating: acts of rebellion + intention

“Meditator” isn’t a label I’d give myself, though I’ve meditated for years — in temples, on the bus, on cushions, in the tub, with and without formalities and teachers.

(People who put things like, “And Joe has been a meditator for twenty years…” in their bios make me wonder. Unless of course, you’re a mediation teacher. But otherwise it doesn’t impress me as a pick up line, mostly because I’ve known some long-time meditators who were very cranky, or paranoid, or rude to waiters.)

Meditating doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be more compassionate or loving, it just means you can call yourself a meditator.

I’m Meditator Lite. Meditator Light. Reluctant, Flailing, Empassioned…person who meditates.

But I then stopped formally meditating. Intentionally. Not like when you don’t go to the gym one week and then a month goes by, not that kind of slow halt. I actually declared that I would not sit in lotus or pick up mala beads, or watch my breath for, well, maybe forever. The very thing I was doing to feel liberated felt confining.

My practice — which was not that grueling to begin with — started to feel like one more thing to do. Meditation became an assignment and I felt I was being graded by an invisible monk. Polishing my consciousness, counting my mantras, strength-building — achieving.

Meditating was becoming a way to reinforce my “goodness” — good at taking care of myself, good at seeking, good at being holistic, good at being good. And meditation was becoming a crutch for being “on”. Meditate before the gig, the interview, the meeting to make sure I was ON TOP OF IT. I felt pressured to meditate to relieve the pressure. From this frustration, a question surfaced: How present would I be if I didn’t focus on being “prepared”? I dared myself.

Some very beautiful things happened when I stopped meditating.

I learned to work without a net.

I learned that I am still loving and insightful even if I don’t pause for cosmic clearance. A deeper kind of strength came forth — calm, and ancient, and sturdy.

From my new vantage point, I could see with great clarity the essential reasons that I had meditated — and I gave myself permission to love those soul inclinations:

I meditate for comfort.

This is an admission of sorts that gives me great relief. I don’t necessarily sit to empty my mind, or to “grow”. I meditate because I deeply crave the comfort of connection with, if even just a taste of, The Mother of The Mother of All Things Ever. I crave The Spaciousness That Cradles, The Light That Burns Boundaries. I want to be home. This feels so good. I want to feel that good as much as possible. Yep, I meditate for comfort.

I meditate for disruption.

Sometimes I go digging in the back alley of my psyche just to stir shit up. I look for lurking fears and I turn up the volume on the critical tapes. I tend to do this when my psyche is like still water, just when things were going so well. I love this act of conscious antagonism. It shows me my power to heal, how far I’ve come, what monsters are still misbehaving at my table and who at that table needs more compassion.

When my meditation is an act of loving others, I get higher, faster.

The times when I devote a meditative session to someone/something else — whether it’s a string of mantras, or sending someone light while I’m sitting on a park bench — I get a rush of divine currency that is the yum of being alive. I like it. A lot. The surest way to experience oneness is to be the giver.

Intention is everything.

Meditation is an act of compassion for myself and others — when I come from a place of compassion. When I meditate to achieve, it’s a striving; when it’s to prove something, it turns into enduring. And when you’re in a place of compassion – you’re able to be more fully present with all of it — the pain and the joy, yours and others.

Sometimes, you need to stop taking your medicine to let your body heal itself.

Sometimes, you need to pause so you can move forward.

Sometimes, you need to turn away from something so you can see why you fell in love in the first place.

 

 

related posts
Featured @2x 456x456 (16)

The difference between happiness & joy. And why it helps to know.

There’s a difference between the definition of happiness and the definition of joy. It’s valuable to be aware of this because when things get tough, logic might want you to default to despair, or utter sadness or worse, you might think you have to choose between hardship and joy, or support and separation, or light and dark…

Original-Self-Help-July-28-When-You’re-Done-Fighting-For-It

When you’re done fighting for it. The upside of finally giving up.

Do you know the story of the man who was hitting himself over the head with a hammer? “Why do you keep hitting yourself with that hammer?” a shocked passerby asked him. “Because,” the man replied, “it’s going to feel so good when I stop.”

Featured @2x 456x456 (14)

You will be called on to expand. And this is why we practice.

I travelled to Dharamshala, India with six friends to meet with The Dalai Lama. It was cell-altering and heart-expanding. The week before our arrival, there had been a horrible event in which some monks were murdered — most shockingly, by other monks. The story was on everyone’s mind and in our small, private meeting with His Holiness, the first thing we did was offer our condolences. His response captivated me…

Featured @2x 456x456 (12)

You’re going to feel guilty

The guilty feeling associated with desire, with going after what you want, with transforming….you know that feeling? It’s like tar on your mojo. Maybe you were raised in an environment where desire was considered a negative thing. Or your social circle constantly reinforces the message that you shouldn’t dare to bust out. And maybe you frequently feel guilty for wanting what you want — and you know that it’s causing blocks in your life…

Featured @2x 456x456 (11)

Love your sadness. It won’t last.

I was feeling it. Pure sadness — the inescapability of it plowing through the softest part of me. When you’re in that kind of painful place you’ll try to climb the walls to get away from it. You want it over with. “Love your sadness. It won’t last long.” A friend texted me late at night. I caught it just as I was turning off my bedroom light….

Featured @2x 456x456 (10)

refuse to worry (and how to be more useful for your friends)

Every fearful expectation has a big “story” behind it. The trauma, the drama, the pain, the plot. Worry feeds on the gruesome details. It replays the potential saga in your head. It validates all the reasons things could go wrong by drudging up the past again and again. Worry is cleverly building a case as to why you should worry…

Featured @2x 456x456 (9)

What to do when things suck. (hint: don’t gloss over it.)

When you’re feeling out of your soul zone and something crap is happening…accept that it’s happening. I know. Believe me, I know. This may sound super flaky and totally impossible. And yet…this counsel is at the heart of most Eastern mysticism. Don’t deny what’s occurring. The power to change what’s happening comes from accepting it first.

Featured @2x 456x456 (8)

what’s the ‘big real’ of what you’re doing?

There is a Big Real behind everything we do. Sometimes it’s a negative Big Real. Sometimes it’s a positive Big Real.

Featured @2x 456x456 (7)

the euphoria of admitting when it sucks

I hear this time and again, “If I just hang in longer… Maybe she’ll come up to speed. It might sell in the summer. If I dig deeper, I’ll learn to love Excel.” Fess up – it ain’t workin’. You’re smart to see it. You’re brilliant if you move on…

Featured @2x 456x456

Infidelity, sisterhood, and self-respect either way. #Lemonade and Love.

My feelings about infidelity, monogamy and commitment — and how they’ve evolved over time. How I define Divine Fidelity a la David Deida’s 3 stages of relationships. And my deep respect for Beyonce’s art and every woman’s choice of devotion.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This