Mindful Moments: 12 Meditation Milestones I’ve Found This Semester

I’ll be honest: I have always been skeptical of the benefits that P.E. classes or physical development and wellness, as Winona State calls it, provide to college-aged students. That is not to say that I do not see the long-term benefits of developing a healthy and active lifestyle. 

 

But I think for higher ed, it should be more of an opt-in process rather than a requirement because it does annoy me to shell out (or my parents, rather) tuition money on 2 credits when I’ve been taking P.E. since elementary school. This might also explain why I waited until the first semester of my senior year to take these requirements.

 

But I digress. 

 

To fulfill the two credits of physical development needed, I enrolled in Meditation practice, as well as yoga practice. I still wasn’t completely sold on my first few weeks of meditation, as I sat and stewed about how much money was being “wasted” as I sat in front of a Zoom monitor and just… breathed. That is, until this past Monday, Nov 9 when I had a Eureka! moment.

 

My professor said, “when we don’t take the time to be still, we go from human beings to human doings.” It resonated with me because in a somewhat toxic constant-productivity culture we live in, I’ve been feeling the burnout and really, well, have been doing things rather than living my life in a conscious, active way. 

 

So to make a long story short, I have decided to be mindful of the lessons learned in the past 12 weeks of meditation. 

 

1. Come as you are.

One of my favorite things about meditation is that the practice accepts you exactly as you are. You do not need to change, and everyone can start at different square ones.

 

2. Be still.

Quite literally the hallmark of meditation is the art of being still (while being in motion, if that makes sense). Meditation gives me a reminder to take in the stillness of life and just be. 

 

3. Find a community.

It has felt a little isolating to do Zoom meditation, but knowing we’re all only a monitor away has created a support group among my peers.

 

4. Find yourself.

Meditation has provided me with a lot of moments to reflect on how far I’ve come, as well as where I want to go in life.

 

5. It’s okay to wander.

This can be in a literal, walking meditation type of way. But I intended it as mental wandering. Taking this class has shown me that having an active mind doesn’t mean you’re inherently a bad meditator; it’s all part of the process.

 

6. You can meditate anywhere.

Although I personally perform better in a quiet sitting environment, meditation has shown me the art of finding peace and a mindful life can be everywhere and everything.

 

7. All activities are done better mindfully.

When we take the time to be conscious of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, we bring focused passion. And that can improve all things. 

 

8. Progress is not linear.

Meditation is not something where you improve monumentally each time you do it. There can be setbacks in your physical being, as well as mental blocks. Reminding myself that meditation mirrors life in that way has been beneficial to me.

 

9. Self-care looks different for everyone.

Meditation has shockingly become something I gravitate to when I’m in need of a quick 10-20 minutes of “me-time.” It’s given me a new outlet to prioritize how I’m feeling.

 

10. It’s okay to have fun.

Sometimes, we spend time making funny faces to stretch the muscles or wild swinging movements with our arms and legs. Embracing the art of not caring what we look like when truly letting go has been a liberating part of the class for me.

 

11. It’s okay to be skeptical.

It’s human nature to question things we don’t understand. Because I came into the class not fully sure of myself, I’ve experienced true growth.

 

12. Just breathe.

Maybe this is corny, but it’s true. Breathing becomes exceedingly harder when we focus too much on it, but it’s one of the simplest ways to shift how you feel and respond to everything around us. Inhale, exhale.

 

I hope reading about my journey to a more mindful headspace opened up a potential avenue for you in meditation! And don’t forget to nama-stay positive about how methods you use can help you to prioritize yourself.