How Meditation and Therapy Work Together
You know those email rabbit holes you accidentally go down?
One moment, you’re searching your inbox for a discount code for a Labor Day sale, and the next thing you realize, you’ve spent the past hour re-reading emails you sent to your therapist 15 years ago when you were having a panic attack in the bathroom stall at work on a garden-variety Tuesday morning.
Those kinds of rabbit holes.
My therapist was the inimitable Dr. Reiner. I saw him weekly in my thirties, sitting on his comfy leather couch in his quirky therapy office on the Upper East Side.
Dr. Reiner was my emotional ride-or-die who guided me through my anxiety, imposter syndrome, and “Oh good God, what do I do NOW?!!!!” moments across every aspect of my life.
Dr. Reiner was always the one who talked me off the ledge when I went into panic mode, like the time I had an anxiety attack while trekking in Nepal, and in my later years on Wall Street when I was passed up for a promotion in favor of a co-worker who watched (and rewatched) clips of Jackass during market hours.
We made good progress over the years, Dr. Reiner and I. Together, I began to realize that I was not my anxiety, fear, and confusion. Those were preconditioned behaviors that resulted from some pretty hard things that happened in the past.
That underneath the fear and anxiety, there was the *real* me who had absolutely NO confusion about how I wanted to be treated and valued out in the world.
At times – okay, most of the time – it was challenging to take those lessons learned in Dr. Reiner’s office out into the world, so we role-played important workplace conversations and the dreaded ‘Can we talk?’ conversations with less-than-ideal boyfriends.
Put me in, Coach!
Then, a turning point happened in therapy.
Our sessions started taking off!
I started to be IN conversation with Dr. Reiner, actively sharing my own ideas about growth opportunities. This marked a major departure from my usual avoidant routine of spending the first 15 minutes getting things off my chest and then squirming in the chair for the rest of the session as he challenged my mindset and offered new behavioral changes for me.
In mathematics, it’s called a step function jump, where a continuous, linear path turns into exponential growth.
I was now enthusiastic about change. I had the attitude of “Put me in, Coach!” instead of wanting to call in sick for practice. Energetically, I was there for it, and my life began to blossom. My relationships across the board began to feel easy again.
You might be wondering…what spurred this jump?
The day I learned Vedic Meditation.
So much about therapy is about embracing change, right?
Therapy helps us make sense of our past experiences and how they manifest in the present. It gives us perspective. It provides us with perspective and allows us to integrate new ways of thinking and acting, paving the way for a better future.
Therapy helps us evolve.
The thing is, it’s hard to embrace change when our thoughts are saddled with old emotional baggage and the memories of past stressful situations.
Day by day, my Vedic Meditation sessions worked to deeply rest my mind and body so my stresses could dissolve naturally.
I began to feel a groundswell of cooperation in this evolutionary process:
- The energy of ‘What a piece of work, I can’t wait to tell him off one day!’ gradually softened and eventually faded away.
- The good ol’ standby of ‘It’s all THEIR fault!!!’ began to recede.
- The reliable negative self-talk of ‘Why am I like this? I’ll never change. I’m stuck’ vanished.
- The hurts, scars, and ideas of how things should have gone – those things holding me back from putting Dr. Reiner’s advice into enthusiastic, 100% action – started to inform my actions instead of holding me back.
My anxiety no longer held me down like those awkward ankle weights from the 80s jazzercise era. I began to feel easy and light, taking my conversations with Dr. Reiner and putting them into practice in my life.
Don’t shave your head or quit your day job
One of the things I love most about Vedic Meditation is that it’s not an ‘OR’ practice, like other rigid systems of schools of thought.
You don’t have to choose between therapy and meditation.
You don’t need to have your own Jerry Maguire goldfish moment, shave your head, sell your belongings on Craigslist, and buy a one-way ticket to the Himalayas to gain the benefits of Vedic Meditation. You don’t have to give up anything in your life to start making the most of your practice.
Vedic Meditation is an ‘AND’ practice.
My advice always is to keep on doing what you do and add Vedic Meditation into your day. That’s what I did. I kept going to therapy. I stayed consistent with my workouts. I continued to work in the modalities that made me feel good, and simply added Vedic Meditation into my morning and evening routines, and the goodness in life multiplied.
Whatever you’re doing to help you along and grow, Vedic Meditation will make it work better.
After some time, you will naturally experience a shift in your awareness and begin examining how you’re spending your time.
To receive your own Vedic Meditation mantra and start a twice-daily practice, schedule an intro talk with me, or sign up for my next Learn to Meditate Course. We’ll integrate a morning meditation into your day as a part of the course, and you’ll quickly see the benefits of starting your day with time for your own rest and rejuvenation.