The promise of “inner peace” is splattered all over magazine covers and some internet advertisements feature images of meditators in peaceful natural settings looking extremely  relaxed. The people that are featured in these settings look to be completely stress free.They don’t seem to be worried about the challenges of daily life. We don’t see images of people rushing to meetings or stressing the small stuff. I have noticed that when a lot of my students start meditating they are looking for that promised  so called “inner peace”. Their own version of  “serenity”. It is not uncommon for my meditation students to ask me: “When will I know I have inner peace?”

The beautiful gifts that meditation can offer come in various forms and totally unexpectedly

When we start out meditating ,we can notice some of the beautiful gifts that meditation has to offer almost immediately. When I started meditating my husband immediately commented on how much calmer I was, I seemed to have more overall contentment in my life, I was more patient and because of this I had a greater calming influence on the folks around me.Physically I felt less tense and I was emotionally less reactive. Prior to learning to meditate I would treat all of my stressful situations in the workplace as life and death scenarios and quickly became very burnt out and became very sick. For that reason, my mission today is reduce burnout in our fast paced, super connected world for everyone. I have numerous evidence- based mindfulness tools and tricks to help people manage stress and enjoy life.

The challenge is that, when most of us try to imagine what our own ” inner peace” might look like, we imagine ourselves in a blissful state  with a perfect life with no problems.We have the expectation that if we mediate that life should be smooth sailing. This usually happens as we imagine that inner peace state based on previous times in our lives when we felt relaxed and happy. We convince ourselves that because we experienced this “inner peace blissful state” before, then we can do it again. We tell ourselves that meditation can help us get there. We are generally trying to replicate previous experiences and more often than not,we end up being very disappointed.

By learning to meditate we are actually trying to create space between what we are thinking, our emotions and what is happening in our lives and just observing it all. It is actually best described as a state of “letting go”. We are not trying to change anything just accepting everything as it is. Some days my mindfulness meditation practice  feels very peaceful and relaxing and other days it feels like pure turmoil. I find that fascinating. These days I enjoy observing my mind, my emotions, feeling into my body and with a “gentle curiosity”. I am not trying to reach a certain destination or recreate that  “blissful inner peace” that I have experienced from time to time.

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