“Happiness is what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Getting Started With Meditation
Have you ever thought, “What is meditation?” and then said to yourself, “Hey, I’ll go try to meditate!”
Can you relate to this scenario?
You take the time to sit down, close your eyes, get quiet, and sit there for 15-plus minutes, but your mind wanders all over the place. Then after you open your eyes, you think, “That was a total waste of time.”
That was me!
The first time I meditated, I Got up after about 15 minutes (which, by the way, felt more like 1 hour) only to say to myself, “that was a total waste of time!”
Truthfully, it took a couple of years before I attempted to meditate again. The great news, however, is when I did go back and meditate, it was an entirely different experience.
When Meditation Becomes Exciting
My meditation was an awesome experience!
Why was it so different? Why was it so much better? One word, sums it up? Focus!
What I was focusing on was the difference that made all the difference.
After a bit of education on “what to focus on” I was able to really enjoy and benefit from my meditation.
I have since learned, “Where my attention goes, my energy flows.”
The second time I meditated I was encouraged to get into a total state of gratitude. Find appreciation for what was. This may sound so simple, but let me share my results with you.
My Testimony of Not Enjoying Work
At the time, I worked a corporate job and I was not happy with the job or the people that I worked with.
While visiting my mentor over a long holiday weekend and after complaining about my job, he told me to go meditate and to “find my gratitude”.
I was told to go up to his meditation room and focus on the gratitude for my job and the people that I worked with - allow myself to feel gratitude for my job entirely. He told me, “Stay in meditation until your perception shifts into gratitude”.
The true definition of a miracle is a “shift in perception”. Once you shift your perception, your focus automatically shifts, and you feel different and, in most cases, much better.
At the time, I needed a significant shift in perception. I was feeling burned out and at my “ropes end” with this job. I got to the point where I was not enjoying the job or anyone I was working with.
I had been at this job for about three years. I took the job primarily because I needed the money. At first, I thought this job would be a good opportunity, but within weeks of starting, I regretted taking the job.
I was in management at AT&T. It was a technology-based job. Technology is not a strong skill set for me and I was feeling overwhelmed, over my head, and honestly, misplaced.
Somehow I made it through 3 years of working this job, but this job drained the life out of me. I worked long hours (most weeks being 50+ hours a week). The worst part was, I built up so much emotional stress and feeling overwhelmed that just the thought of going to work brought my energy down.
I was feeling stuck and truly trapped in an environment that I hated. It got to the point where I had no motivation to get out of bed to even go to the office.
After explaining how I was feeling, my mentor told me I needed a new focus.
So I went into mediation with a particular goal: to find gratitude and appreciation for where I worked and who I worked with. I will say upfront that I was not sure I was going to be able to achieve this at the time.
However I committed to my focus and I was not going to get up from this meditation until I shifted my perception.
So I sat down in my mentor’s meditation room, closed my eyes, and thought, “where do I start?” It was tough because my mind started racing to all the adverse events and emotions I had linked up to this job.
I worked in a department of about 50 people. I need to shift my perception with each person. One by one, I went through each one of them.
As I asked from my heart, “what can I truly appreciate about each person” I was almost amazed. I could truly find something I could appreciate and be thankful for with each of them!
For some, gratitude came from a simple memory. For one person, it was helping me to get a paper jam out of the copier. For others, it was just appreciating that they worked this job to help support and contribute to their family.
I spent about 90 minutes recalling each person and stayed with them in my mind. This happened until I found something about them I could appreciate and be grateful for. Each time I shifted my perception, I felt better and better.
I continued with all, including all of the management team (most of these people, I was judging and not at all appreciating). However, even the people I was judging, I was able to find gratitude and realize they were doing the best they knew how to do.
I so clearly remember connecting gratitude and appreciation in this mediation to each person and was amazed at how much I could feel the shift inside of me and genuinely appreciate each person.
Then I even found appreciation and thankfulness for the organization (that was a stretch because at the time AT&T was in a total restructuring of our department). I was in management, stuck in the middle of lots of uncertainty and not sure of my next move.
To say the least, I was feeling very overwhelmed and tense, with no part of me connected to feeling appreciation or gratitude.
I finally reached a point where I thought back to the original concept of AT&T and how it became known as “Ma Bell.” I remembered how the technology and the company’s leadership connected families to one another who could not connect due to distance.
