Life throws you curveballs. You will feel scared or stressed or sad at some point. That’s inevitable. Life is inherently stormy. Loved ones will get sick. Mistakes will be made. Tires will go flat. Jobs will be lost. Relationships will dissolve. Unexpected bills will pop up. Shit happens, as they say.
But how you relate to the shit is up to you. And the way you relate to these experiences is a reflection of your resilience and inner stability.
Resilience and stability don’t mean being stoic and emotionless.
Stability arises out of the understanding that challenging circumstances are just storms passing through - changeable, temporary.
Resilience is the ability to rebound. To be so internally buoyant that you bounce back, no matter how hard the hits. It means that you have the flexibility and steadiness to dance with the weather of your life.
So ask yourself…how steady is your ship when storms come? If you tend to capsize when shit gets stormy, that’s okay. The good news is that you can steady yourself. You can cultivate stability and resiliency. And meditation is the best way I know to do that.
Meditation bolsters our reserves of resiliency and turns down the dial on reactivity by training us in the art of staying. Sitting still and noticing the changing landscape of emotions and thoughts in meditation helps us to practice staying (rather than pulling a runner) and witnessing (without self-shaming or getting wrapped up on the circumstances). This deepens our self-awareness, amps up our emotional intelligence and schools us in non-attachment.
Together, this toolkit makes responding wisely to challenging emotions or difficult experiences a heck of a lot easier.
Plus, when we commit to meditating regularly, we build resilience. As Zen priest Steve Hagen put it, “if you can get past resistance to meditation, nothing else in life will be an obstacle.” True that.
A regular meditation practice undoubtedly gifts us with the resilience and stability to steady ourselves when life gets choppy. And though I tend to meditate more when I’m feeling challenged, let me be clear - meditation isn’t just for tough times.
What I mean is, don’t just meditate when shit hits the fan. You don’t do 100 situps the day you go on vacation to make sure you have a 6 pack for the pool, right? You don’t go run 20 miles the day of a marathon to get ready, do you? If you’re keen to be fit, you work on your fitness on the regular. You train your muscles repeatedly and consistently, so when the big day or the holiday comes, you’re prepared. Meditation is no different.
Meditate ALL the time so that when the going gets tough, you have a reserve of resilience and the foundation of inner stability to call upon. Think of it as a bank account of inner buoyancy.
Meditate on the regular so you're able to be more steady and bounce back, no matter what life throws your way. The content of your life is always changing. Storms come. But how you experience them is up to you.
You feel me? Go get your 'tush on the cush' and flex those medi-muscles on the regular, boo. If you need a hand getting your practice started, I got you. Check out a bounty of meditation resources here.
Not sure how much you need to meditate? Watch this.