The Unlikely Yogi: Meditation’s Reaching Effects

At one point in my life I was stuck in a dark
depression for close to a year. Though I was the only person who could free
myself from it, I was too numb and empty to even try. Anyone who has ever
suffered from depression, knows exactly what I’m talking about and may have
found themselves in the same place at times. Adhering to my own narrow misconception
about depression, I thought I was the only one suffering. However, my entire
family and close friends had to suffer from my
depression as well. I know that when I’m in a happy and healthy place I’m
generous with my love, fun to be around, forgiving, and my actions and behaviors
are positive. On my ‘dark days’ I’m completely useless to the people that are
close to me, and it becomes very obvious to them that I am not myself. On the yogic path I am
beginning to explore
, my meditation practice is a beautiful but constant
struggle. However, I can honestly say that in the little time I’ve been
practicing, I feel more grounded and content than I have in a very long time.
And this has broader, sweeping effects on my relationships and everyone close
to me.

As a full-time student and part-time server,
like so many others, I lead a busy and sometimes hectic life. I often become
consumed and overwhelmed with school and the stresses of working in the service
industry. In fact, working with what is sometimes a rude and demanding public
has proven to be a constant mental challenge for me. I have found through
meditation, however, that taking the time to clear my mind and quiet my
thoughts has done wonders for my overall mental and emotional health. The most
surprising change is my level of compassion, which I must admit, does not come
naturally to me. But finding the space to cultivate compassion rather than
allowing anger and impatience to pervade is slowly becoming a part of my new
existence as an “unlikely” yogi.  

In a recent article, blogger Timothy Eden
discusses the question
of whether meditation is self-indulgent
. He refers to meditation as “spiritual
housekeeping.” This brought to mind an important question for me: Would I
consider taking a daily shower, exercising or eating healthy self-indulgent?
Meditation is merely the cleansing of one’s thoughts and mind. Only in North
America would we dissect something so simple and common that brings us pleasure
and is incredibly beneficial to our overall health. Maybe the benefits of
meditation are self-serving, and some would say that sitting quietly does
nothing to help humanity, but as witness to my own transformation through meditation,
I can attest to the potential it has to affect, not only me, but everyone in my
life. This makes me wonder what the world would be like if every single person
were able to practice meditation. It seems only natural that this would create
a shift in perspective that could reach toward the greater good.

In what ways has mediation changed your
behavior or your life for the better?

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