How Meditation Does (and Doesn't) Help You Deal With The Crazy
by WITHIN Cofounder Hannah Knapp
It just never seems to stop, does it? The onslaught of stressful news and events - both personal, and from every corner of the world - is overwhelming. No wonder we turn to TV, alcohol, drugs, social media - anything that helps us tune it out for a little while.
But deep down, we know they won't get us what we want. We know they're temporary, and addictive: we keep needing more and more of them to experience the relief we're looking for.
At some point, we've all probably realized that it's just not possible to outrun the tough stuff in life.
What if, instead, you knew that you had inside yourself exactly what you needed to meet any situation you found yourself in?
What if, even when you were sad, or frustrated, you knew that nothing "out there" could change that steadiness and peace deep inside you?
That tantalizing question is exactly why meditation - and mindfulness - have been getting so much attention in the past few years.
While on the surface, meditation seems to be another way to escape from whatever is happening, once you begin practicing, you quickly realize that it actually fortifies you to face reality head-on. The practice of meeting what's going on in your mind, fearlessly, as you do each time you sit in meditation, trains you to do exactly the same thing when you're interacting with other human beings.
We're not saying that it's easy, or magical. It isn't. There are moments of bliss and moments of despair, and a lot of other territory in-between.
Meditation is a path, not a destination. But what it does do is offer you access to the peace that is already deep inside you, that you've lost touch with in the muddle of day-to-day life.
When you experience that peace, you know on a profound level that you're already exactly where you need to be, and everything you're dealing with is just what's happening right now. That knowledge makes it so much easier to face the music, and dance with whatever you encounter.
Clearly, we're biased on this: after all, we founded a meditation studio. We're deeply passionate about giving people the opportunity try meditation for themselves, and see what all the fuss is about.
A year ago, we held our very first studio class at WITHIN Meditation.
We started with a mission to help people access that peace inside themselves, supported by teachers and a community of students.
We didn't know if holding short, drop-in meditation classes would make stillness more accessible for busy people in San Francisco's Financial District, but we were determined to try it and find out.
One year later, we've held hundreds of classes and seen over 800 people walk through our studio doors.
We love each person's particular history about why they show up, and why they keep coming back. It truly warms our hearts to know that we're helping people find stillness and ease, in the midst of the crazy. Here's what three of them have to say about their WITHIN experience:
One of the themes we've noticed? Coming together to meditate makes it easier to start and stick with your meditation practice. No matter whether you're an experienced meditator, or just starting out, having a community of people you practice with makes all the difference.