Meditation has become wildly popular in recent years, but it is not a new practice. The earliest practice dates back to the 4th century and possibly even earlier. The first meditation hall was started by Dosho, a Japanese monk in the 7th century.

People try to explain or define meditation and what the experience is like in many ways, but the best thing to say is that meditation is an experience unique to each individual. Depending on your mood, surroundings and the type of practice you are engaging in, all will affect the outcome of the experience that time.

My strategy for getting started was having real expectations. Meditation is a practice that, without some experience, nearly no one is good at right away, and I was no exception. You develop the meditation muscle overtime, meaning some pain, discomfort and moments of wanting to pull your hair out can come with learning. As the practice becomes more familiar, I start noticing it getting easier and now even look forward to the next session. Additionally, the brain begins forming pathways, meaning there is more space in the mind that wasn’t there before. After feeling like you need to wrestle your way through, the change will be welcomed when you notice the mind surrendering faster to the moment with calmness, presence and clarity showing up frequently.

Practicing meditation creates calmness and inner harmony by opening up awareness to the conscious mind. This allows you to take better notice of feelings, emotions and behaviors, learn to remain stable in turmoil and achieve a state of inner peace and acceptance for whatever life is in this moment of time. Over time, you become able to maintain this state through highs lows as well as chaos and disharmony.

Mindfulness in meditations makes you less reactive and more able to accept. It does not act as an escape. This is not your happy place, a place and time of its own, away from reality. In this practice, it is about being in the very place, mindset, mood, and physical state that you are currently in. Whatever that looks like – frustration, resistance, pain, happiness, or joy – that is where you are sitting, learning to accept and be at peace within that current state.

Coming to terms with this was probably my biggest lesson in meditating. I had to learn that meditation does not serve to change my mood or situation, the purpose is to be fully in it and learn to observe my body and mind, and not to try changing, or resisting. To let go is (very cliché and difficult but) necessary to get beyond yourself and the control the mind fights for. When you finally surrender and let go of the control or trying to change how you feel , you get beyond to a place where you begin to accept it. This is not to say how you feel isn’t valid, but you can stop judging it and just feel it, whatever it is.

The next blog will be about what to do after learning meditation and moving into manifestation. That can work for you or against you. Mediation and acceptance doesn’t mean you don’t want to act or make improvements or changes to move forward. It only means in the practice and moment you are learning to accept and not judge what is.

You can experience a meditation on netflix with the headspace series or on the app for headspace where there are many guided meditation courses and individual practices.