100 days of meditation: dealing with adversity

At some point in all of our lives we face adversity. Loved ones pass on, we might lose our job, we may have marital difficulties. This is a part of life and as unavoidable as change. When a big rock is thrown onto the lake of our resolve, it can cause a violent impact. We must deal with the initial shock wave and then the subsequent ripples which continue to reach us from the epicentre of the event.

 

Last week there was a big change in my life, the details of which are not important. I have decided to use the event as an opportunity to strengthen myself. When an exec joins a new company they set a 100 day plan and as I enter this new phase of life I too will set a 100 day plan for myself. I will meditate for a minimum of an hour a day for 100 days. I will set this as a tapas – not the delicious Spanish food but one of the yoga principles whereby you make a contract with yourself to practice a discipline with the ultimate result of strengthening your willpower. Ideally once the 100 days are up the meditation will become as normal as brushing my teeth in the morning.

 

I will complete an hour of mediation as the first thing that I do when I wake up and I will journal before and after the meditation to keep a track of my feelings and progress. Last year I did a 10 day Vipassana course and this gave me a basic toolkit for meditating. I hope to expand those techniques over the next 100 days.

 

Meditation gives me an opportunity to observe myself and how I am feeling. What I observed at the end of the week was that I was feeling insecure due to the change that had taken place. This was making me question my confidence in my relationships with close friends and with my boyfriend. I was catching myself having absurd and irrational thoughts! It is amazing how the mind can play tricks on us! The good news is that once I caught these thoughts, I was able to deal with them. Meditation is the tool that gives us the power to catch these subconscious thoughts that bubble up to the surface. It is as if the “insecurity” door was opened and up rushed any deep-rooted fears that I had. Well, now that they have arrived at the surface level or my conscious mind, I have been able to deal with them by observing not engaging with them and simply allowing them to pass.

 

When I meditate I like to use metaphors of water. Thoughts are like a river flowing by and I am the witness on the bank. It is my choice whether I want to dive in on top of a thought drifting by and engage with it or I can let is pass. Another analogy which helps is thinking of the conscious mind as the surface of a river and the subconscious is the entire depth below. We may have all sorts of creatures lurking in the water and we can coax them out through meditation and allow them to bubble to the surface. If we engage with them we can reinforce them or make them stronger however my wonderful teacher in Mysore always told me to “just totally relax, nothing is bothering you, no thought is disturbing you”.

 

There are many wonderful techniques of meditation and I am excited to explore the ones I know and learn new ones over the next 100 days. Whatever the technique, the goal is the same – to clear the lenses of my perception.