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Meditation has been a part of my life.
Ever since I can remember,
I personally have been practicing it for the last 5 and a half years.
I have been a trainer for the last 8 months.
But I will get into that a little bit later.
My college career has been unconventional to say the least.
I started out as pre-med, got halfway through my freshman year in college,
before realizing that really wasn't for me.
I switched my major about 4 times
before finally landing on international studies
and eventually choosing public health.
I think it took me a long time to figure out
what I want to do with my life, for a few reasons.
One, I'd always struggled with self-confidence,
and I would set my standards for myself so high,
that anytime I failed to reach them,
or I felt I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing,
instead of finding strength from that situation,
I would beat myself up in falter.
Two - my idea of success, happiness, and satisfaction up until recently
was completely misguided.
We live in a world that encourages this idea,
that in order to be internally satisfied, we have to rely on external circumstances.
This is an idea that's been hammered into our heads,
probably since we could understand
what happiness, success, and satisfaction were.
Obviously, these are different concepts for different people at different times.
It could be the little things
like spending time with friends and family,
or curling up with a good book;
or getting good grades, getting the job you want,
finding the person you're meant to spend the rest of your life with.
While all these things are great things,
we're still relying on things outside of ourselves to make us happy.
This idea of external substance creation has been magnified
with the increases in technology and the advent of social media.
We can't really exist without our devices anymore,
it's almost like our phones have become
other body organs that we can't live without.
No offense to anybody, but I can guarantee,
the second I'm done talking,
the majority of you will subconsciously reach for your phone and check your texts.
(Laughter)
And social media -
social media has created this idea of false happiness and satisfaction.
Nobody wants to share bad moments of their lives,
none wants to share their mistakes or their failures.
So social media has made it seem
that everyone is always successful, and happy, satisfied all the time.
What if things don't go our way?
What if don't get the grade we want?
What if the person we thought to spend the rest of our lives with
breaks up with us?
Or we do get the job we want, but there is a negative aspect to it?
Like our boss sucks, or we have a horrible co-worker.
Suddenly, the concept that was providing us
with internal satisfaction, externally is now negative.
What I am realizing more and more
is that not only is our success temporary but our happiness is conditional.
We are only happy or satisfied
because something external is making us happy and satisfied.
We are never truly satisfied for the sake of being satisfied.
That's where I realized I was going wrong.
Let me back up a little bit.
Anybody who knows me knows
my entire life I had been on a one-way path to becoming a doctor.
My family is filled with medical professionals,
and at age of 5, I declared I was going to be just like them.
Of course, my incredible Indian parents let out a huge sigh of relief
because they didn't have to convince me to go into medicine.
For a long time, that was what I wanted to do
until I started learning more about myself, my passions, and interests.
Suddenly, becoming a doctor was less of what I wanted to do,
and more of what I felt obligated to do.
Because my entire life I have been taught
that in order to be successful you have to be a doctor.
I was always a weirdly compliant kid,
I always knew my parents knew what is best for me.
So instead of being confident to stand up for myself,
I went along with it.
Fast forward to my freshman year of college:
I was miserable.
I was taking classes that I hated, and I was doing poorly in them.
The person I thought I'd spend my life with
broke up with me the second he went to college.
I was still living at home,
so I felt like I wasn't having the normal college experience.
After years of having a plan and a direction for my life,
all of a sudden, I was lost.
When you go through hard times or through a break-up,
everybody tells you to get out, do things for yourself.
And I did, I'd hang out with friends,
I would go curl up with a book at a bookstore,
I joined our Bollywood Fusion dance team at school,
I would get a massage.
But those were temporary satisfactions.
I would still come home and still feel internally dissatisfied with myself.
Social media became the bane of my existence.
I'd see my friends, my ex, and all my classmates
posting pictures of their college adventures,
their dorm rooms, their new friends, all these new things.
I felt like a failure for a couple of reasons.
One - I didn't have anything to share on social media.
I was still living at home,
I didn't feel like I was having the conventional college experience.
And two - as an Indian,
I wasn't meeting the standard of success that had been dictated for me.
I wasn't doing well to become a doctor.
But because that was all I knew as success, I stuck with it,
and my GPA and my self-esteem failed as a reason.
So how did I change this? How did I turn my life around?
Like I said, meditation has been a part of my life ever since I can remember.
