Meditation- we all know what it is, but some of us do not know whether it is “real” or not. People who meditate often say meditation has “changed their lives” and “ made them more in touch with themselves than ever before”. How could something be so powerful? Vulnerability: when we meditate we choose to be seen and to be heard- maybe not to others but to ourselves. If we are truly meditating, we are checking in with ourselves,which includes checking in with our feelings. Like I said- it is vulnerable and scary, but powerful.
I think one of the most beneficial parts of meditation is “letting go”- letting go of what we want or what we think we need, and trusting that we will get what we need, just maybe not in the way that we expect. Yes, this is also vulnerable. As humans, we want to feel in control and to feel safe- then we can protect ourselves from rejection and hurt feelings- vulnerability. Meditation lets us feel and better understand our fears and why we think we need what we need as form of protection. This is important because when we realize and acknowledge this, we can move past and “let go,” opening ourselves up to receiving what we truly need.
So how do we do this? I encourage people to meditate in whatever way feels most authentic to them. For me, this is waking up early in the morning, setting aside 30 minutes to write in my journal about what I am grateful for, how I can stay grounded, and how I will take care of myself that day even when things seem overwhelming and stressful. Research shows that gratitude practices greatly increase our ability to be vulnerable, accepting the things we cannot change and feeling joy for the good things in our life, so I highly encourage people to make gratitude practice a part of their meditation routines. For some people, journaling does not work; they find hiking, swimming,taking themselves out on a dinner date better–so I tell people to find what works for them, what is the best “meditative” practice for them and encourage them to sit (either comfortable or uncomfortable) in their vulnerability.