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Mental Health / Sustainability

A Beginner’s Meditation Lessons

This article first appeared on Joie De Vivre, which chronicles Nichole Dunst’s conscious living pursuits and worldly travels. It seeks to showcase “green living” as a fun, stylish, and non-intimidating venture. 

I wanted to share Nichole’s meditation experience as an example of what many face when they first explore a meditation practice. Sitting still in absolute silence can be terribly painful. But the benefits are life changing. 

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Earlier this month I found myself in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts for what I thought would be a weekend of yoga and good vegan food. My friend Jenn had told me about this weekend-long spiritual retreat with Gabby Bernstein, our generation’s spiritual leader, called Amplify Your Intuition. It was set in the well-known Kripalu Yoga Center, on a sprawling plot of land offering hiking trails, a swimming lake, and a breathe of fresh air.

When she asked if I’d be interested, I thought, “Hey sure, I like yoga. Why not?”

I was excited for the opportunity to spend a weekend relaxing, doing yoga, and catching up with a friend. But to be honest, I was a little bit skeptical about Gabrielle Bernstein and whether or not I would get any value out of her program. I couldn’t tell if she was just another social media presence, milking her notoriety and using it as a means of selling lots of books and making lots of money.

But on that first day, when I walked into the room where the seminar was being held, I saw Gabby sitting on a bench up front, and she just looked so peaceful. When she spoke, it was with such precision, and such heart. It became clear to me very quickly that this chick was the real deal.

She’s such an open book, and she’s not afraid to tell us about the moments where she, as she calls it, “chooses fear over love.” Every once in a while, in the middle of speaking about non-judgement or living in the present, out squeaks a “fuck” or a “hell no.” And that is why we all love Gabby Bernstein.

She’s us. Just without all the chaos.

Throughout the course of the weekend I learn a lot about myself, and about how I had recently begun approaching things that I didn’t agree with, things that made me uncomfortable. I realize I’ve started to become defensive and, almost, aggressive in my convictions. While I don’t necessarily think it’s bad to voice your opinions or stand up for what you think is right, you can’t shove them down people’s throats. I was becoming far too judgmental of those around me who didn’t share my same ideals, and it was tainting my experiences with them.

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