A Match Made in Heaven – Personal Growth Coaching and Meditation
So I have puttered with meditation over the last several years. I have read about it on-line, I have bought books, listened to audio recordings and tried really hard to focus on my breathing during yoga. I have tried to be mindful of the present moments in my life, I appreciate nature, I think about my life journey, alot, and I try to be grateful for all the amazing gifts I have in my life. But I still feel like I am failing at meditation.
A good friend of mine has been doing meditation for years and he was the first person I knew who practiced it on a regular basis. Since then, more friends have taken interest, for their own various reasons, and they all really like it, for their own various benefits. I have found that I am jealous of people who can meditate and I can beat myself up for not being able to do it. I think that I am a very spiritual person who is living life consciously, so I should be able to do this, damn it!
I attended an Introduction to Meditation with Sita Dookeran that was hosted by the Happy Monkey Club a couple of weeks ago and I have been thinking about it ever since. Again, “I failed” to experience what I expected to happen during meditation. There was no escape from my thoughts, there were no clear paths that were laid out before me, there were no answers to my many questions, and there were no sensations of being transported to another realm. I talked briefly with Sita at the end of the session, and she responded in a way that gave me credit for paying attention to the insights I gain when I am riding my bike, walking my dog, paddling, or listening to the wind.
Now, I don’t know why I suddenly see meditation in a different light, but I do. It could very well be because I have just today made a connection between life coaching and meditation. What became the most clear to me after attending the session with Sita a couple of weeks ago is that meditation is a process. It takes time to develop the technique before you actually begin to feel its impact, it requires a commitment to yourself, and it does not happen in isolation from other parts of your life.
Where’s the connection to life coaching? Life coaching, too, is a process; identifying a goal, setting out the steps, and putting plans into action. This takes time, commitment, and has far reaching impact on all aspects of your life.
But the real connection between life coaching and meditation, beyond both being processes , is that life coaching and meditation are ways to discover your own path, your passions, your truth. If you see life coaching as counselling, mentoring, or advising, then this commonality may not hold true. But for many life coaches, me included, it is not our role to provide advice, to tell a client what they are supposed to do, where they are to focus their energy, or evaluate and make recommendations from the available options. It is my role as a coach to ask deep, meaningful questions and reflect back the responses, so that the person taps into their own answers and resourcefulness. It is at this point of clarity that I will guide a person to the action part of the process when they make a plan to consciously match their behaviours to their beliefs, values, passions, and true self.
So, finally I get to my point of “Life Coaching and Meditation; A Match Made in Heaven”. If they both help a person become aware of their true self, why do they need each other? Why don’t they just function independently? How would they work in partnership? Well, some people are clear on who they truly are, what they want, and what inspires them, but may struggle to put together an action plan and take the steps towards consciously honouring themselves. These people may do very well with life coaching. Other people may be very good at making plans, following through, and accomplishing great things, but if their actions do not match with who they truly are, this mismatch will manifest itself one way or another. It could be through stress, illness, difficult relationships, etc. Meditation would be a great fit for them to explore and confirm their life purpose so that all their planning skills are directed towards personal fulfillment.
Now imagine these two processes working together. The life coaching client who is blocked from accessing their higher self and being stuck, using a meditation practice to break through the barriers, and then putting the steps in place to move in the direction of truth. The person who practices meditation being very aware of what would provide them with enlightenment and fulfillment, but not quite having the plan and/or motivation to move in that direction, using a coaching process to commit to themselves and their path.
As for my own meditation practise, I now recognize the need to make a commitment to it. I can’t just read an article once in awhile, deep breathe when I am having trouble falling asleep, or say I went to one meditation session. I have to follow the process just like I expect my clients to follow a process of coaching if any impact is to be expected. I do feel like I want to access something deeper, even though I intuitively feel like I am on the right path for me. If I can avoid some detours through the practice of meditation, I’m all for that. My plan is to sign up for an eight week meditation class. (FYI: I just took myself through a coaching process to make this commitment to myself).