My dad has been practicing a form of meditation called Raja yoga,
or yoga of the mind, for over 35 years.
My mom started shortly after they got married.
Just like people go to church, a temple, or a synagogue,
meditation is my way of life; it's all I have ever known.
I always knew I was going to start practicing meditation at some point;
I tried it a couple times at my freshman year of college,
but anything at that point that my parents thought would be good for me,
or it would help me get out of the rut that I was in,
I was completely rebellious against.
Thankfully for me, very luckily, I have incredible friends,
and I have to show off pictures of them, because they are my whole world.
I was very lucky to have friends
who were not only starting their college careers,
or they were halfway through their college careers,
but they were going through similar things that I was,
and they hadn't built up the resistance to mediation that I had.
One of my friends convinced me to go to a mediation retreat one weekend.
At first, I cribbed, and I fussed,
I wanted to stay in my own little bubble of self-pity and misery.
But in the end, I am so glad I went,
because it was probably the best thing that could happen to me.
So what is meditation?
I'm sure everybody here has a general idea in their head of what it is,
but just to give a few more definitions.
"Meditation is an exercise that trains your mind to regulate itself.
It's the ability to focus on one thing continuously without break.
If practiced properly and diligently,
it's a consistent reconnection with your true inner self."
A lot of people brush the concept of meditation aside
because we think, "How do we function without our thoughts?"
"How do we get through our day without thinking?"
Other thing people don't realize
is just like our bodies require physical activity
to keep it strong, healthy, and active,
our minds are muscles that also require exercise and regulation
to keep it strong, happy, healthy, and active.
A lot of times, people neglect their minds because they forget this point.
If you think meditation is hard, you are absolutely right.
It is very difficult to get your brain to shut up
for longer five seconds and not think about something else.
That is another reason why people don't try it out.
The first time I sat down to meditate,
it felt like every single thought I had ever had in my 18 years of existence
decided to come into my head at that exact moment.
No matter how many times I tried to push them away,
ignore my thoughts, or try to get into a state of thoughtlessness,
they kept coming back.
I thought, "Why am I doing this?
Another thing in life I am failing at; why am I even trying?"
The second time I sat down to meditate during that retreat,
my thoughts decreased by a quarter.
The third time I sat down to meditate during that retreat,
they decreased by half.
Gradually, it was as though I was starting to see the world in High-Definiton.
Not only could I see my external circumstances very clearly
but I was finally starting to see my true inner self
with the objectivity and clarity that I not had ever before.
The practice of meditation that I am a part of prescribes
meditating twice a day for one hour each time.
Once in the morning for an hour, once in the evening for an hour.
I will be totally honest, it took me a very long time
to get to a point where I was consistent with this.
Some days I was doing a really great job.
I get up, I meditate, I go to bed, and I meditate.
Before I went bed I would meditate, and I'd be fine.
But other days, more bad days than good days,
I would just be downright lazy,
and I would stay up all night watching Ellen videos,
and then wake up late the next morning instead of meditating.
My rationale for this was,
"I'm young, I have the rest of my life to work on my meditation practice,
I don't have more time to watch Ellen videos."
(Laughter)
But I think it took me a long time to connect with my meditation practice
because I wasn't accustomed to the silence that came with meditation.
I think. as humans, we thrive on noise
because it makes us feel as we're doing something.
So I sit to meditate, and about 5 to 10 minutes in,
I would realize I was craving noise, I needed some sort of distraction.
So I'd give up on meditating,
and I immediately reached for my phone or for my laptop.
What this taught me was I had come to point where I hated silence.
This also taught me how loud my world was.
Noise is not just sound or cacophony,
noise is the frustration you feel with a family member or a friend.
It's writer's block,
it's not understanding a concept at school.
Anything is noise if it is loud enough to distract us.
When I realized that I'd come to hate silence,
it made me examine my routine; I realized I couldn't get through a day
without sound, or noise, or distractions of some sort.
I would wake up in the morning, and I would meditate half-heartedly
before giving up because it got too hard.
I would immediately reach for my phone of for my laptop,
and I would play music and videos
while I was getting ready for school or while I was eating breakfast.
I'd drive to school with music on, I'd get to class, I'd be fine;
about halfway through class I'd zone out thinking about the video I watched.
There would be so much chaos coming around me and in me
because of my thoughts and distractions
that I'd come home and feel frustrated,
and let out that frustration on my family members
not knowing what to do with it.
