This week, we're thinking about the power of mindfulness to change lives.
Many community members would agree that meditation is truly life-changing, so we reached out directly - to hear about how your lives have been impacted by mindfulness and meditation.
Here's what you had to say:
1. When did you start meditating and why?
From leveling up yoga, to taking a pause, or better understanding the brain, the motivations for taking up meditation ranged from our audience. We love this thought from Monica:
"I started in 2014 because I was fascinated by the human mind and wanted to tap into parts of my brain that simply can’t be accessed through conscious thought alone. I knew there was more for me to experience in life and I was ready to dive into a teaching that has stood the test of time".
2. Were there any challenges that you faced and how did you overcome them?
Community member, Miguel, shared his personal testimony with us "The biggest challenge I faced was my divorce. Meditation and plant medicine has helped me understand and let go of attachment. To live fully, present, and in truth. To love unconditionally to all that may come before me. Meditation helped me overcome these obstacles."
3. Did you have a community to support you?
Samantha is a perfect example of someone who started meditating solo and later fell into a community of like-minded individuals. She shared: "I tried to talk to everyone and anyone about it, in the hopes that I'd find other people who practiced - and I ultimately did. It was amazing to start to connect with others, hear about their journeys, and how they evolved their practices to best work for them."
You can make the connections through friends and family, or even look for more formal support like our friend Miguel. "About a year after I found a tribe called Modern Renaissance Men. They were great mirrors for me. I became one of the founding fathers alongside 7 others."
4. Is there a style of meditation you love?
Meditation styles vary - we see this in responses from Jesal and Rita. "Zen. It's very discipline heavy, something I like especially with my background doing martial arts" says Jesal. Rita tells us her preference: "I tend to lean on pranayama as my way into meditation"
5. What are the early signs for you that meditation was effective?
Monica described her experience with us as such: "It’s funny because you see the effects most when you miss a day of meditation. Meditation is an emotional, spiritual, and mental preventative care practice and for whatever reason, preventative care is never as alluring as when something is painful or needs critical attention. It’s often when I skip a meditation I can see the clear distinction as to why my devotion to it is so important."
Jesal picked up slightly different, but still very powerful signs that his meditation was effective; "Noticing the gaps between someone saying something to me and controlling my emotions to turn my reaction into an intentional response."
6. How has your meditation style changed over time?
Since learning so many different meditation styles, Jesal shares how his personal style has changed throughout his mindfulness journey- "I now approach it as a tool kit for what can best serve me at the time. Mantras for energy, mindfulness, and body scan for stress, etc."
Rita explained, "It used to be more guided and I would push myself to sit for longer... now it's more self-guided or nature guided and just as effective sitting for shorter periods of time."
7. What advice would you give to someone who's just starting out?
We love this advice from our teachers:
"There is no such thing as "doing it wrong" -- Start with just 1 minute. You can't run a marathon on day one of training. So find your seat, sit quietly for 1 minute (6-7 breaths). Notice your breath. Build from there." - Jesal
"Forget everyone's advice or what you have heard about meditation and began as fresh as a newborn baby. Find guides through a community and/or find a meditation coach to guide you. Don't just choose out of desperation, stick to your intuition, and feel out the person who will guide you." - Miguel
"Learn from someone or from others you know who hold a practice. Speak about your experience and ask questions. Meditation is something that isn’t taught to the masses and has many misconceptions around it. When you find guidance, you will begin to unlock its magic. Alone it can become harder than it ever needs to be. I truly believe meditation is a natural state for all of us. Once we can get out of our own way and learn from someone, we will quickly realize how very simple and immensely powerful it is." Monica
"Bottom line -- just show up!" - Rita