I sometimes teach meditation. I have no degree, no certification, and no plaque to hang on the wall. What I do have is more than 20 years of practice. I’ve read countless books on the subject. I’ve followed the teachings of Eastern masters and Christian monks. I’ve meditated in a community group and online with Oprah and Deepak. This is what I know.

Meditation can teach us to notice what is floating around in these minds of ours. To learn to choose what is and isn’t allowed in there. We cannot empty our minds. We cannot just not think, but during a meditation, we can look at our thoughts, let them know we’ll get back to them, and put them on the back burner for a while. Yeah, some days it’s easier to do than others. Life is busy and complicated. But don’t ever think you can’t meditate if your thoughts get the upper hand. It happens to everyone. And the benefit of all this awareness is that we can learn to halt negative thoughts before they lead us down the rabbit hole to darkness. Fear and anxiety can be told to take a hike and stop leading us around by the nose. The more we practice, the better we get at it. On really hard days, we may have to refocus hundreds of times, but in the long run, it’s easier than the alternative.

Meditation uses purposeful breathing. Deep breaths, right down to our belly, that bring awareness to our bodies. How they feel, where they hurt, where they seem stuck. With each breath, we can bring in more light and let go of all that does not serve us. Our sadness, our fear, our anger. Each exhale is like pulling the plug in a bathtub filled with dirty bath water and watching it drain. Each inhale is the cleaner that comes in and brings back the shine. We continue until we are centred. Until our light is the predominant thing emanating from our bodies. This can take five minutes or an hour. Everyone is different. Every day is different.

And after all of this breathing, and releasing, we now have room for more of the good stuff. The void left by our negativity has to be filled, so let’s fill it with kindness. Joy. Gratitude. Let’s love ourselves and others that little bit more. Let’s expand our lives to their full depth and breadth. Just imagine if we all tried. Wouldn’t that be something to behold?

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