It’s been a week today, since I got discharged after two days of hospital stay, having being taken ill suddenly one Thursday morning. It happened when I was busy settling into my usual routine after spending a hectic week at Kolkata and it came without any warning, taking me completely by shock. The forced rest did me more good than I could have ever got, had I not ended up sick that morning.
As I lay half-asleep in my hospital bed, conscious of the exhaustion that I felt in every cell of my being, it was slowly beginning to dawn on me that the intensely trying months from December through February had left me depleted in more ways than I could have fathomed and that it was definitely at the root of this sudden physical breakdown. I was deeply grateful to the Universe for letting me hold on to my mental strength all this while, which helped me to keep going and not let me disintegrate, even through the worst that could be.
I have to say that this was possible only because of that one single thing that I swear by—the one constant in life, that I’ve been following through, even on the bleakest of days when nothing seemed hopeful to me—yes, it was meditation!
What had started as a little exercise to still the mind at some point in time, ultimately came to be my refuge, but, of course, the road to stillness and acceptance and calm didn’t just appear one fine day, out of the blue. It was an arduous journey, riddled with self-doubt and cynicism, days of struggles with failure to focus on the breath and days of failing to sit through, when one felt like a complete mess and nearly gave up.
The need to feel in control and not fall apart, drove me to practice mindfulness initially. It was in the little everyday moments that I felt most alive, so I started with waking up early and practicing meditation—some days alone and some days with the husband for company, and together, we set off on this journey that has now changed the course along which we find ourselves navigating through the ups and downs of life. I cannot imagine not meditating even for a day now. It is that easy and that addictive!!
For those willing to try it out, there are hundreds of videos on YouTube that have guided meditations for beginners that are definitely worth a try. If you are seriously keen to practice meditation daily, there’s an excellent app that I’ve been following—Insight Timer that contains more than 80,000 guided meditations. It’s customized (and there’s a paid version too) but the free version that I go with, is quite comprehensive as well. It asks you to check-in before you start and presents you with a list of meditations, based on your specific mood/emotion/feeling on the day. If you’re struggling with sleep issues, there are excellent meditations that work even better than the medications and I seriously mean it!
Even as I type this post, I can tell you, that the challenges come and go, but being centred from within helps to tackle whatever life keeps throwing at us.
The truth is that life is always going to remain unpredictable and suffering will always be an inevitable part of our journey, no matter how powerful or privileged we are, but, with the increased awareness that comes from meditation, we learn to accept life as it is.
In a way, nothing changes around us, except the way we look at things. But that one thing alone, has the power to alter our lives a full 360 degrees!