My exploration of meditation started at a very early age. As a small child of 5 or 6, I remember my parents taking me to their TM (transcendental meditation) teacher, and with offerings in hand I received my mantra. At that time, meditation was not something I chose to actively pursue, but I feel as though it laid the groundwork for my own personal exploration of the benefits of meditation as I grew into adulthood.
A recovering perfectionist I often struggled with sitting properly, sitting long enough, clearing my mind enough, breathing, and meditating…what exactly was I supposed to be doing anyway? In the past few years I have loosened the reigns on my meditation practice in that I’ve given up seeking perfection (and you can guess that as a recovering perfectionist this came to be a very hard lesson). It was only when I relaxed into the experience that I was really able to delve beyond the superficial layers of my practice. I found that I would follow my meditation folly–somedays I would listen to recorded meditations, others I would focus on the breath and still others I would work with visualizing my energy body. I often took my meditations outside and sat with the trees and the air and let the experince of being present in nature take me where I needed to go. With all this freedom and exploration, I found that I truly began to love my practice instead of dread it, but at the back of my mind was always wondering “am I doing this right?”.
Recently I was listening to a talk with Sally Kempton, author of Meditation for the Love of it. In her talk she stressed the importance of finding a practice that worked for each practitioner and the importance of finding a practice you could fall in love with. She said that meditation should never be a chore and that we certainly shouldn’t sit down to meditate dreading the coming experience. Her simple, yet profound guidance helped me to find a place of acceptance within my own “rogue meditation” style. She also helped me to feel that while I might not be doing what everyone else was doing, if I followed my intuition most often it would land me in the right meditative place.