What Happens When You Stop Meditating

By Whitney Diamond

I’ve had a meditation practice for almost four years, I have brought dozens of friends and family and straight up strangers to this practice. I believe it in fiercely, but several months ago I just did. not. want. to. do. it. I didn’t feel like doing it in the afternoon, I didn’t feel like doing it in the morning, I didn’t feel like doing it with friends or my sister or totally alone. So I didn’t!

You know the story, right? You meditate, your life gets better, and you get busy. You get busy making all this money at this new job you love, you get busy going on dates, suddenly feeling as googly-eyed as the teenager you once were, you get busy working on that manuscript that had been in your desk drawer for 3 years.

You get so busy that you think there is no way in hell that skipping one (or several) 20 minute meditation session could possibly affect any of your newfound bliss.

And, love, I would tell you that I thought all of those things too! But now I’m going to tell you that we are wrong. Ohhhhhh we are so, so wrong.

The first time I skipped multiple meditations in a week, I:

-Felt the familiar burn of acid reflux I had forgotten I ever had
-Had trouble sleeping for the the first time in recent memory
Ordered more seamless than I cooked at home
Online shopped like it was my job for things I did not need
-Experienced digestive problems to the point I was convinced I was suddenly lactose intolerant

And I have to tell you friends- these things happened quickly. I couldn’t believe it! “Could this ALL be because I’m not meditating?” I thought. It was like my body didn’t care that I had treated it to twice-daily meditation for three years (btw, WTF body? NO GRACE PERIOD? kidding.)

And it’s not just me! I was talking with a zivaGRAD last week who was telling me:

“Before I started meditating, every single thing I ate, the very first bite of food would immediately come back up, as if my body was rejecting it. Then I would be able to continue to eat my meal. Once I began my practice this started to slowly melt away, to the point that one day I guess I forgot it was ever an issue. Until I spent a few weeks without meditating, and suddenly: it was back. One bite at breakfast, vomit. One bite at lunch, vomit. One bite at dinner, vomit. How did I ever live with this??”

And we have dozens of stories like this. Your body is a perfect accountant. It knows. It knows when you stay up late even if you chug coffee and put on tons of concealer. It knows when you eat ice cream even if you were holding a lactaid pill with every intention of taking it before getting distracted. It knows that you didn’t floss for six months, even though the samples from your dentist sit in your medicine cabinet. And it knows when you stop meditating.

The good news is, you can start again. You can start again right now. My first recommendation is to remember my favorite golden rules of Ziva Meditation:

1. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good
2. Some meditation is better than no meditation

Then, take stock of your life as it is with once-a-day or none-a-day meditations. Get really honest with yourself- how are you feeling? Does anything seem off? Believe me, this will motivate you like nothing else will. And then? Back to basics. Don’t even pick up your cell phone before your morning meditation, and schedule in your second. Get some medi accountability, someone to text every time you complete a session and have them do the same. But most importantly of all- you just. Have. to. Do. it. No one can meditate for you. Get in the chair, close your eyes, and remember that what we do is, we don’t do much.

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