I thought I was knowledgeable about meditation. I thought I knew what it was all about because I hear about it everywhere. That shifted this summer when I began interning at Art of Human Being. I chose to work here initially because self-care and holistic well-being have become increasing priorities for me in the last few years, and these are services I would like to see every individual have. Throughout this summer, I’ve come to develop a deeper understanding of how meditation and mindfulness play a role in real wellbeing, and what meditation truly means.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that my understanding of meditation came from merely rumors and biased depictions. About three years ago, I was practicing meditation daily for a few months. One of the reasons I stopped meditating was that I thought I was failing at the practice, since I wasn’t able to quiet my mind. I believed the purpose of meditating was to silence the mind. While working with Art of Human Being, I have come to realize that meditation is actually about being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and actions. This new understanding has reignited my excitement for the practice.
As Gigi Falk, co-founder of Art of Human Being says, “an ancient practice of understanding the self and recognizing the reality of life in the present moment somehow got muddled down to a boring breathing exercise in our culture.” Because meditation was branded in the media as a breathing exercise to silence the mind, that is what I believed meditation to be. However, meditation is not simply about breathing or relaxing. Meditation is about awareness, and with continued practice, meditation produces ripple effects in our lives including improvements in our self-awareness and better control over our anxiety and negative emotions.
Rediscovering meditation this summer has taught me to keep an open mind and be willing to learn new material on topics that I think we understand, in order to conquer ignorance. When we allow ourselves to be humbled by new experiences or new information, we open our minds to a world of potential for transformation and growth.
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