Here’s What Happened When I Meditated Every Day for a Month

Here’s What Happened When I Meditated Every Day for a Month

Meditation is about being able to sit with yourself. Why is that hard? Well, maybe you live in a busy part of Brooklyn, as I did, where the street noise never stops, or maybe your window is next to a busy bus stop, as mine was—but all that’s actually of no matter. Meditating isn’t about

Meditation is about being able to sit with yourself. Why is that hard? Well, maybe you live in a busy part of Brooklyn, as I did, where the street noise never stops, or maybe your window is next to a busy bus stop, as mine was—but all that’s actually of no matter. Meditating isn’t about being in a peaceful setting; it’s about finding, or creating, that peace within yourself. Not so easy.

Two years ago, I got a concussion—and the trauma to my head ended up causing a clinical depression. My mind was no longer reliable (or able, for that matter). Anxious and, at times, really dark thoughts took up residence in my head like nightmare tenants. I also had trouble reading, writing, typing, and thinking. I was put on antidepressants.

The medication, combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, helped me reset my thought patterns when sadness or hopelessness overwhelmed me. It took a few months, but lightness broke through the inky black vortex of suck that my life had become, and I felt OK again.

After about a year and a half of being medicated, I began noticing that I had not gotten any happier or sadder on antidepressants—I was just…level. And level was great. Level is what my doctor was going for. Level was 100 percent better than clinically depressed or even suicidal. I asked my doctor if I could stop taking the pills since my other concussive symptoms had waned.

“Yes,” she said. “But you have to do it really slowly.” It took six months of monitored dose reduction, but I was eventually antidepressant-free. But there was still something missing. I felt desperately in need of something—a missing puzzle piece that I couldn’t quite identify.

I had come from a place of such confusion that what I needed to feel was clear. Like a bright Sunday afternoon under an oak tree by the sea, with a breeze rustling the leaves. Metaphorically, of course—I’m not Oprah.

Oceanfront mansion out of the question, I decided I’d go to yoga classes. When they were over, I always wished that the end-of-class Savasana lasted longer—there’s nothing better than lying there basking in the post-yoga glow of good vibes and relaxation, where thoughts seemed clearer, more compassionate and alive with divine intent behind them. I wanted more of that, so I gave meditation a try.

I had tried to meditate once before, with my best friend Mary when I was 13. She was instructing me on how to deal with the drama of junior-high mean girls. She was, apparently, a much more mature and enlightened teen than I. As we sat there and she told me to focus on the soft glow of the candle, I was more “Oh my God I’m going to laugh” than “Om,” and pretty soon we were both rolling around on the floor, holding our stomachs in a fit of giggles.

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