Meditate-Anon (Part 1)
Vedic meditation, while life-changing for meditators, can sometimes be a drag for the partners (and family members, friends, and colleagues) of meditators. They may feel left out, left behind, jealous of the time spent meditating (I’ve been told by a partner that it felt like meditation was the 3rd person in our relationship), threatened that we will evolve past wanting (or needing) them, and more. 20 minutes twice a day ends up seeming like a LOT to people who aren't practicing. ‘Wow, she’s a meditator, how cool’ turns into ‘why can’t she just miss one meditation? What’s the big deal?’. It can happen pretty quickly, if we aren’t careful, and it may end up being costly to the relationship. We don’t want our partners to feel like they need to start a chapter of Meditate-Anon, a support group for partners of meditators!
In these next two blog posts, I’ve outlined what each of us, meditators and non-meditators alike, can do to put our partners at ease.
For the meditator:
1. First off, meet your obligations. There are other people in your life who are counting on you. No one wants to hear ‘I can’t go to Johnny’s kindergarten graduation because I have to meditate’.
2. Remember that noise is no barrier to meditation. We can meditate anywhere, as long as we are able to have a thought (i.e. our mantra). So, when our roommate/partner/family member comes into the room where we are meditating, turns on the TV, cracks open a can of coke and pours it lusciously over ice, the noises may sound deafening. IGNORE THE SOUNDS. Let them serve as an opportunity to help you turn inward. Don’t huff and puff and get all mad. That breeds resentment on both sides.
3. Don’t proselytize. We want people close to us to want to meditate. But if we shove it in their faces all the time, it’s a huge turnoff. Let people get curious about why we seem so much more balanced and less stressed.
4. When you and your partner are connecting nicely, share with them how much the meditation helps you be a better parent/partner/human, and the importance of practicing consistently. Help them see how it benefits them. But do this from the heart, not from a place of anger. It may help them understand how the 20 minutes of ‘missed time together’ is wayyyyy worth it long-term.
5. Don’t just disappear in the middle of something without any warning. For those times when you will be with your partner pretty much full-time (such as vacations), it can be helpful to plan ahead. Ask your partner/friend when it will be easiest for them for you to slip off for 20 minutes. Involve them as much as possible.
6. All this being said, remember that you DESERVE this practice and the countless benefits it brings, you paid a lot for it, and you have every right to want a happier, more fulfilled, healthier life for yourself. You should never have to feel ashamed of your practice, or what it does for you. Nor should you stop doing it, just to make your partner happy.
Partners (and colleagues, friends and family members) of meditators: don't worry- I haven't forgotten about you! Read my next post to hear more about how meditation can make your relationship grow stronger!