I'd start my homework and feel frustrated
because I wasn't understanding the concepts,
but that's because I had music on the background.
I try to sit down and meditate at the end of the day,
and I'd give up again because there was so much going on in my head.
I get annoyed when I couldn't fall asleep, and I get frustrated,
because I felt like I wasn't progressing in my meditation practice.
What this taught me was in order to create a true connection with my inner self,
I had to learn how to love silence.
In order to learn how to love silence,
I had to really use my willpower and commit to my meditation practice.
In order to sustain the love for silence that I cultivated internally,
my internal environment had to interact with my external environment.
The more and more I meditated,
the more I started to learn how to love silence internally,
the more my internal environment began to reflect my external environment.
That's when I started to see the changes in myself that I wanted to see.
So here are a few,
"How meditation creates interaction - the internal with the external."
Confidence --
like I said earlier, I've always lacked in self-confidence,
but creating a consistent reconnection with my inner self
drove that fear of confidence away.
Suddenly, I was able to stand up for myself,
I was feeling more confident within myself,
and it gave me the courage
to eventually switch my major to International Studies,
and get rid of this idea
that in order to be successful, I have to do something big.
Replacing the positive with the negative --
like I said before, we may get the job that we want,
but there is always going to be something about it that is negative,
or something, we don't want to deal with.
All of a sudden, the entire environment becomes negative.
Cultivating a connection with my internal self through meditation
has allowed me to see the positive in any situation
regardless of what it is.
Exercise --
not just exercise of the mind but the exercise of the body.
When you are taking care of yourself internally,
you are given the ability to take care of yourself externally as well.
Communication -- I seem like I talk a lot up here,
but I am actually pretty non-assertive most of the time,
so by creating a connection with myself through meditation constantly,
I was able to say the things I needed to say,
speak up for myself when I needed to.
Minimizing stress and anxiety --
being able to create confidence in myself made me take on challenges
without any worry or fear.
Staying in the present moment --
it's easier to live in the past, it's more fun to live in the future,
but it's better to stay in the moment.
And that's what meditation does for you.
Compassion, tolerance, acceptance --
being able to see everyone as their true selves
because of reconnecting with myself.
Willpower -- meditation is hard;
but if you create the willpower to stop your brain from thinking long enough,
you can pretty much create the willpower to do just about anything.
The capacity to love --
as corny as it sounds, the more and more I was able to love myself,
the more I was able to love everything around me.
There was only one time in my life
when I really steered away from my meditation practice:
when I was working on President Barack Obama's reelection campaign.
This is the day my dad and President Obama went public with their bromance.
(Laughter)
Anybody who knows anything about our campaign
knows that the energy there is so strong
that you really don't need much of anything else to sustain you.
I realized I tried to take the energy from this campaign
and use it in my daily life.
But once again, I was relying on external circumstances
to make me feel good internally.
I got to do a lot of really cool things in my senior year of college,
I went abroad to study, a trip to Europe to study Human Rights.
I got to be in Wright State's accredited Model United Nations team,
but it became less about the big things that I was doing,
and more about committing to my meditation practice,
committing to my internal self,
making sure that all the values I created within myself
were expressed in everything I did,
so I did what I was supposed to do to the best of my abilities.
When I was very fortunate to get the internship with the United Nations,
I carried that same mentality with me.
So what I'm learning more and more
is that we shouldn't have to rely on external circumstances
to make ourselves internally satisfied.
True success comes when you take the time every single day
to work on yourself internally,
and cultivate the values you want to see in yourself internally;
then, being able to hold on to those values
and express them in any external circumstance,
whether they'd be positive or negative.
One of my best friends, Suraj,
actually recently wrote a blog post about this.
We think that changes come to us as we get older;
we think we'll learn how to cook when we move out,
we'll exercise more when we really need it.
But that's not the case.
We will learn how to cook when we choose to.
We'll learn to work out and exercise when we choose to work out and exercise.
My internal sense of self didn't change until I made the choice
to change my internal sense of self.
To me, true success is being able to learn about myself more and more,
every single day with my meditation practice;
and using that and expressing it in any situation that I am put in.
Thank you.
(Applause)
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【TEDx】How Meditation Changed My Life | Mamata Venkat | TEDxWayPublicLibrary

3935 タグ追加 保存
Patrick Juan 2017 年 7 月 19 日 に公開
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