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How did you get into meditation and how has meditation impacted your life?
I was 18 and had just finished high school when a close friend took me to a meditation lecture. The speaker, who seemed extremely peaceful, told us that meditation would change our lives in wonderful ways. So I signed up, took the course, and it did indeed change my life in wonderful ways.
All the ways that meditation has impacted my life are too numerous to include here. But here are some of the major changes I experienced right out of the gate. Physically, I felt much more relaxed, and my energy level – which had been very low – immediately skyrocketed. The frequent headaches I had been having stopped completely within the first week.
On a spiritual level, I felt more at peace and in the flow, and new insights about my life and about “Life” began pouring into my mind, as though the floodgates had suddenly opened.
How does it feel when you are in a meditative state?
My meditation experiences vary from day to day. Some days they’re deeply relaxing, and some days just slightly relaxing. Some days they’re mildly blissful, and some days extremely blissful. Sometimes I feel a wonderful lightness, sometimes I feel the heavy restfulness of Yoga Nidra, and sometimes I fall asleep. Some days my mind is fairly quiet, while other days there are a fair amount of thoughts… but I’m okay with that. I learned early on, that days when there are more thoughts are simply part of a natural cycle.
For me, the bottom line is putting aside expectations and “shoulds,” and accepting whatever happens in each meditation… confident that whatever I experience, valuable growth and transformation are taking place at a deep level of my being.
What are the top 3 most valuable pieces of life advice you can give from your life experience so far?
#1 Learn to trust that the Universe has your back. One way to develop this trust is to pay attention to those times when the support of the Universe is being demonstrated in your life – especially when you are taking risks.
#2 We are currently going through a long cycle of accelerated consciousness evolution, and one of its side effects is that everything is amplified – our emotions, thoughts, perceptions, reactions, world events, etc. Because we’re experiencing everything so intensely, try to be gentle with yourself, and try to give others a bit of slack as well.
#3 Learn to rely on your inner wisdom. This is especially important with regards to spiritual teachings. Rather than accepting without question what a meditation teacher, yoga teacher, guru, etc. tells you, I suggest you assess it with a gut-check and a bit of common sense before embracing it as true and/or acting on it.
What is your favourite quote?
“Penetrate into the essence of all being and significance, and release the fragrance of that inner attainment for the guidance and benefit of others.” ~ Meher Baba
What is something easy and simple that we can do right now to make the world a better place?
Meditate regularly. Meditation facilitates your spiritual evolution, and the more quickly each of us evolves, the more quickly humanity as a whole will evolve beyond our current problems.
What would you say has been the biggest benefit from meditation?
It helped me discover and live my life’s purpose.
What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome? How did you overcome it? And what lessons did you learn from it?
My biggest challenge was acting as my mother’s caregiver for the last 4 years of her life. She was a warm, likeable, easy-going person, and a good mother and friend. But when she became ill with both emphysema and osteoporosis, the combination of pain, difficulty getting sufficient oxygen, and the medication she was taking, turned her into a “patient from hell.” So the challenge was not just meeting the normal demands that caregivers face (which are very high on the list of stressors), but acting with the loving-kindness I felt she deserved.
How did I get through it? Meditation was a huge help in managing the stress. And the Universe did come through with timely assistance on occasions when it was sorely needed. But beyond that, it was mostly just toughing it out – summoning as much inner strength and compassion as I could, in order to keep my impulses in check… the impulse to react with anger, to defend myself, and to try to reason with my mother in her unreasonable state.
This challenge strengthened me, humbled me, and revealed the inner resources that are available when I dig deep within myself.
When you think about happiness, how do you define that for yourself?
For me, it’s simply a feeling. Sometimes I feel happy – sometimes not. Sometimes the feeling of happiness is triggered by external circumstances – sometimes not.
Do you have a message for our Mindbliss Community?
Make a commitment to meditate regularly. These three steps will help you keep it:
#1. Pick a number of days per week that’s do-able for you. Seven is a good number, 🙂 but maybe four or five days are more realistic for you.
#2. Choose a length of time that’s comfortable for you. Regardless of what you may have heard, longer meditations are not necessarily better. For most individuals, between 15 and 30 minutes is sufficient for producing good results.
#3. Choose a time of day that’s “your meditation time.” Unless you have a total aversion to structure, this will make it easier to maintain your practice.
~ Light & peace, Jim Malloy