How meditation changed who I am...

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

As a meditator, one of the things I find most difficult isn’t finding the time to do it or struggling to get into the right frame of mind, or even finding a quiet spot, it’s actually getting other people to give it a real try.

Not because I am on some crusade, or that I’m religious, I’m not in a cult, but because meditation has revolutionised who I am and all I want is to be able to show and teach others to do the same.


The more I study and practice meditation the more I understand it’s power, how it can help anyone to become happier, more confident, healthier, well-balanced, kinder, more generous, more empathetic, the list goes on. It has led me into studying neuroscience and psychology in my spare time so I can better understand how the brain works, why it does the things it does and with that knowledge, I can become a better meditation teacher.



So as part of my goal to inspire others and hopefully be able to teach more people to meditate both for my income and as part of a life goal (as why can’t I have both!?) I am going to tell you how meditation changed me from a directionless, unconfident, unsure, self-doubting and unmotivated teenager and young man, into a confident, kind, generous, caring and purposeful nearly 40-year-old.


Maturity

The first change I noticed was my maturity. Until I started meditating in my early thirties I had always felt like an imposter, a teenage boy inside a man’s body. No matter the situation, in my mind I was still a 15-year-old boy, trapped in some Freaky Friday life. I believed everyone saw me as I saw myself, as a teenager. Looking back it sounds bizarre but I genuinely felt like when someone looked at me that they saw 15-year old me. Not the 25+ year old I was.


This meant I felt I could never stand up for myself, I never felt like I was talking to peers, I was talking to adults and they were talking down to this child who had no right to be there. This belief massively damaged my self-confidence, contributed to my depression and negatively affected all my relationships both personal and professional.


Meditation taught me how to grow up, to recognise what I saw in the mirror as who I was, not as an imposter but as a thirty-year-old, with a lot of life experience, a sharp mind (when applied) a good team player, tall and worthy of respect. I cannot tell you what a difference this made and it was the first step to all the other positive changes I am going to tell you about.


This new level of maturity brought on personal responsibility. Before, when challenged or called out I would be very defensive, try to deflect the topic or situation or try to flip it back on the person. Now, I can accept my responsibility to a situation, admit when I am wrong or have made a mistake. I can ignore my ego and accept I am not perfect and I learn from the experience rather than argue it away and dismiss the other point of view. This is still something I am working on, these things take time, but just being aware of it is a huge step forwards and it benefits my life in all aspects to be able to look inwards and own the results of your actions. It leads to less feelings of guilt, anger, resentment and stress which can only be a good thing.


Critical Thinking

It sounds very cliched, but another benefit is that it opened my mind. Not to another dimension or a higher plane, but to new ideas, complex concepts, seeing the bigger picture and an ability to see things from outside my own perspective.


This has many benefits, I can have more meaningful conversations and see situations from many different angles and consider them all, rather than doggedly sticking to my version of events/opinion, no matter the consequence or evidence to the contrary. I am more empathetic and kinder to those around me, I read body language better and can see peoples reactions to things. Previously I would have needed them to tell me something was wrong before I knew anything was up.


This makes me so much better in conversation with everyone, be they work colleagues, friends or partners. This makes me more likeable/relatable to them and that increases my confidence and self-esteem, so it's a win for everyone.


Emotional Control

I am in more control of my thoughts and emotions (excepting for extreme situations). I can now choose which thoughts, feelings or emotions I want to engage with, I am no longer a passenger along for the ride getting swept up in whatever is going on in my mind. I can recognise feelings building within me and actively decide if I want to engage with them or not.



Meditation has taught me to see emotions and thoughts coming from far away, giving me time to choose my response with my logical mind, and not have to ‘react’ and get caught up in a negative mood or thought path. This has made me a calmer and more tolerant person.

I now rarely get angry or upset, in disagreements I discuss things calmly for longer. I can still get upset and angry, but it’s on my terms, I don’t get carried away and lost in the emotion.


I still have the emotions and there are times when I do ‘let’ myself get upset, some moments do call for it and sometimes I want to experience the feelings, but again, it is all on my terms, when I am ready I can choose to move away from them again and return to a happy, stable equilibrium.


Appreciation

I have never really been a materialistic person, I have little if any desire for ‘stuff’, I like nice cars and I am partial to the odd gadget here and there but I prefer memories and adventure over fancy things in the house.

Meditation has extended that feeling to being able to more appreciate what I have already, to enjoy the world around me and not care about ‘keeping up with the Jones’.



I learned that getting more things only leads to wanting more things, and there is no happiness or satisfaction down that road. Meditation taught me to accept what I have and realise I do not need ‘more’ to be happy, I only need the things that really matter - food, shelter, friends, family and my health. (World peace and an end to poverty would also be nice, but one step at a time)


Health