Now because of the telephone, they could hear one another and really connect. I appreciated how the phone had changed so much through the years and I now could walk around with a portable cellphone vs. being stuck inside having to speak on a landline phone (Cell phones were still kind of the new thing when I was working there in the early 90’s).
Then I emotionally connected to such deep appreciation and gratitude for receiving a paycheck each week. AT&T paid every other week and never missed a paycheck. Plus, I also earned bonuses based on my team’s performance, and in most quarters, I received the maximum bonuses.
This meditation allowed me to slow down, get out of my own way and see and really feel. Overall, the intent of everyone’s actions were good.
I could also now understand people were just acting out of fear and uncertainty and honestly needing my kindness and love vs. my judgment and criticism.
I felt my whole being shift out of tension and overwhelm to appreciation and gratitude. In this meditation, I got up as a different person.
This powerful meditation happened over the memorial day, a long holiday weekend.
So it was a Tuesday when I went back to work.
Gratitude Took Over In My Day-to-Day Life
What happened next forever changed my life.
I opened the door to the department for the first time (after this powerful meditation) and sensed a change in my approach. Things looked much brighter, and I immediately thought, “Oh my gosh, how nice they painted over the weekend.”
I remember thinking they used the same gray for the walls, but at least it was a few shades lighter. It brightened the place up!
I used to walk down a long aisle to get to my desk.
In this same walk in the past, I would usually wave to a few people or nod hello without saying anything.
That day I was saying, “Hi, it’s good to see you.” “How are you?” “How was your weekend?”
I was amazed at how so many people were in a good mood. I thought, “Wow, everyone must have had a good weekend.”
I literally felt there was a totally different energy in the department. I liked it!
Feeling pretty good, I sat at my desk and logged onto my computer, when my “cubicle-mate,” Jennifer, showed up.
After a little chit-chat, I said to her, “How nice is it that they painted over the weekend and brightened up the place.”
She looked at me with this strange face and said, “What makes you think they painted? Everything looks the same to me.”
I said, “Jennifer, are you kidding me? It’s so much brighter here! The walls must be at least 2-3 shades of gray lighter!”
I will never forget what she said next.
She asked, “Well, if they just painted, how come I do not smell paint?”
Recently, I painted a room in my home, and I can assure you that you smell the paint for days, if not weeks, after you paint.
So after she said, “do you smell paint?” I thought “no, I do not smell paint.”
I knew something was wrong.
I then got up and walked over to the walls. Oh my goodness! It was so obvious these were not freshly painted walls, as they had scuff marks.
I was shocked. I could not help but look around and think, “why does it look so different to me here?”
To me it looked so much brighter. I knew it was lighter here, but how is this possible, if they did not paint?
What Happens to the Mind When We Shift to Meditation & Gratitude
It took several days to understand what happened.
The answer came after I spoke to my mentor a few days later. I shared what happened after returning from his place, where I shifted my focus to gratitude and appreciation. I was still on a high from my meditation and great long weekend.
He went on to share why the department looked brighter and people seemed nicer. In short, I changed, not the people in the department or the paint on the walls.
My perception connected to pure gratitude; everything around me looked and felt different, truly lighter and brighter than before the meditation.
My mentor shared, “depressed people see the world darker.”
Now that I have changed my perception, the world literally looks brighter.
I was not feeling depressed any longer, because I was focused on gratitude and appreciation.
I felt different and what I was looking at changed, simply because I had changed.
I could hardly believe it!
But it was so true.
My world changed because I changed my focus.
What is meditation? The quiet time, the stillness, and some space to change your focus, your limiting stories, and shift your perceptions to change your life.
Shift your perspective and create a miracle.
The Power of Meditaiton
If you sit in meditation with a focus on rehashing things or just thinking - you are not meditating (which is what I did the first time I meditated and got nothing from it).
Now through the years, I like to be intentional about what my focus is on.
Sometimes my focus is to observe the silence and to connect deeply with the silence and remember my True nature. Other times, I have a clear intention on what I would like to see a solution to or get guidance on.
My focus is intentional, and I know love my time of meditation.
I encourage you to discover what meditation is for you and to have a very clear intention.
If you need a suggestion, “Go get your gratitude on!”