I don’t know about you, but with all the insanity going on in the world from the Ukraine War, to Covid, to Roe v. Wade, I’ve found myself full of anxiety and stress. It can be easy to get pulled into the news, the anger, and the fear of how all these upheavals will change my life.
How will my career be affected? Will I have enough money? What will next year bring?
These are very difficult times we’re living in, and it’s natural to feel like everything is upside down. But we must remind ourselves that it will pass like everything in life – whether “good” or “bad.” It’s up to us to combat any depression we may feel about the future and continue to keep focused on our career goals and aspirations.
But how? How do you stay positive when things just well, frankly, suck?
Meditation is one proven and tried way to find happiness in dark times.
Alcohol, drugs, and over the counter meds help escape reality, but when you come down, you’re still back to the same shitshow. With meditation, you actually change your reality by shifting your perception. If you’ve tried meditation and failed before or if you’ve been intimidated by all the hippy dippy jargon, there’s an easier way to tackle the holy grail of contentment.
The key is to create your own practice that works for you.
We get caught up in thinking there is a right way to meditate – I know I did and that kept me from doing it. We think it must be done for a certain amount of time, a certain way, in a certain place, that our brain must never wander, that we must OHM till our brains are dizzy and above all that we must sit in an uncomfortable position for hours on end with a water fountain gurgling in the background.
If none of that works for you (especially the Zen fountain), guess what? You still can meditate and have amazing results. I know because I’ve been doing it the “wrong” way for years and I have all the same benefits of doing it the “right” way.
After years of failed attempts, I got a recommendation to read Passage Meditation by Eknath Easwaran. It offered a different way to meditate – what I call “meditating for dummies.” At the core of the book is the idea that you choose a passage or prayer as your mantra vs. the dreaded OHM. This makes things easier as you have something specific to occupy your thoughts. This was something I could do!
Easwaran also tells you to accept if your mind wanders, to not fight it. This to me was revolutionary. When I would meditate before, I’d get so irritated with myself if my mind wandered (as I wanted to be perfect) that I eventually just stopped meditating. Now I accept my brain goes off in different directions. And because I don’t fight it, I have gotten better at taming my thoughts and staying focused.
How long should I meditate?
They say a minimum of ten minutes a day, but once again it’s your practice – do what you can. You can always work up, you’re not under the gun here! Once again, find what works for you – what you can commit to. I myself only meditate ten a day and I get huge benefits. Questions are answered that I struggle with, goals I have become reality, and bonus, I’m just way nicer to be around.
I’ll also tell you a little rebellious thing I do – I never sit up to meditate. When I wake up I just remain in bed – no lotus position for me. Many will say that’s completely incorrect – but guess what, it works for me! And until I found my own dummy way to do it, I never could commit. Now I love that extra time under my covers in the morning meditating just making my dreams, career goals, and happiness come true.
Meditation does not have to be a daunting, esoteric, activity only for the “enlightened.” Throw out the rules and find your way to quiet your mind a few minutes a day. We all can do it, so take the fear out of doing it right, just start, stick to it, and you will find it invaluable for success in camming as well as your mental health.
Alyssa Collins hails from Minnesota, where snowy days were the perfect excuse to stay warm inside and write. Over the years, she turned that joy into a career and has authored numerous articles for various publications (under pen names). Email Alyssa via [email protected].