Why I teach meditation
Updated: Nov 1, 2018
When I tell people that I teach meditation, their common first response is “I could never do that!” or “no way, my mind is always going!” or “I really should meditate, but there’s no way I can.” But then they come to a class, and they close their eyes and focus on their breath, and I can see it instantly in their faces and body language the moment they find space, what I like to call space between a thought, or space between a breath.
I tell you all that this practice wasn’t easy for me to find or cultivate. In fact, it wasn’t until well into my adult years that I learned to meditate or to recognize the importance of pausing and being present. And that is why I believe people relate to my teaching, because I understand what it’s like to struggle. And every day, I continue to be challenged as I navigate the daily doings of our lives. I mess up. I regret something I’ve said, I get triggered, I eat too much dessert, the list goes on. But now, I have a toolkit that reminds me to cultivate some empathy for myself, or to help me repair the rupture of an emotional outburst, and I pick myself up and begin again.
Growing up, I carried a lot of emotional baggage, and I realized that I needed to find some kindness towards myself first and foremost. On the surface, you would have looked at my family and assumed we were pretty darn perfect. We got good grades, we were pretty, we were smart, my parents sent us to an all girls school and we all went on to study at Princeton. But by the time I was in middle school, I had developed a raging case of self-loathing and insecurity that stayed with me until a few years ago.
The stages of transformation took years – I found yoga in grad school, I fell in love with it and told myself I “should” meditate, but I made excuses and never did. I got married, I had kids, I was tired and made more excuses. Until the winter of 2009/2010….It took a few doctors before a diagnosis was made, but it scared me enough to shake me and wake me up.
It was yoga that brought me back, and I decided then that I wanted to share the transformational healing power of the practice. My teacher, with whom I studied and received 500 hours of certification, required meditation as a daily practice. And that’s when my practice began.
When I teach meditation, I am sharing a message of self-acceptance. We aren’t perfect, and never will be, and when we let go of expectations and judgment, we cultivate an acceptance of ourselves and of the moment just as it is. When we meditate, our minds will wander. It’s an irrefutable fact of being human. And as one of my students said, “it’s okay to suck at it sometimes.” But the beauty is in that moment when you can acknowledge this, and without judgment, return to your breath and begin again. And it’s important to remember that it is a practice, meaning we have to do it over and over again. Sometimes it’s smooth and sweet, sometimes it’s hard to slug your way through the thoughts. But, it will change, and you will find places of quiet. Most importantly, we learn to forgive. We learn to be still. We learn to breathe and to forgive ourselves and those around us.