Meditation Stories: The Journey of Alex Stokes
I started to dedicate time to consciously being with myself almost 10 years ago. I was pretty sure I was doing it wrong or at least that I wasn’t good at it. I spent a good amount of time and energy trying to correct whatever was wrong with me:
- My mind keeps wandering – I’m pretty sure that’s not right, let’s try to prevent that from happening
- There’s so much in my life that I’m not okay with – Well, I gotta do something about that, I want to be happy, I gotta change this stuff
I had initially sought meditation as a means to train the mind. I had learned that meditation was a tool for great minds of history that achieved amazing accomplishments and lived extraordinary lives. I wanted to tap into my own power and potential to achieve great things and positively impact my world.
However, whenever I went to meditate, I would find so much within me that was problematic. I was too this and not enough that. There were all those terrible things I had done that I was afraid of repeating. I wasn’t living up to the expectations of who I wanted to be.
I wanted things to change so badly. I tried to push them along faster in the direction I wanted, frustrated by any resistance I encountered. I could tell I was making some progress, but it seemed so miniscule compared to everything that was still not right. I could sense the power within me to create my reality, and yet I seemed to not be very successful at applying it.
But I kept at it.
After a lot of time spent with myself, I began to realize something so obvious that I almost didn’t see it - something that was staring me in the face all along: I was tense and unhappy. Duh!
I also realized that all of the ‘trying to change what was’ that I was doing in my meditation practice and in my life was making me more tense and more miserable. I was actually quite effectively creating my reality, just not in the way that I wanted.
This was a turning point for me. I began to practice relaxation. I began to practice acceptance of myself and what was. I began to practice forgiveness and self-love, unconditionally - no matter what.
This was life changing.
I continued meditating. Whenever I checked in with myself, my mind would wander, I would find tension, and all the things in my life that I was not okay with became more apparent to me. This stuff was always there, whether I was aware of it or not. But once I allowed myself to become aware of it, I gave myself the ability to choose what to do about it. And I began to choose love, acceptance and relaxation. Continuously.
In a way, the choice was to uplift everything I came across with love rather than cast it down in judgement. Through acceptance, I gave myself a break. I let go of the need to be some specific way that I or my world thought I should be. I allowed myself to be the way that I was. Rather than trying to change everything, I began to find the value of, appreciation and gratitude for, who I already was. With that, I came to enjoy my life and love myself more.
Each time I opened my eyes at the end of a meditation, I felt a little better, a bit more relaxed and stable. The accumulated effect of consistent meditation helped me to feel a lot better, a lot more relaxed and a lot more stable. I have been - and continue to be - on a trajectory of increasing internal comfort. Each meditation is another drop in the bucket - another deposit into my satisfaction account.
As I’ve developed this relationship with myself, it has naturally spread into my relationship with others. The more I am able to unconditionally accept and love myself, the more I am able to unconditionally accept and love others. Letting go of the need for others to be any particular way as well as holding space for my own needs has significantly improved my relationships. I find they are increasingly joyful and harmonious and decreasingly filled with drama and tension.
Any practice is the development of a habit through consistent choice. For me, meditation has become a practice for strengthening the habit of love. Here, love is defined as the force that uplifts, nourishes and integrates everything it finds. No matter what comes my way in life, my meditation practice strengthens my ability to face it with love, creating the positive impact that I always dreamed of having.
This journey is priceless to me.
For more information about Alex Stokes and his journey, check out his website: https://www.tao-of-you.com/