A Meditator's Story: I’ve Learned to Love Myself
A woman with a cancer diagnosis struggles with depression until she finds the path towards healing through meditation.
BY: Sarah McLean
Excerpted from the book Soul Centered: Transform Your Life in 8 Weeks with Meditation ©2012 by Sarah McLean. Published with permission of Hay House.
Monica was diagnosed with cancer in her 20s. The doctors she worked with recommended that she learn to meditate as part of her healing process. This was the first time she’d heard about meditation, but she came to a weekend meditation retreat I was leading in Sedona and began meditating on a daily basis.
“When I first learned to meditate,” she later told me, “I realized that there was a connection with something greater than myself — a free flow of source energy. It became an opportunity for exploration and opened up a whole new world for me. I was able to able to move beyond my self-imposed limitations and started asking the questions about what my heart truly wanted. I could see more clearly what I wanted to do in life and how I was going to get there.”
Her meditation experience prompted Monica to get certified in Reiki and life coaching, learning as much as she could to heal herself and others. Trained as a social worker, she had planned to get a master’s degree in counseling; but as she progressed toward her goal, she realized that she wanted to learn about how the body and emotions are involved in healing, and it was more than she could learn from a counseling degree. So she began working with several holistic healers, changed her diet, continued her meditation practice, and visualized herself being healthy.
In eight months, the cancer was completely gone without her having to undergo any radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. That was six years ago. Today, she’s still in remission. Monica lives in Hawaii and studies acupuncture and Chinese medicine. She is currently interning to complete her master’s program and will be licensed in one more year.
Monica credits this complete transformation of her life to her meditation practice. “Before I began meditating, I was severely depressed for years. I struggled with an overwhelming sense of sadness and felt like there was something more I was supposed to be doing but didn’t know how to move forward. I felt stagnant. “Meditation supports the realization that you are a perfect being. We are all perfect, and the body wants to naturally align with that truth. We forget about our wholeness, and meditation pulls us back into that feeling of completion and perfection.”
When people who knew Monica before see her now, they often remark, “You seem so much more calm and happier.” Even her own sister notices the difference and has told her when she visits, “I just love having you around, because you bring such a peaceful energy to my life when you’re here.”
Monica’s relationship with herself transformed too. “I’ve learned to love myself for where I already am, not being so concerned about where I’m going to get to. If there’s something I want to feel, like fulfillment or happiness, I can feel that right now—I don’t have to wait. I can enjoy the process and accept myself for what’s going on right now. My depression from my younger days stemmed from always looking for outside sources to fulfill me. The reality is, we have everything we need inside of us, and meditating brought me to that understanding.”
She also saw a shift in her romantic relationships. “I started noticing patterns in my relationships. I could be perfectly fine and independent on my own, but as soon as I got into a relationship, I would automatically defer to the other person for my happiness. Putting all that pressure and expectations on another person led to my relationships deteriorating. When I started meditating, I started to understand my own happiness, and it changed the way I related to people.
“Meditation has changed so much in my life. Now, if I have negative experiences, I take it as a sign to check in with myself and ask: ‘How am I attracting this?’ Such experiences mean it’s time to get back to center, to loving myself. This awareness dramatically changes how I interact with people on a daily basis, letting me feel more independent and confident.”
Learn more at www.soul-centered.com.