I am 28 years old now. The year between 22 and 27 was a rough patch for me. Although I did portray an air of confidence and positivity to people around me, I was trapped in a negative train of thoughts. That thoughts lead to a set of negative and repetitive behaviors that I am not particularly proud to admit.
I battled against these specific set of patterns, but largely in vain. But now, at the age of 28, I feel finally I am turning a corner.
And a large reason for that has been the practice of Meditation. You learn, quite paradoxically, that you need not fight to win. Anyways, about that later.
I am sharing my story, and about what I learned during this time. In the hope that some may find it relatable and hopefully see a helpful way out of their personal circumstances.
Note: The “story” that follows is written with my personal experiences in mind. I wrote this imagining what I would tell myself the 22-year-old me considering what I know now. That is the reason why I use a lot of assertive “you” and “your” in this story. I hope you, the reader, don’t mind that.
Story – The beginning
You are born. You grow up and pretty much get on with your life. In the beginning, there are not many things to worry about. Life seems straightforward and it seems to go on okay.
Then, inevitably, life may throw you an unpleasant curveball.
Nay, strike the
may. Life WILL throw you an unpleasant curveball.
These unpleasant meteors of surprises WILL come in one form of other. You will be taken aback, and be a witness to this event that you were unprepared for.
These meteors could be:
- External event :
- An event that deeply and personally affects you but was caused by circumstances beyond your control, or
- Self-inflicted event :
- A self-inflicted single event that you brought upon yourself based on your choice, or
- Cumulative event :
- Example: You slowly, but surely, accumulated a certain set of unproductive behaviors. Either due to laziness or simply not caring enough.
- Example: You have acquired all these small stress events from work/career/managing your life.
- They have clumped together and coming for you in this form of giant meteor now.
All those events, major or minor, will leave an indelible impact crater on your life.
These craters are part of your life now. As you go through life, you will inevitably and repeatedly come across these craters.
Sometimes, unfortunately, you will fall through them.
Those craters are dark recesses where monsters lurk. They are ready to ambush you, drag you down the pit and feed on you.
The monsters take a different shape. Those monster could be :
- a repetitive set of unproductive and addictive behaviors, or
- a mental train of negative thoughts (example: anger, resentment, depression, helplessness, stress, disinterestedness), or
- they could even physically affect your health by taking a toll on your body.
In any case, those impact craters are a fact of your life now. Everyone witnesses those unpleasant meteors in life. Everyone has those impact craters and the associated monster that resides in them.
The occurrence of these craters is not in anyway unique, and hence is not a problem. But your relationship to those craters and how you navigate them is the problem.
And this is where you will most likely fail.
The three ways you will fall and fail
Because you will go about this in the wrong way. You will fall and fail.
Every-time you fall, the monster inside the craters would feed on you and grow stronger.
The more you fall, the stronger the monster grows and worse the effect. A dark self-fulfilling and cyclical prophecy.
You broadly will fail in one of these three ways :
The meteors will crash loudly. They will let you know that they were here and they left that emotional crater. But you will not listen. You will deny their existence.
You will turn a blind eye, and willfully choose to ignore the signs. You will choose not to care about the craters.
Your willful ignorance will lead you to fall, and will repeatedly do so until you learn to see the craters.
2. Feed the crater
You will eventually notice their presence.
But instead of letting the crater be, you will feed the crater with your own emotions and enlarge it.
You will see the crater, feed it with your own emotions, enlarge it, and fall in it. You will rise and repeat this again.
Leaving the crater larger, and the monster inside it stronger, each time you fall.
3. Not being in the NOW
The final way you will fail is by fixating on the future to distract yourself from the present. You will delude yourself by saying that your magical future will not have any craters and you will not have the same problems anymore once you reach there.
- If you are unhappy now, you will be unhappy after becoming financially independent.
- If you are unhappy now, getting into a relationship/magically is not magically going to fix you.
- If you are not taking of your health today, you are not going to start doing it after “settling” down in your work.
The craters are here to stay. They won’t disappear in the present or in your magical future. If you fall and fail to learn to deal with it now, you will also fall in your imaginary magic land of the future.
Story – The END
So what now?
I have personally been through this 3 stages of falling through the crater. Being devoured by the monster and watching them grow stronger each time I fall. I have seen the negative patterns reinforcing themselves. And I also have seen this happening with my friends and family.
The size, nature, and intensity of the emotional craters are unique to each of us. And consequently, the monsters that reside in each of those craters take different forms.
Chronic depression for some, addictive behaviors for others, and lethargy/laziness for someone else.
But the broad storyline is the same. We either fail to address these mental craters or address them in the wrong ways.
After all these years, what’s personally has worked for me is
- not to ignore the crater,
- not to fuel it (or resist the emotions),
- not to create a distraction in the form of “magic land” goals
but rather learn to acknowledge the presence of these craters and let them be.
You will keep bumping into these crater as you walk along in life. And even new ones will form. But once you see these craters for what they are, accept that they are part of your life, and be comfortable with it, you will eventually learn to walk and sidestep it.
You won’t fall and feed those monsters. The monsters will starve and eventually wither away. The old patterns will be no more.
Life will eventually turn a corner. You will be happy now, and with an unmistakable aura of contentedness in the present.
It’s the same life. The one with all the craters. But since you changed about view them. Life will seem much brighter and colorful without all of the old negative patterns.
Easier said than done
Of course, accepting those craters and being comfortable with them is easier said than done. So, how do we do that then?
In essence, Mind is a muscle. To make your body do certain things, you do workouts. Similarly, you need to train your Mind.
There are different ways to go about this mind training.
What has worked best for me has been the practice of Meditation! Although, it has hosts of other benefits, the primary one for me has been the clarity to see through those craters.
I started with it three months ago. In the beginning, I started small practicing 5 minutes a day – twice/thrice a week.
But now, for the past month, I have done it every single day for 30 minutes.
This has changed everything for me. Meditation gives me a solid footing to go run around and explore other fun things that life offers.
When I bump into my emotional crater now, I see them for what they are and let them be. I already see those old patterns and behaviors withering away. It’s not always perfect like that, but I do my best and I keep practicing.
Meditation – Headspace
I don’t write all this with the intention of humble-bragging. But, to share what I went through and how meditation changed my life for the better.
If I convinced at least one of you reading this to try out meditation once for 5 minutes, then my job here is done.
With all the modern technology today, it’s not hard to get started with meditation. There are so many apps that make it convenient. Anyone can give it a try.
The one I personally use is Headspace. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is my Favourite app.
I am not affiliated. And no-one is paying me to say this, but I think they are great and everyone should give it a try. It makes meditation very accessible and simple for beginners.
You can choose between a 5 – 20 min session and there is a gentle audio guiding and telling you what to do. It’s super easy. Give it a try!
Still not convinced
Maybe you are still not convinced and don’t want to go the Meditation route. That is fine. Do whatever works best for you to address your emotional craters.
But please remember, do not ignore those craters, do not fuel them, or do not distract yourself with “magic land” goals.
- Life will inevitably throw unpleasant surprise craters at you.
- They will leave mental craters in your life, which in turn will lead to unproductive patterns and behaviors.
- Do not ignore, fuel, or distract yourself, from these craters.
- Learning to be comfortable with mental craters will help you to get rid of associated unproductive patterns and behaviors in life.
- Meditation is one way to do the above. And I personally recommend Headspace to get started on this Meditation journey.