How’s about a Meditation Amendment?

Mindfulness is the key to managing change and the fear of it.

meditation-and-cat

Change. A lot of the world’s problems right now boils down change. There are the ones who tolerate it vs. the ones who don’t.

The distrust and hate we’re seeing in the world is coming from fear. The fear of change. The ones who are afraid of it … and it’s not their fault. We all have a certain tolerance for change. But the ones who have a low tolerance for it are afraid their lives will never be the same. That they may lose some aspect of their lives as they know it.

It’s a legitimate fear. I’m not going to belittle it. Although I’m pretty good with change most of the time, I understand it to some degree. I’ve a had a time or two that I didn’t deal with it well. And what got me through those times was meditation.

A few years back my employer needed to make some cuts. I knew my job was one of the ones potentially on the chopping block. Unfortunately, I enjoyed that job. I was there for 5 years, and in all honesty, I had planned on retiring from there. Doing that same work. Never getting promoted. But I was good. Happy.

Alas, the housing bubble, along with some warm winters and cool summers, brought on some hard times for the electric utility industry. Now my company was good about it. I can’t complain. They basically gave us a heads up 1 year prior and said, “Hey we can’t make any guarantees next year when we submit our budget. We won’t discourage you from looking for other opportunities.”

So, I took the obvious hint. I looked for jobs.

But it was a stressful time. I had changed careers for that job and liked my new career. And it’s such a niche area of expertise that there are few to no jobs in that arena. I was being forced to return to my previous career. I wasn’t too happy about it.

Plus, the company offered unheard of benefits. Pay was awesome. Raises were awesome. I worked from home as much as I needed. They trusted me to do my job and to do it well.

Leaving was not in my plans.

So, for the first time in an extremely long time the fear of change got to me. Probably more than it ever had before.

I gained weight. I developed high blood pressure. I had migraines at least once a week. I worried about losing my condo. My car was 10 years old. The job market was non-existent. No one was paying anything.

It was hard. I was angry all the time. Paranoid. I didn’t trust any one. It was bad. And I knew I had to do something or I was going to have a breakdown or a heart attack. And that’s not an exaggeration.

So, I began to meditate. I only did a little, 5-10 minutes, from time to time in the beginning. I wasn’t disciplined about it at all. I’ll be honest about it. But, in my opinion, it’s better to do it two or three times a week than not do it at all. Especially if you are feeling stressed.

Slowly but surely my anger started to drop. I became a little more disciplined about it. Eventually, I found another job. I was feeling better. Life was looking pretty good.

Then I stopped meditating. I didn’t think I needed it any more.

Turned out, I wasn’t too happy with the new job. I gained even more weight. My blood pressure went even higher. I was doubting myself. My abilities. My future. I became depressed. My health hit rock bottom. I was calling in sick quite often.

One day, about two weeks before the Christmas holidays (a bad time for me in general), I was so depressed I couldn’t get out of bed. I officially stopped functioning. Now, most of it was due to some medication I was taking for an infection, but I had never been that low. Ever. And I don’t ever want to go back.

After I got off the medication, I got serious about meditation. Within the next 6 months, I had gotten to the point that I was meditating twice a day. 30 minutes in the morning and at least an hour before going to bed at night.

My weight stabilized. My migraines went away. My blood pressure dropped – still needed my meds, but it dropped. I slept better.

More importantly, though, my mindset began to change. I still didn’t love my job. Meditation isn’t going to make you love something you don’t. But it will help you look at things differently.

With meditation I started to think about where I wanted to be rather than where I was because you start to control your thoughts more. Or focus your thoughts more.

See, I worry. I’m a huge worrier. So meditation for me is to quiet my mind to a certain degree. For others it’s more of a visualization thing. I use it for both, but many times, it’s to stop the voices in my head. Especially the negative voices.

Ultimately, it led to me quitting my job without anything else lined up. Now, talk about change and taking a risk. That was a major change. A major decision. I had never quit a job before without another job lined up. I still think it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

And my world was just fine. I was calm and peaceful. I kept up my meditation and coworkers noticed how happy and peaceful I was. That’s a long way from where I had been just a couple of years prior when I was told I had a year to look for a job.

Mediation did that. It gave me strength. It gave me power. Freedom. Confidence that I could survive anything that came along.

So when I see what’s happening in the world. The hate, the concern about the future. The fear of change. From a certain perspective, I understand where the feelings come from. It’s the same feelings I had when I was forced to change jobs. Anger, paranoia, fear, worry. The list goes on.

And then I think of how meditation helped me. It makes me wish there was a mindfulness law … or a meditation amendment. This country and this world could be a better place. It truly could be, but we have to find some peace within first. Find the ability to cope with the change that is frightening so many at the moment.

And the funny thing is that you don’t even notice that it’s happening. It just happens. But then one day someone points out your anger or some other bad behavior, and you know something is up. You usually don’t even know that it is a fear of change until you are able to look at in retrospect.

But the world is changing all the time. Right in front of us. We can’t stop it. We can’t control it. But if we want to get to a point where we treat one another as human beings again. To stop the hate. To balance our fear of change. To feel better about ourselves, our lives, our country. Everything. Then, meditation is a clear and simple solution. It’s the easiest of first steps.

I recommend it. And in the beginning, it won’t be easy. You will struggle with it. You’ll feel awkward or incapable or something. I’m not going to lie to you about it.

It takes effort to rewire your brain. But it’s so worth it. Just stick with it — a few minutes a day every other day or so. Then add a little more time and add other days. There are resources everywhere online. Maybe I’ll post some good ones one day, but for now, just Google it. Please. The world needs it right now.

 

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