I started this journey my freshman year of college after being introduced to zen meditation. I didn’t really know where it was going to lead me other than that I was definitely going to receive some odd looks after telling someone about my new life decision. So far on this journey there has been many ups and downs. Some days I practice my meditation and I really feel connected with others and myself. Other days I want to give up entirely and don’t see a point to why I started meditating in the first place. In these times of doubt I really start to question not only why I started, but if I’m actually making the correct life decisions. Should I go into nursing? Or should I just drop everything and travel the world like I keep telling myself I’ll do someday.
At the same time during these times of doubt, its extremely hard, but I remind myself to be gentle and kind that I can’t possible start showing compassion to others if I haven’t been able to start doing so to myself. I have to remind myself that during school it is hard to put time away for my practice. Even if I can get at least 5 minutes of meditation, its better than none at all. If anything I’m that much closer to showing myself more compassion and empathy for who I am in this moment.
I think that being gentle to yourself when you are in these doubts is more important than people realize. Even if the doubt is about something completely different and has nothing to do with meditation. I know that its also hard not to label yourself with being weak when you are being gentle and kind to yourself. This is why you can’t possibly accomplish giving complete compassion to others if you can’t even allow yourself to have a break every once in a while when you need to. My advice to anyone who is being hard on themselves for anything in life right now, take a deep breath and a step back and focus on accepting yourself in the present moment. Realize that this is how you are feeling, whether it be frustrated, angry, upset, even completely empty, and just breathe it out. Allow yourself to feel these emotions consume you, and wash away. You may have to do this a couple of times but that’s ok and nothing wrong with that. I find myself doing it over ten times till I start to feel better. As humans its so hard to direct love towards ourself, but its such a crucial part to our being.