Like so many others who come to meditation, I was curious about the health benefits, and seeking respite from an overactive mind. I remember crying to a friend that it was only during my meditation period that I could feel any sense of peace or calm in my life. It was a dark period of my healing journey/spiritual awakening.
At the time I began a daily meditation practice in earnest, my mind was a pretty unfriendly place. Rumination and negative self-talk had reached all new levels of what felt like depravity. Frankly, I was desperate for relief because it felt like my world was closing in on me.
Meditation in those days was like grasping: frantically feeling around in the dark for a life preserver as the ship was going down.
It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but I stuck with it and slowly began to train my mind. I didn’t fully understand it then, but I was training my body, too. My body had become addicted to the chemical cocktail of stress hormones that were produced by so many negative subconscious beliefs and thought processes that had heretofore dictated my life.
It was too subtle to notice at first, but something else happened as I was training my body and mind with meditation. The hours of my day spent outside of meditation started to feel lighter and easier.
I started the practice for the respite from pain, and now I continue for the clarity, creativity, and insight I receive outside the practice. Renowned meditation teacher, Craig Hamilton, tells us that the purpose of meditation is actually to be more awake when we’re off the cushion. He also taught me that the meditation never really stops.
There are many ways to meditate, and no one “right” way will suit everyone – at least not in the beginning. I work with my clients to find what suits their temperament and lifestyle, so they may better sustain a daily practice. Meditation is like going to the mental gym. Once a month won’t make much difference on the scale or in the mirror.
One thing I am adamant about is when my clients meditate. Any time of day will work for stress relief. However, if you want to remake your life and change your subconscious programming, you will save yourself a lot of time by making a habit of meditating first thing in the morning. An alternative would be an evening practice, just before you fall asleep at night.
This has everything to do with your brain waves and how they fluctuate throughout the day. Most of us are in Beta or High Beta all day long. However, when we fall asleep, we transit through Alpha to (hopefully) stay mostly in Theta and Delta while we sleep. Theta is the watery realm of the subconscious mind. And we can’t change our limiting subconscious programming without accessing Theta.
First thing in the morning, we are closest to Theta. If you start meditation while still in Alpha (before your brain cranks up to Beta) you’ll more likely be able to drop back in to Theta, and that’s how you reprogram all the faulty systems that tell you you’re not good enough, or that trigger anxiety or dis-ease, or that cause self-sabotage.
So basically it’s this simple: If you want to see change in your life, meditate first thing in the morning. Every morning.
If you need help landing on a practice that will work for you, reach out or leave a comment below. It’s what I’m here for.