When most people first come to Meditation, generally speaking, these people are stressed out, anxiety ridden, sometimes depressed, and sometimes very angry. They have turned to Meditation as a solution to make them feel happy. And I applaud any person who is facing such challenges and is seeking a viable way to address how they feel without turning to drugs and/or alcohol. Meditation is a very viable solution for people facing these issues.
However, I have noticed an interesting trend in these people. They start to realize the benefits of Meditation and start to feel much better. Some come to class week after week and you see a noticeable improvement in them. Then, they stop coming to class. It has always made me wonder why people stop coming to class. I have made it a point to reach out to people to ask them, “Are you OK…have you been ill…is everything OK”. In most instances, people tell me that their lives have become ‘too busy’. People’s work schedules are a common explanation.
Then there are others who stop coming to class and I run into them somewhere or I manage to have a quick chat with them by e-mail or text. It’s the guys that I find the most interesting. Once these guys get a girlfriend, for the most part, they call it quits on their Meditation practice. They tell me that they’re still meditating at home, but I know the reality…they have left their meditation practice because they are “happy” and they don’t feel they need it anymore.
I know that for many people who come to Meditation class, part of the reason that they feel as they do is because they are lonely. They are missing the company of a girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, or simply someone who pays attention to them with kindness and care. So it’s no wonder to me that when guys get girlfriends, they stop coming to Meditation classes. And I should say that I’m sure that this works the opposite way. I’m sure that there are women who have come to Meditation classes and stopped coming because they got a boyfriend, girlfriend, rekindled their relationship, or possibly even got married.
What happens when and if those relationships don’t work out? Do people come back to Meditation class? The answer is sometimes “yes”, and sometimes “no”. Some have been away from the practice so long, they just don’t want to return to it. They may also be looking for a “quick fix” to their woes.
Meditation seems to be similar to how some people view their relationship with the church. From what I have been told, there are many people who only turn to their faith when times are difficult. When life is “good”, they don’t attend church. However, once things turn “bad”, they flock back to church seeking help.
I remember seeing my first therapist when I was in my 20s. She explained to me that she wanted to help me to stabilize my emotional/psychological health so that instead of their being many moments of extreme highs and lows, I stayed within a short range. I had understood that it wasn’t good to go through times of extreme happiness, followed by times of extreme unhappiness. And the opposite was true as well.
Meditation has helped me to regulate my emotions and psychological makeup. I don’t feel those intense highs and intense lows. But just to be clear, this doesn’t mean that I don’t become very happy at times, and also feel either a bit low or very sad. I do feel all these emotions. But they are not extreme feelings and I don’t ping pong to the opposite feeling.
I believe that I don’t go through these extreme highs and lows for a few reasons. I no longer fixate on negative thoughts and emotions. Like anyone else, I still have some negative thoughts and emotions from time to time, but I don’t dwell on them. As soon as thy come up, a little voice inside of me says “move on”.
And when it comes to positive thoughts and emotions, I find myself full of them. Meditation has opened me up to appreciating the smallest things. I find, and maybe this is my older age, that children and animals bring me great joy. I love to see parents interact with their children. I love to see the joy that pet owners derive from their pets. With all the cold rainy weather we have had, I truly appreciate a bit of warmth and sunshine.
The message I am trying to send to anyone who has learned how to meditate is to see Meditation for what it is. It is a practice. It is not meant to only be done during bad times, it is meant to be done all the time. In fact, when we find the good times have faded and we face some difficult situation(s), it is then, more than ever, that you will understand and appreciate what your practice has done for you. Instead of sinking into a depression due to a difficult situation, you will find that your Meditation practice has given you the ability to not be so reactive to your difficult situation and to easily weather the storm. You will find that your mind will not dwell upon the negativity of the situation and you find some silver lining within it.
I hope that you find this blog helpful to you and your Meditation practice.