How self-compassion helped me meditate

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. After many years of struggling with meditation, I realized much of what was holding me back was self-criticism to be perfect at it. And because I couldn’t pull it off in the way I labelled "the right way" I dismissed the practice entirely. This would never be a practice for me.

In the last month, as I’ve been working through some personal sticky spots, I realized that as much as my movement practice has helped me be resilient through a lot of shit, there was still something missing. Resilience for me is a mind-body practice. Except I’ve been kinda cutting myself off at the shoulders and only focusing on my body. Again, this idea of doing it in a perfectly perfect way was paralyzing me from simply trying.

The turning point was when a wise friend suggested that if I approach my meditation practice (life really 🤔) with a sense of kindness to myself - rather than criticism - for whatever pain, obstacles or shortcomings arise then there really is no right way. Just MY way and indeed something I CAN do and even be good at. Add to that a healthy dose of curiousity and jeez that first sit (just a few mins) wasn’t so bad.

Now, I've worked up to sitting for 10 mins, 4-5 days a week. This is a huge leap for me given that most of the time I'm going going going on autopilot, fueled by the ants in my pants.

Here’s what I’ve noticed:

  • I feel calmer, even in more chaotic situations

  • My concentration is better, and when distracted I'm able to get back to the task at hand quicker (and not left standing to stare into the fridge wondering why I was there)

  • I'm a little nicer to myself - the peanut gallery in my head (the critics) that can hijack my good sense have a lot less to say

  • I'm digging, if not craving the peacefulness that sitting offers me (I never thought this would be a thing!)

I'm sharing this as I never thought I'd have anything to share about meditation, ever. Except maybe that it wasn’t for me. If that rings true for you and your wrestle with the idea that meditation needs to look/be/feel a certain way, see if you can let that go. Get an app, find a teacher or meditation group and just explore the possibilities, with as much compassion and curiousity as you can rally.

Last point here. If you give it a try and decide the practice isn’t for you, just remember, never say never :).

Here are some resources that have supported my recent journey:

  1. Spirit Loft Movement Centre has a group sit on Thursday nights (located here in Toronto)

  2. Waking Up meditation app with Sam Harris (also reco Andy from @headspace)

  3. Rick Hanson’s Growing the Good (live meditation program if you like guided study)

#movement4resilience #meditation4resilence #resilientme