Monday, January 18, 2016

Meditation Monday: Your Authentic Self

By Nancy Hall, MA, NCC, LPC
In an effort to take the “manic” out of “Monday,” this weekly post explores techniques, issues, latest research, and other thoughts on meditation. Nancy facilitates a weekly meditation group at The Awakening Center. For more information, contact her at 773.929.6262, extension 17 or

In helping clients find their core, inner wisdom, we often start by taking an inventory of their values. What matters to them? How do they define “right” and “wrong”? In listening for the answers, some discover their values do not align with their parents’ or upbringing. This can be disconcerting but at the same time freeing.

Meditation allows you to reflect upon whether what you’ve been told you think, feel, or believe actually meshes with your true self. By quieting the chatter in your mind, you can begin to connect more fully with what you know to be true about yourself.

Many who struggle with eating disorders grew up in or currently live in invalidating environments. If you feel that there is something deeply wrong with you, then to fit in—or remain part of the pack—you might try to change yourself. Or, to cope with the shame, you might seek numbing or distracting behaviors.

The road out of that suffering, is to learn to validate yourself. And to validate yourself, you have to know yourself. And to know yourself, you have to listen to what your inner wisdom tells you about how you think or feel or what you believe.

A helpful visualization is to imagine you’re standing in an open room and that all of the masks you wear or defenses you carry are stripped away one by one. Who is left standing? What does that person value? What is that person like?

You might begin by being an outside observer of yourself. With compassion and curiosity, see if you can notice what motivates you? What inspires you? Then, invite yourself to step into this person—what does it feel like to be present without the masks? What does it feel like to embody your values?

You might not feel safe taking this embodiment out into the real world, but using meditation to get to know your true inner self will move your journey forward.

Enjoy your practice.