I spent several years stuck in this cycle of pseudo-spirituality. This apathetic approach to my well-being dragged me to my knees time and time again. Then I hit a big-time bottom. My astrologer called it my “Saturn Return.” I called it an existential crisis! It seemed as though the universe was a tennis ball machine blasting me with assignments. The assignments came in three forms: overcoming romantic illusions, shifting careers and embracing a life of sobriety. In the past, I’d have coped with these assignments with drugs, alcohol, a new relationship, or over-working. None of these “remedies” ever worked. I finally surrendered to the fact that my outside chase for serenity was a dead end and something had to change. So I turned my search for happiness inward. I called on my memory of meditating in some random friend’s beach house at the age of 16. I remembered how it felt to relinquish my fearful illusions and surrender to the loving energy that surrounded me. My recollection of this time was so vivid that it propelled my desire to know more. Thus, it was time to surrender to a full-blown, rocked-out, no-joke meditation practice.
I set up a meditation shrine and hit the pillow on a daily basis. I was determined to do it right this time. I read all kinds of books on meditation, listened to audio meditations, attended workshops and lectures, and found a meditation coach. And to top off, I picked up the self-study metaphysical thought system A Course in Miracles and embarked on a 365-day meditative transformation.
Oddly, I felt grateful for the discomfort I’d experienced throughout my life—it had led me to surrender to a committed meditation practice. My willingness to change jump-started my shift, but the initial steps were not as easy. Sitting through my chaotic thoughts and emotional discomfort was very difficult. Yet, during each meditation I’d experience fleeting moments of peace. Those moments kept me coming back to my pillow to receive more. Each day my meditations lasted longer and grew deeper. Some days, I’d turn on music, like Helios or Sigur Ros, and I’d meditate through an entire album.
As my meditation practice strengthened, I found it effortless to enter into a calm state and release my thoughts. The result was that my practice had guided me to quiet my beta brainwaves (associated with active thinking, speaking, and analyzing) and amp up my alpha brainwaves, which led me into a pleasant, relaxed wakeful state of awareness. In addition, my practice had opened up my right brain, which is where we access our creative capacities. With this creative side of my brain pumping, my ~ing (inner guide) could do her thing, creating images, igniting inspired ideas and healing my past wounds.