The most amazing thing happened to me recently: Light Watkins’ new book, Bliss More – How to Succeed in Meditation Without Really Trying. It’s the real deal.
I’m a spiritual seeker. I have been since I was a child, asking the old country Italian ladies in Connecticut to take me with them to Catholic church on Sundays. Decades later, in my adulthood, I converted to Buddhism.
Activities I gravitate to tend to have a spiritual element: yoga, martial arts, volunteer work as a Shinto priestess. I believe in energy, chakras, qi, karma.
Most of these things have a meditation component, so I’m no stranger to it, but perhaps I’ve not done it… as ideally as I could have? I’d say “wrong,” but remember – in this milieu, there is no judgment.
Then I came across Watkins via his TEDx talk. Compelling, interesting, persuasive, not to mention handsome, he laid out his method of meditation that piqued my curiosity.
He also just put these techniques in a book just published in January. I wanted to try it and see how that worked for me.
It worked far better than I imagined, and it’s only been half a week. I followed his instructions explicitly, and the results, so far, have thrilled me.
In short, he says to sit comfortably, look at the time all you want, settle in, and think whatever you want for 20 minutes. This is the opposite of what I thought I should do.
All these years, I’ve been sitting with a straight back in the lotus position in front of my Buddhist altar, trying to think about nothing, or nothing much (counting numbers, imagining white light). As he validated, the minutes usually crawled by.
It’s so liberating to be physically and mentally comfortable! Why did I need someone to give me permission to do this? There are no accidents, so I’m just glad the Universe put this book in my path when it did!
Watkins goes on to cite scientific reasons why meditation works, what you should look for to mark your progress, and testimonies from success cases. He’s careful to disclaim that results will differ based on each individual.
The first day I tried it, it was very pleasant, and as promised, the minutes flew by. I came out of the meditation happier and more energetic. I wasn’t sure if it was because I simply had a chance to pause in my busy life, but I’m grateful!
In the book, Watkins also repeatedly insists you must limit yourself to just two 20-minute sessions per day. It’ll be so enjoyable, he predicts, you will want to meditate all day.
I was skeptical because I had years of meditation practice. The only time I fully enjoyed meditation has been during restorative yoga, or in savasana (lying down) at the end of yoga.
But he was right again. I meditated the next day, and the next, and I found myself looking forward to it, making time in the schedule for it, and having to limit myself to 20 minutes.
Here’s how it felt to me during meditation: I’m a little restless for the first minute, and my thoughts wander randomly.
What I like to think about during meditation is the present moment – how the air feels, how nice it feels to take a deep breath, what the birds sound like outside. I think about the color of my chakras.
If there’s a thought that comes up that I really want to pay attention to, I submit to my mind. EG: I’ll review that angry conversation or let myself think about what to make for dinner. Those are the things I – and probably everyone – likely think about when we’re zoning out in the car, or in a long line.
To me, it feels more relaxing to ponder the aforementioned colors, feelings, and sounds, though. I actually feel a small shift in my tension to think about the here and now, versus getting lost in the past or future.
I used to get frustrated with myself for not being able to blank out in mediation. It is so nice to have someone say it’s OK.
He even says it’s part of your detoxification process! I no longer think I’m failing at it. I think I’m progressing.
Here is how I’ve responded in this short time: I’ve slept a little better already. I have had a little inconvenience crop up in the last few years, which is allergies.
I get itchy at night, so I saw an allergist, who tested me and said I developed an allergy to pollen. He said it’s normal to get itchy at night because your body heats up.
I take allergy pills, but I don’t like it. It dries me out, and I feel a little dizzy when I move my head quickly (lying down to sitting up). I still itch a little with the pills.
Here on the fourth day after daily meditating, I woke up feeling amazing and happy to be alive. Every problem I have seems surmountable. I have a blissful feeling in my soul – a contentment with life and being alive.
I have not felt this way in years. I don’t remember the last time I felt this way. I have also had multiple concurrent traumas over the last five years. Life has been, for so long, something to manage, rather than enjoy (or enjoy consistently.)
But after Watkins’ teachings, I smile more, I laugh more, I have more energy. I feel deeply peaceful for no reason other than that I am. I was not expecting this to happen so drastically, so soon.
Could it just be the sleep alone? Even if it is, I’ll take it.
As a believer in spirituality, I also think it’s due to whatever healing subconsciously happens during meditation. So much gratitude!!
Watkins outlines a 90-day plan for establishing a meditation habit. I decided to do it. I’m looking forward to it.
So yes, the book lives up to its name, as does its author, whose teachings have brought some light into my existence. I urge you to try it.
What do you have to lose? More importantly, what do you have to gain?
More on Light Watkins at http://www.lightwatkins.com.