Today, it is time to review the 8-week period of daily meditation. What happened, or did anything happen at all? Well, based on my weekly posts related to this mindfulness based stress reduction program, you can already imagine that something happened. Now, I want to recap on this experience and let you know how I will move forward after this.
I haven’t talked about this in my earlier posts, but this mindfulness based stress reduction program is an official 8 week program developed in 1970s at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center by professor Jon Kabatt-Zinn. What happens during these 8 weeks is clearly defined in terms of how much daily meditation practice it consists of, what are the topics covered in the weekly group sessions etc. Also, the effectiveness of this program has been widely studied and it has gained good results. If you are interested about the topic and want to learn about the studies more, you can google MBSR program and read more about it.
The reason why I decided to give this a go, was that I found 8 weeks to be the perfect period to get familiar with mindfulness and this felt the most natural first step towards it. At the end the decision was rather easy to make, and I thought there’s absolutely nothing to lose if I gave it a go. And I am do glad I did.
So what happened to me during this exciting 8-week period?
I have always been very hard on myself. One of the greatest gifts during this program was the group. Every week we had a live Zoom session, where I met 10 other persons going through this same program. Even though all these people – the coach included – were total strangers to me, those Zoom calls made me feel safer than ever. The mutual trust, feeling of being accepted exactly as I am and sharing thoughts without the fear of being judged in anyway made a real impact on me. The power of the group was stronger than I could ever imagine.
When I think about this deeper, this impact of the group has led me to be a bit more gentle towards myself. Once I noticed that the group accepted me fully as I am, I found myself thinking, why wouldn’t I do it to myself as well? ”I am enough today, this moment is enough, I am worthy.”After every Zoom session, despite how good or bad my week had been I truly felt like described above. For sure this experience would have been totally different without the group.
Operating on autopilot
Another important learning or more like an awakening was to acknowledge, how much we actually operate on autopilot every single day. It even made me a bit sad once I stopped thinking how much we actually miss in our lives. We rarely live in this moment, what a waste it is, right? We fill our brain with all the worries, stress, analyzing, planning the future or thinking what mistakes we made in the past or why someone did or said something. And we do all that for what?
It is the truth that 95% of our thoughts are unconscious. This means that the reactions, decisions and actions we take depend 95% on something we are not even aware of. During the 8-week program I started to pay more and more attention on these autopilot moments from daily routines all the way to the automatic reactions I had to certain situations. Daily meditation stopped this autopilot every day, and gave me the time to really connect with myself. It helped me to stop the autopilot and bring the awareness to the present moment on a daily basis.
Connection to inner self
Daily meditation practices as well as mindful yoga little by little made me to connect with my inner self. During the first weeks I tried to find my way to meditate, but after week 4 or 5 I already had found the habit out of daily meditation and learnt what works for me. I noticed this deeper connection towards myself usually after each meditation. Somehow, I felt more connected to what is going on, what emotions and thoughts or body sensations I had.
I also found a certain level of peace. It is nothing extraordinary, but it is a feeling that this moment is enough, I don’t need to be anywhere else, and I am enough and safe. In a way I also found some clarity on who I actually am as a person and what I need on a daily basis. I learnt to observe and listen what my body and mind tells me.
Letting go of control
Letting go of control was one of the most empowering learnings during this journey. I have the tendency of wanting to be in control of all the aspects in my life and uncertainty or “unresolved” things bother me. I cannot say that these 8 weeks have totally changed the way I am, but what I for sure can tell is that I have learnt to let go. Just let go instead of always trying to make everything right, to be in control and “do the right thing” or “solve this issue right here right now” as I would have done. I think that I have learnt to chill a bit more. To trust that it will all going to be all right.
I learnt that I don’t need to react on every single thing. I can choose to just be and see how things will go. To trust the process. Sometimes, all we need to do is to simply observe and let go of any effort to try to change what ever it is (it can be a thought, an emotion, an argument with someone etc.). This doesn’t mean we couldn’t act towards something, but it means that sometimes you can just let go and give less importance to the thing. And one thing here to mention is that letting go is not giving up. You can choose to let go in this moment, and make whatever changes you need to make for the future if needed.
This is something I will write another post later on, because I have so much to say about this. But shortly, the 8-week period has made me understand how pretty much all of our negative thoughts are linked to limiting beliefs in a way or another. I gave this some real thought during these past months and noticed multiple beliefs I have been telling to myself for as long as I remember. And understood what a power those beliefs have; our beliefs determine how we see ourselves and further guide the direction of your lives.
For example the more you define yourself and put yourself into a box (for example, I am not good at something, or I have always been like this, I cannot change, I will never become successful, I will never find a partner etc.) the more you limit yourself from being free and living the life you have the full potential to live. As said, l will write a separate post about this soon!
How my wellbeing reflects on others
Finally, these weeks have concretely shown me how my wellbeing reflects on others. Especially to the person I live with every day and sees it all. I have asked from my partner whether he has seen any change during these weeks about our daily life in general or about my behavior etc. He replied: “you are more chilled and happy than I’ve ever seen you before”. I could also notice we have had much less arguments during this time, and once we have, we could – or in this case I could – let go of them much quicker than before. Also, I can tell that my peaceful energy has done so much good for both of us! That being said, raising the awareness and meditating systematically can make real impact on not only yourself but the atmosphere and people around you!
This was a rather short overview on how this mindfulness based stress reduction impacted on me. I can strongly recommend this to everyone. Just go ahead and give it a go! If you want to ask me something in person or are interested where I took this course, feel free to contact me here. I completed this course in Finland, but I know there are a lot of MBSR courses worldwide.
As you might guess, my mindfulness journey for sure did not end here. After the program I have kept my daily meditation routine and feel like it has become an essential part of my life. I would be stupid to stop here considering the positive impact this has had on my life so far. How I will move forward from here is to continue posting regularly on mindfulness, so follow me on instagram and on this site for more content if this resonates with you!
Next year is going to be very exciting, as I am studying to become a meditation coach as well as a yin yoga teacher by next summer. I truly want to deepen my knowledge on these areas and further help others discover the world of mindfulness.
I wish you a lovely weekend!