When I was 16 I was given a book on various faiths and beliefs by a teacher in upper school, I still have that book. In this book was a section on #Buddhism which included some of the meditative practices common to Buddhism.
The particular meditation I found appealing was #Vipassana. If you're not familiar with Vipassana it is a type of meditation where the breath serves as the object to focus on.
The instructions for the meditation seemed to be quite simple and straightforward. There weren't any meditation groups, let alone a Buddhist centre anywhere near where I grew up so I only had this book to go on. Sadly I soon started heading into problems. At a time when there was still only dial-up internet and we weren't lucky enough to have this at the time, my access to help and information was...well non-existent.
So when I ran into these blocks, the worst of which was I expected that meditation would clear my mind, however it didn't. If you've read this far, don't lose hope!
So I ended up abandoning meditation. Fast forward to 2008 and after spending over 20 years suffering from #depression, #anxiety, #selfharm and #suicide attempts and intense #agoraphobia I returned to meditation.
I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to study #Mindfulness at University. On a weekly basis we were guided through meditation by our tutor, and aside from other elements of the practice it was the 'Guided' part of learning the practice from an experienced tutor which made the difference.
The biggest difference to my own practice compared to what I was doing before was this expectation that meditation should be clearing my mind, instead with an experienced guide I soon found that it wasn't about clearing my mind at all, but more about changing the relationship I have with my existing thoughts, allowing them to pass once I had noticed them.
Since that time at University my own meditation practice has grown and evolved, and still continues to do so.
Thankfully I am now in the position of my tutor and guide, having experienced the highs and lows, the successes and failures of my own practice to now be able to bring what I have learned to you so that like me you can come to experience how meditation can be a simple tool for relieving #stress, depression and anxiety to a tool of #personal #transformation.
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