What Meditation Does: Create Space

I talk a lot about meditation and what meditation does for me both here on the blog and IRL–all for one reason: the act of meditating daily has truly changed my life.

Since most folks like to have specific examples, here’s one for today, compliments of this morning’s practice. These last few days, I have been struggling, mightily, with issues of self-worth. This is not a new issue to me; in fact, I tend to believe we humans each bring one unique issue with us to Earth in our incarnations, and for me, I have come to see mine as self-worth, in all its forms.

Over the months of quarantine, when I had my daily established practice and was able to sit for upwards of an hour or two in meditation, I managed to work with and release a lot of those thoughts. But one of the things you realize as you begin to know yourself more deeply is that the work of clearing out the residue of thoughts and emotions is never done. You’re never fully and completely finished with an emotion, a limiting belief, or negative thought process. You get better at recognizing it when it does pop up, and it takes less of your energy and mind to help it move through, but there are still triggers that bring it up in places you least expect.

My triggers are personal, but the struggle to rein in my mind’s chatter around the issue of self-worth, I believe, is universal. We all have moments that we doubt whether we’re worthy of the things we desire. We’re human. We’re here to work through those things. Something triggered my self-worth doubt over the weekend, and I’ve been moving around it since. My way of dealing with emotions when I don’t have time is to feel them, acknowledge them, and tell them we’ll get together when I have time to process. My time to process, turns out, is in meditation.

So as I approached my seat for today’s 30 minutes, I allowed all those negative comments, thoughts, emotions, and fears to bubble up in me, those things I had told to hold off. As I settled and tucked my blanket around my feet, the overwhelm and anxiety was almost too much to bear. My default setting to let these things out is to cry, which is another reason I have them wait until I can sit in silence, so that I can fully, almost indulgently, allow myself to feel them without fear of what others think around me. When I emotionally release in meditation in the form of crying, it ain’t pretty. Trust me.

Most important to me is the opportunity to feel all the way through the spectrum of whatever emotional thoughts in the moment, no matter how it looks, which is why I let myself go. I let the thoughts get as dark and troubled and tragic as they wanted to, and felt them in every part of my body. I tucked and untucked my blanket, jotted single-word notes in my meditation journal, let images sail through my mind behind closed eyes, and told myself that all this would pass.

And it did. About 25 minutes into my practice, after writing a few lines in my journal, I took a breath in through my snotty nose, down into my chest and lungs and belly, paused, and noticed. An absolute and pure calm had replaced the vicious whirlpool of thought that had just threatened to pull me under moments ago. The fear that I worried I’d have to live with was gone, replaced by softness and an appreciation for the way the sunlight was filtering through the storm clouds gathering outside my window. I deliberately put thoughts in my mind of self-worth to see where they took me, and they simply dissolved.

I’d created space between the thoughts and my naturally peaceful mind that allowed me to thank Spirit for the time to meditation, move into a soft, short yoga practice, and move on through my day knowing that those self-worth issues will not intrude on my day. Perhaps they will bubble up and swirl again tomorrow, but I doubt it. If they do, you know where to find me.



2 thoughts on “What Meditation Does: Create Space

  1. Lainie Levin

    Thank you for this beautiful post, Beth. There really is something to be said for holding space for ourselves, even when thoughts or feelings are uncomfortable. Greeting the unpleasant, being able to do that with compassion, allowing ourselves that room – now THAT takes practice.

    And…if you can find a way for those self-worth issues to go by the wayside, let me know. Although. Part of me also sees the importance of wrestling with that, of seeing self-doubt sometimes as healthy. Where that line is, of course, well that’s a little bit trickier…


    1. Only in the discomfort do we find true healing, I tend to think. Compassion blossoms under pressure. Sitting in the uncomfortable is really one of the most difficult chores we face as a human, but in the long run, so worth it.

      I’ll get back to you on self-worth. I’m a work-in-progress…lol. What I do know is that it can only be healed as an inside job, no matter what goodness others see in us. That’s been my journey, anyway.

      Thank you for the comment. It gives me more to ponder 🙂

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