Mindfulness Mediation: A Journey to Patience

My meditating journey began about 6 or 7 years ago, when my therapist suggested I read Jon Kabat-Zinn's book, "Full Catastrophe Living." I suffered for years with fears, phobias, anxieties, and he thought I might find this book helpful. I was intrigued by the book but thought I could never learn to meditate on my own. My therapist then recommended seeing an MBSR practitioner and taking her Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Course

This changed my life. I am a very skeptical person by nature and not particularly spiritual. I've no background in Buddhism, am not Zen-like, never thought I could "clear" my mind enough to meditate and never did well with group settings. Meeting the MBSR practitioner encouraged me to try meditating; she is warm, kind, non-judgmental and supportive. Her group workshops are fun the same way.

Still apprehensive, I was still excited. I did find it difficult to meditate at first. I told myself to keep at it and if nothing else, just close my eyes and try to keep still. A bit help to me was using the MBSR practitioner meditation CDs (I still use them periodically). Over time, I was able to focus more on my breathing (my anchor) and began understanding the differences in the types of meditation practices. MBSR wasn't about clearing my mind, but about letting thoughts come into my head and just not engaging with them; no judgment, no emotional attachments - just being mindful and noticing, always noticing and labeling thoughts.

When I experienced my first small changes in behavior, I was impressed. I started handling stressful situations at work better, related to my husband and family better. I could distance myself from strong emotional attachments and be calmer instead of confrontational. Nothing else had changed in my life, except adding meditation time into my schedule so I could only believe that meditating brought about these changes.

I began to embrace the group sessions, and found that I really could now begin to understand concepts of mindfulness, impermanence, light and silence. As I expand my meditation practice, my experiences vary, so the meditations are never boring and it is interesting to see how my meditations are affected by what is going on in my life. I do try to meditate every day and have been successful meditating on public transportation, while walking, and even doing just some deep breathing throughout the day.

I do believe that anyone/everyone can benefit from meditating. The key to successfully meditate is consistency. There are actual medical studies that show that meditating alters our brain chemistry. Practice every day and the changes will come.

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