Monday, March 9, 2015

Meditation Mondays: Benefits & Getting Started

I've talked a bit on and off since I began writing several years ago about how meditation has helped me in my life. One of the biggest benefits I've received is better pain management. Is the pain still there? Definitely, but I find I can be more in tune with my body and acknowledge the discomfort instead of just feeling the pain.

I'm not the only one who has received these or other benefits.


One of the things I've noticed is how much easier it is for me to handle stress. Meditation has also allowed me to process some of my more difficult thoughts.

There is a misconception out there that you have to be a Buddhist to meditate. This is so wrong! While Buddhism created what we refer to today as meditation, most religions and philosophies around the world utilize some form of meditation. Buddhism is much more of a philosophy than always being a religion. It is compatible with so many belief systems. One of the coolest professors I had in college practices Zen Buddhism along with her Catholicism and has even written a book about the subject. I highly suggest you check it out!

Meditation is hard when you first start out. Our minds are so busy and it can be hard to silence all the little thoughts and ideas that pop up. It takes a while to get where you can acknowledge those thoughts and let them pass. Even then, there are still times where it can be hard to deal with those thoughts. A session of meditation is never perfect, but neither are we.

The easiest way to deal with the thought issue is actually also the easiest way to get started meditating - using guided meditation.

Guided meditation is exactly what it sounds like - someone talks you through what you should be focusing on. Not every session has a real focus though - sometimes it's just to go through how your day was and check in with your emotions.

Two great sources for guided meditations are Blessing Manifesting and Buddhify.

Blessing Manifesting is a great website. I've talked about it before. Dominee is a great person who encourages everyone to develop self-love/self-care techniques. She provides ways to do that as well as a safe space to talk spirituality or anything else you'd like. I found her website shortly before Christmas and I really enjoy the things she puts out there.

I've also talked about Buddhify before. It's a great guided meditation app you can get for your iPhone or Android device. They have short meditations to ones last half an hour on a ton of different subjects from pain and illness to sleep to dealing with difficult emotions. Several other spoonies have now started using this app and love it just as much as I do. You can meditate using just a timer as well once you feel comfortable with guided meditation and want to move on to solo.


I certainly encourage you to check out these or other resources for guided meditation. It honestly is the easiest way to start. There are plenty of tips and tricks out there to help you get started all over the internet.

Life with chronic illness can suck big time. We spend so much time wrapped up in our bodies, often ignoring what our mind is dealing with. There is also so much ableism out there, both external and internalized, that we begin to feel like we're not worth the time or effort to care for. This spills over into our relationships with friends, intimacy with our partners, and our perception of how much we can achieve. That feeling of worthlessness can turn into a vicious cycle and run our lives.

I think there is a way we can use our illnesses to get more in touch with ourselves, mind, body, and soul. For some, diving into volunteer work helps. For others, being physically active does the trick. For me right now, meditation is where it's at. I invite you to try it and see if it would be a good fit in your life.

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