It’s easy to pontificate about the benefits of meditation when life is going great. But what about when you find yourself in the middle of a temporary sh*tstorm of undesirable life events?
As someone who is fanatical about personal growth, I try to always be positive, always look for the growth in any situation, and try to release angst and resentment as it occurs.
Even with these good intentions, it doesn’t always work. Recently life dealt me what I would call a “sh*tstorm” of bad news:
- I lost a five figure IT consulting contract for the month of September
- My laptop got stolen when someone broke into my truck
- My truck broke down while driving with my young son and mother and a 6 hour trip turned into a 14 hour trip
- Both my kids were sick
- All the links on this site broke at once (still fixing this one)
- Google dropped me from the rankings on all my keywords
- My wife and I had a temporary disconnection.
All of life is relative, so I don’t know how the above sounds to you, but for me, it was probably the worst week I’ve had this decade.
I thought it might be useful (for both me and you) to look back and ask myself a few questions about how meditation helped (if it did), and what might be the lessons to be learned in this situation.
Question #1: Did I use meditation at all?
I did turn to meditation, about every other day. On days when I could not set aside time to meditate, I used meditation music for concentration while I scrambled to catch up on my work. I knew that meditation was going to be helpful, but because I was dealing with so many things at once, I kept setting it aside to be done “when I have time”. Of course, this approach created 2 issues.
1.) I wasn’t finding the time because instead of approaching my day centered and calm, I was thrashing about like a person about to drown.
2.) Knowing how important meditation is to my well-being, by not setting time aside for it, it created additional anxiety knowing I was not doing something I desperately needed to be doing.
As I came to terms with this insane behavior of knowing I needed to meditate and then having anxiety about not doing it,I gradually started getting back to daily meditation. This leads to question #2.
Question #2 If/when I did meditate, how did it go?
As someone who has consistently meditated for over 15 years, my meditation experience during this time was all over the map. One time I decided to sit and simply breathe, with my focus being on absolutely nothing. Maybe 2 minutes later I regained consciousness in the midst of a daydream I was having where I caught the person who stole my laptop, and was trying to decide whether to run over them with my truck! Not the most peaceful meditation, it did make me realize my monkey mind of thoughts was completely out of hand. I needed some help in the form of meditation technology to help quiet my mind. My new stress relief meditation mp3 helps with that.
Other times I found that loud chanting and ohming, over a 5 minute duration, lessened my focus on the current life drama and helped me turn more inward so I could relax and distress.
Every time during my personal sh*tstorm I tried to simply breathe and watch my thoughts, I would click out and go unconscious and then find myself in a bad daydream or just want to go to sleep. I consistently needed guided meditation with meditation technology to get in a meditative state. This isn’t some sales pitch for my mp3s, it is simply my experience.
Question #3 Did Meditation Make Things Better?
Yes it did. Not always immediately, but the cumulative effect of time in meditation with the goal of stress relief, and time in meditation with goal focus, and time in meditation while focusing on my work, it helped a lot. I was able to get some perspective that the sh*tstorm was like all storms, it passes and life goes on.
Question #4 Where is the opportunity for growth?
My belief is that life is a learning system designed for soul growth. I am still in the process of remembering this when life events occur, but it’s a process and I’m trying. I believe that the sh*tstorm was delivered to remind me to get more clear and consistent in focusing on my life’s mission and intention. I had temporarily fallen out of the habit of morning visualization and become reactive to life rather than creating internal intentions of how I wish for life to be.
I hope you can find a way to learn and grow without needing life to throw you into the storm! But if that’s what it takes, look for the growth and learn it so you can get back to the good times.
firstname.lastname@example.org September 12, 2012 Reply
This really resonated with me, thank you for sharing. I wish I could have more perspective “during” the storm, but usually realize after the fact how good it feels to have the storm passing in the distance. I’ve just started meditation and am one of those people who doesn’t think I’m doing it right! But I know it works and am grateful for this resource. Thank you for opening up and for doing the work that you do to help the rest of us!
adminon September 13, 2012 Reply
Hi Carrie – Thanks for commenting, I am psyched you have taken up meditation…it will change your life for the better! Hopefully my course helps you find your way. Don’t hesitate to email me with any questions and take care.
Rajiv Nathan (@RajNATION)on November 1, 2013 Reply
I took up meditation in September and while I don’t do it regularly, I have learned to generally be more mindful and think of how things fit in the bigger picture, rather than thinking that everything lives in a vacuum.
One thing that I was taught that helped me with meditation (because I too can say I often don’t think I’m doing it right), is that for some reason, meditation got this stigma where everyone thinks you have to be an expert right when you start. We don’t ride a bike expecting to win the tour de france the first time we sit on a two-wheeler, nor do we go to the gym expecting to bench press 200 lbs on our first go-round. Meditation should be approached the same way. It’s something that takes practice, and the more practice you have, the better you’ll be.
nick rogerson September 12, 2012 Reply
That silly silly monkey mind! Always making life difficult, but practice makes us better and the more aware I become of my monkey mind that better I become at side-stepping it!
It’s funny doing so well for such a long time then to have the sh*tstorm come down and bring the monkey mind to the forefront.
adminon September 13, 2012 Reply
I agree Nick…as long as my meditative mind gives me the correct pick each week I’ll be happy though.
Stacy Williamson September 23, 2012 Reply
Aw, this was a very nice post. In thought I want to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and precise effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and not at all seem to get one thing done.
adminon October 1, 2012 Reply
I appreciate you both reading and then taking the time to comment.
My procrastination has lessened over time, but then I get excited about too many things and suddenly I’m spraying my energy all over the place like a garden hose on the loose.
A wise being recently instructed me to write down all I want to accomplish, then write out all the substeps, then focus on one substep at a time. So far it’s helped quite a bit.
Take it easy,
Biz Burnetton December 13, 2012 Reply
Thanks, Scott. About 20 years, I read _Many Lives, Many Masters_ by Brian Weiss, and _Journey of Souls_ by Michael Newton. Those great books helped me also believe that “life is a learning system designed for soul growth.” (Interesting that more people don’t also share this belief after having been students for the first 20 years of their life!) This belief helps me realize very quickly that each sh*tty incident is “a pop quiz,” to test my current skill level at living lovingly and fearlessly. A sh*tstorm is simply like Final Exams at the end of a semester: You have to pass those exams to advance to the next grade or graduate and move on to start a whole new curriculum.
adminon February 8, 2013 Reply
I read Brian Weiss and attended one of his workshops down in West Palm Beach Florida back in 2002. Fun experience and it almost seemed too easy to slip into past life experiences. After studying Theosophy I have learned that when experiencing a past life it is because we are able to preceive from our causal body. I suggest checking into Theosophy, particularly the book on the Causal Body by Arthur Powell.
I have said the exact quote “Life is a learning system for growth” numerous times, great to hear I’m not the only one that feels that way!
Take it easy and thanks for reading Biz. Sorry for the delayed response, apparently spam commenters love this site also so I don’t always have the time to go through comments.
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