The Magic of Meditation

There is a reason meditation has been an art and practice utilized by humans around the world for thousands of years: it works. Meditation operates on the understanding that our brains are neuroplastic, meaning they are vulnerable to change and their function can be manipulated. Understanding that our neural pathways are most significantly a result of what we have taken in from our environment and the messaging we’ve received from the world around us since birth is the first step in understanding the power of meditation. From day one, our brains are being conditioned to interpret the world around us in a certain way, and, unfortunately, not all of this conditioning is beneficial. On the topic of change, for example, we are programmed to be fearful of change, to resist change, and instead strive to maintain ‘stability’ and consistency. This is inherently detrimental since the very nature of our lives is impermanent; we and the whole world around us operates in a constant state of flux. Nothing is permanent, everything changes, so having subconscious programming telling us that peace and happiness comes from so-called ‘stability’ and consistency creates fear and tension. This fear and tension can amount to anxiety and can perpetuate a strong resistance to change and much hardship when going through change. Actual stability is achieved when we do not rely on external structures (a job, home, relationship, recognition from others, physical appearance, identity label) for a sense of peace and calm, and instead can have a sense of peace and calm while knowing that we will inevitably experience changes in these external structures. 


Apart from our conditioning about facing change and challenges in our life, our brains are programmed in infinite ways. Everything we experience in a day and how it makes us feel is a result of our subconscious programming. This is when remembering the basic truths about our existence in the world is important:

  • Nothing has meaning unless we give it meaning – The meaning we give things is based on our subconscious programming, and we assign meaning to everything that happens in our lives. Just as we give meaning to things, we can take it away or change it and totally shift how we feel. What you tell yourself about what happens in your life directly determines how you will feel about it. 

  • We are not our thoughts and feelings; we are merely observers of our thoughts and feelings – Again, the thoughts we have about ourselves or something in our lives are a result of our subconscious programming, and our feelings are a product of our thoughts. You are not your thoughts and feelings because they are impermanent and only attached to the current neural pathways your brain is using. 

  • True peace and happiness come from within – Most of us are conditioned from birth to believe that we will only find true peace and happiness when we acquire certain things in life: a ‘successful’ career, a marriage, recognition from others, a home, travel, money, children, a certain physical appearance. This belief, however, has been completely fabricated and is not based on truth. While these things may contribute to a positive experience in life, true peace and happiness is found when you can feel at peace and happy just as you, regardless of your circumstance.  


Meditation is the practice of changing our subconscious programming and altering our neural pathways so we may think and feel differently about ourselves, our lives, and the world around us. The key to meditation is commitment and consistency. While forming new neural pathways doesn’t require the same amount of time likely spent forming your current neural pathways, sticking to a daily practice over the span of a few months is required to realize the full cognitive and emotional effect. However, while the full effect will be achieved over a longer timeframe, you will notice shifts almost immediately. Our bodies and minds respond quickly to even small changes in behaviour; taking even a few minutes to focus on your breath and become aware of different sensations in your body can shift your system into a parasympathetic (or relaxed nervous system) state, which has immediate benefits for your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. 


How To Do It:

Step 1: Set an alarm. Meditating can be quite uncomfortable and tedious at the beginning. Most of us aren’t used to spending any time in a focused state of quiet or mindfulness without any external stimulation. Setting an alarm initially for 3 to 5 minutes can be a good way to keep you on task, knowing there is an end in sight. You can then work your way up to 10, 15, even 20 minutes as you’re able and depending on what feels good for you. 


Step 2: Get comfortable. Find a seated, cross-legged position as you’re able, ideally on the floor or cushion on the floor. Straighten your back, rest your hands on your knees (palms can be facing up your down), and try to keep your chest open and chin slightly lifted. Take a moment to become aware of your body, noting any sensations (aches, tingles, twitches, pains, itches) you may be experiencing and then shift your focus to your breath. 


Step 3: Breathe. Before paying any attention to your thoughts, start focusing on your breath. The power of deep breathing cannot be underestimated. It changes our physiology in a matter of seconds, stimulating our parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for making us feel calm and grounded. This relaxed state is what allows our minds to slow and our neural pathways to shift. Close your eyes. Start breathing in through your nose with your mouth closed for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 5 seconds, then exhale through your mouth for 6 seconds. Your stomach should expand outward while you inhale, and your chest should move very little. Repeat this breath 5-10 times, based on what feels good for you. This may feel strange or uncomfortable in the beginning because it is a deeper form of breathing than most of us have ever experienced or practiced, and is quite different from our typical shallow, more rushed breathing.   

Step 4: Meditate. This can be done with guidance or without. Generally, having some guidance including a sort of script to say aloud is a good place to start. Since forming new neural pathways requires adopting new thoughts and beliefs, these need to be the focus of the meditation. These thoughts and beliefs can look different for everyone, depending on what area of their life or being they feel needs reprogramming. Below you can find my own guided meditation; use all of it, part of it, a single word from it. The key is to find what resonates with you—maybe a passage from a book you read, something you heard someone say, a single word reflecting what you would like in your life right now. You can spend the whole meditative time thinking or speaking one word, a sentence, a few sentences, or reading through several passages. Again, the key is discovering what speaks to or resonates with you and letting that be your focus. 

Step 5: Push through. Our brains like to stay in the familiar, largely-yet again-because of our subconscious programming which tells us to resist change. Let the feelings of discomfort come and then go, breathe them in and then out, reminding yourself that growth comes from discomfort and that discomfort is an indicator that things are shifting. Don’t be discouraged, and instead remind yourself that not all good things feel good at first. As always, be gentle with yourself, honour yourself, and never forget that you have everything you need within you.

Guided Meditation:


I am living with an open heart and I am full of loving kindness. 

Everything that flows into me, flows out of me. 

Nothing is permanent. 

Thoughts come and thoughts go.

Feelings come and feelings go. 

I am not my thoughts and feeling; I am merely an observer of them. 


Everything changes.

I surrender to change. I surrender to pain. I surrender to groundlessness. 

I trust change. I trust pain. I trust groundlessness. 

I am letting go of my past, and I am moving forward.

I am letting go of my past, and I am moving forward to a new moment. 


I am in charge of my happiness, and I am responsible for my pain. 

I create my reality, and nothing has meaning unless I give it meaning. 

I choose every moment. 

I am unaffected by all that happens around me, and my centre remains untouched. 

I choose every moment. 

I am on my own path. No one is on my path, and I am not on anyone else’s path. 

I trust my path. I trust my journey. I surrender to the universe and the path it has set for me. 

I have everything I need within me. 

I am free. I am light. I am full of power. I am love. 
I am free. I am light. I am full of power. I am love. 


I am writing my own story, and my story is one of (insert what you’re wanting to focus on for yourself) . 


The universe is vast, and I am here. 

I am letting go of my past, and I am moving forward. 

I am letting go of my past, and I am moving forward to a new moment. 

I create my reality, and I choose every moment. 

I am free. I am light. I am full of power. I am love.