My First Experience with Meditation | Gratitude Meditation, Give it a Try!
My mom encouraged me to try meditation and hypnosis when I was still a teenager. Unfortunately at that time, it went straight in one ear and out the other. Sorry, mom! Reflecting on this experience now, though, I realize it would have been (immensely) helpful and brought me much peace. On another hand, I believe we must be open and receptive to try out new hobbies, recommendations of loved ones, and these activities that seem incredibly foreign (and perhaps slightly loco) to us! If not, they will, like they did with me and meditation, go in one ear and out the other.
So. My first experience with meditation - at a time when I was "open" and "receptive" - began in August of 2010 when there was a dedicated time and space for meditation during that semester of school. Meditation would begin promptly at 17:00, after evening announcements, and last for thirty minutes. It was right before dinner so to me, it was a great time of the day to recap internally and to "just be" before the socializing hours of dinner began. During this time, either Hieu or Lisa, would calmly welcome everyone to the day's practice and shortly thereafter lead us into either a guided meditation or we were free to explore the wonders of meditation on our own.
It was open to the entire clan of us that semester so sometimes we had a few people try it out not to return the next day or on the other hand there were others who attended each day. We sort of became like a "little family" who would meet each day at 17, sit together in silence, and at the end bow to each other with either smiles on our faces or tears in our eyes with our hands in the anjali mudra /prayer position (which is the gesture of greeting or prayer). What a family!
What I took away from those thirty minutes sessions that semester is more than I can describe. Often times it was the littlest comment that either Hieu or Lisa would make that would move me the most or stick with me for days. For example, this little excerpt on just noticing and not getting angry or frustrated about something: Say you are trying to sleep at night and you hear a dog barking. On one hand you might say to yourself 'Argh. I cannot sleep. Dog. Stop. Now.' or the alternative/more zen-like/peaceful approach, simply notice the dog's bark and channel your attention to something else. Of course, there might be extremes when a car alarm is going off and the owner of the car is nowhere to be found but on the day to day, this little nugget has helped me focus more on the good and less on the not as good.
My meditation experience differed each day, depending on how tired I was, what I had experienced recently, etc. and that is completely normal. Some days, fifteen minutes would seem like hours and on other days, fifteen minutes passed gracefully and swiftly. On any account, I would like to share with you what I was taught so that if you are new to meditation you can give it a try. Don't be scared! And if you were where I was and totally not interested then please, continue forward on your path. You never know where the tentacles and seeds of meditation will spread and grow.
Below is the meditation that I recorded. It is extremely similar to what I was initially taught but I have shortened it for brevity. Instructions and guidance are there for you to listen and before you begin, I would recommend that you are in a quiet place or a place that you are unlikely to be disturbed for the next ten or so minutes.
I am grateful for each individual who sat alongside me those evenings of Fall 2010. You will never know the impact that you had on me.
Text from Meditation:
May you be safe and free from fear.
May you have a healthy and strong body
May you have a peaceful heart.
May you live a life of ease.
May you accept those around you exactly as they are.
May you accept your life exactly as it is.
May you accept yourself exactly as you are.