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To Thine Own Self Be True…Finding Yourself in Meditation

Oct 5, 2022

Like most people, you might define yourself by your thoughts, beliefs, and experiences. You associate your identity with what you look like, your relationships, what you do for a living, your extracurricular activities, past experiences, and future goals. But do these things define who you are? And what happens if one or more of these things change? Does that mean that the true you changes as well?

Have you ever wondered, “Do I truly know myself”? Not the surface level you, but the true you. Not the representative- you know, the version of yourself that tries to live up to the expectations of others and of yourself, or the you that hides behind fear and doubt, but the true you. The you that rarely if ever, gets seen. The you that is deep within the psyche, beyond the conscious mind.

We are so much more than the sum of our outward appearance, beliefs, and experiences. Beneath years of conditioning, trauma, and life’s inevitable challenges is our true selves, just waiting to be accessed and drawn upon.


 “The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear” – Rumi

But to get beyond who you think you are and discover who you truly are, you must spend some alone time with yourself to go beyond the surface of the mind. One of the best ways to achieve this and to become in tune with your true self is through meditation. Meditation allows us to withdraw from the outside world, which is full of distractions, into ourselves, where we can find peace and quiet. In that quiet, there are no fears, doubts, or expectations, only peace, and awareness. The more time you spend within yourself, the more you will discover who you are and appreciate the person that you are. When we connect to our true selves, we can be empowered, more aligned with what makes us who we are, and able to live a more harmonious and fulfilling life.

“It is indeed a radical act of love just to sit down and be quiet for a time by yourself” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

While there are many meditation styles, the key thing to remember is that meditation focuses your attention inwards. There is no right or wrong way to meditate, but it is essential to remember to start by setting an intention. What is it that you want to focus on or discover?

How to Meditate

Meditating is not a complicated practice and only requires that you come with an open mind and heart and the willingness to commit to being consistent. It may even feel awkward at first, but the more you commit to making it a habit, the more natural the practice will become.

1. Set aside some quiet time for your meditation in a place free from distractions and interruptions. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time; 5-10 minutes is usually enough to start with. You can even set an alarm if you like. But remember this is time for you, and you alone.

2. Relax and get comfortable. You can sit or lie down, whichever works best for you. No particular position or pose is required; you can even use a chair if you prefer. But note, if you choose to lie down, this could invite sleep rather than meditation.

3. Now close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, allowing your exhale to be longer than your inhale and set your intention for your meditation. What is it that you want to get out of this time with yourself? It can be just one word or a short phrase: Peace, Gratitude, Freedom, Acceptance, or Who Am I? Allow that intention to link with your breath. When your mind wanders (and it will), bring your attention back to the breath.

Don’t judge yourself or obsess over your thoughts; a wandering mind is inevitable. Simply watch your thoughts as you would watch traffic passing, but not for long. See your thoughts more from an observer’s perspective, note their direction, and then let them drive on by.

During your meditation, you may want to evaluate your values and analyze your motives to better understand yourself. What’s important to you and why? Why do you do the things you do, and who do you do them for? What brings you joy? What causes you pain and why?

Again, don’t spend too much time focusing on thoughts surrounding these questions; instead, notice if there are any sensations in your body or shifts in your emotions.

Maybe you’re feeling stuck or struggling with thoughts of not being good enough, and you are meditating to better appreciate yourself. During your meditation, open yourself up to the fact that you are more than good enough and deserve all the things your heart desires. Remind yourself that no one is perfect by definition and that we all fall short in some way. It is our flaws that make us imperfectly perfect. Accept the things about you that make you unique. Embrace your imperfections.

4. As your meditation comes to an end and before you open your eyes (if they were closed), bring your awareness back to the intention you set at the beginning of your meditation. Notice your thoughts and emotions surrounding that intention.

Finding and accepting yourself may take time. It’s not an instant process or overnight success, and you will not have all the answers to your questions after meditating a few times. But if you’re consistent in your practice, the deeper the parts of yourself you will reach and you will soon start to notice a deeper understanding and appreciation of yourself.

 

 

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