21-day Meditation Challenge
When I first started my journey of recovery in 2010, I was pretty much a giant ball of anxiety. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t stop the racing thoughts. I was hearing a lot about “being present” from other people in recovery, but my mind was constantly in the past dwelling on where I went wrong, or in the future trying to figure out how I was going to make it all better. I couldn’t really grasp the concept of present moment awareness, or how to even attain something like that.
In the treatment center I went to there was some talk about meditation and mindfulness, but there wasn’t much more explanation (that I can remember). So, I gave it a try on my own a few times, but felt discouraged. I struggled with the same things I hear from pretty much everyone I suggest a mindfulness practice to. I couldn’t stop my racing thoughts, I felt I didn’t have time to waste just sitting in silence doing nothing, I didn’t think it was actually doing anything, and frankly it was hard. I gave up pretty quickly, and continued trying to manage my anxiety by outthinking my thoughts.
Obviously that didn’t work.
Some time later a friend told me his sister had been participating in a free online 21-day meditation challenge put on by The Chopra Center. He had heard me talking about trying out meditation and thought this might be a useful tool. It certainly was! I signed up a couple of days into it, completed all 21 days, and then launched into an all out exploration of meditation.
To give a little back story real quick. The Chopra Center was founded by Deepak Chopra and David Simon in Carlsbad, CA on the grounds of what is now the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa. Chopra is a medical doctor, but probably more known for his many books on spirituality. He’s seen as somewhat of a guru now. Simon passed away in 2012, but he was also a medical doctor who turned to more spiritual teachings and was a practitioner of ayurvedic medicine. The center they created hosts workshops and retreats, and has teacher programs for people to become instructors in meditation and ayurvedic practices.
When I first found the meditation challenge back in 2010, it was a simple online thing that was produced and hosted by Deepak. Somewhere along the way Oprah hitched her wagon to it, and well, when Oprah puts her stamp of approval on something, shit goes bananas.
Did I hook you at Oprah!?
Not that I should need to clarify, since you now know that this thing is kind of a big deal. But, this is not an advertisement. This is just me trying to offer a free resource and maybe something that opens a door to a healthy meditation practice like it did for me.
Okay, back to the regularly scheduled programing. So, what does this thing entail? After you register, for free, you will be sent a new guided meditation everyday for 21 consecutive days (some say it takes 21 days to create a new habit). Each time they release a new one there is a specific theme. The theme this time is something that I could really use right about now: “Energy of Attraction: Manifesting Your Best Life.” They basically start with Oprah saying some magical Oprah-like wisdom, and then Deepak goes into a little deeper spiritual stuff that might not make any sense. I find it’s best to just release all judgments and the struggle to understand every word, and instead simply relax into it. After he speaks, Deepak will give a mantra to repeat, followed by about 10 minutes or so of relaxing music. This is the time where you try and stay awake. Then they wrap it up, and BOOM! you’re an enlightened being.
Jokes aside, I really think this is something that everyone could benefit from. It’s a very easy way to begin a meditation practice, plus you have the added bonus of feeling really empowered if you actually participate in all 21 days and complete the program. It’s also an introduction to some different topics in spirituality, if you’re interested in exploring that more.
If you’re remotely interested, you’re in luck… the new program STARTS TOMORROW! (7/23/18) It’s super easy to do from your computer, and they’ve even made an app so you can pretty much do it on your phone anywhere, anytime!
I’ll put the link to sign up below. If you try this and want to know more about mindfulness, or if you want to take a look at a meditation practice minus the spiritual aspect here’s a link to another blog I wrote on the subject: MINDFULNESS MEDITATION.
I hope people give it a try. My partner and I will be starting tomorrow, as well. Feel free to leave comments here, or on my Instagram (@comingintofocus) about your progress and experience if you participate.