My Meditative Path

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Note: Updated in December 2018 for clarity and additional resources.

Spirit Junkie hardcover, by Gabby BernsteinI first wrote this post in 2009, before I published my memoir, Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles.

In Spirit Junkie I get real and vulnerable about my path to spirituality, including getting sober in 2005.

I share my own story along with lessons, spiritual tools and meditations to help you advance your own spiritual journey!

For more, you can order Spirit Junkie here and the accompanying guided meditation album here.

Here’s my original 2009 post, updated in 2018 for clarity and additional resources!

My name is Gabrielle and I’m a recovering over-thinker. Recovering is the operative word. For the past 14 years, I’ve worked hard to overcome my addiction to over-thinking.

Seeking serenity

I was 16 years old when I realized I was addicted to my thoughts. These thoughts were merely fearful illusions I’d created based on past experiences and uncertainty of the future. I was totally consumed by my thoughts and they often manifested into some funky behavior.

For instance, I’d control, manipulate and obsess over all situations and outcomes. I was in a perpetual state of fear, which affected every area of my life. My mind would fixate on what would happen when I went to college to wishing I hadn’t’ eaten so much. Eventually, these thoughts led to a severe anxiety disorder with no recourse.

Seeking serenity, I turned to my mother for help.When you loosen your grip and let spirit lead the way, your life will become a happy dream | Judgment Detox | Gabrielle Bernstein
In true hippie-mom style, she lit some incense and sat my ass down on a meditation pillow. At the time my mother was a devotee of Gurumayi, the head of the Siddha Yoga lineage. The Siddha Yoga community uses the mantra (a mantra is a word or group of words that guide you to a single pointed focus) Soham, meaning “I am that” in Sanskrit.

My mother proceeded to teach me how to use this mantra while connecting to my breath.This mantra meant nothing to me at the time, but I was willing to try anything to calm my incessant thoughts.

I followed my mother’s lead, refocusing my mind by breathing in “Sooooooo” and breathing out the “Hummmm.” She suggested I use this mantra throughout the day, whenever I felt my pangs of anxiety kick in. Each time I’d turn to this mantra, my mind would soften more and more. To my surprise, meditation worked.

Finding my ~ing

A few weeks into my meditation practice, I decided to take a weekend trip to the beach with some friends. In the middle of dinner, I noticed my fearful panic set in. So, I excused myself from the table and I went upstairs to meditate. I sat in the guest room of some random friends beach house repeating my mantra.

“Soooo – Hummmm– Soooo – Hummmm– Soooo – Hummmm.”

Within minutes, my energy shifted. My fear began to subside and my mind calmed. As the meditation continued, my extremities began to tingle. I became overwhelmed with a feeling of joy and peace as if I was wrapped in a blanket of love. This was my first encounter with my ~ing or inner guide.

My energy creates my reality. What I focus on is what I will manifest | Gabby Bernstein | The Universe Has Your Back card deckI spent the next nine years searching for this same experience. I dipped in and out of my meditation practice, typically returning to it upon hitting a bottom of some kind.

For instance, when I’d be coming down from drugs or while going through a breakup I’d then turn to my practice for some serenity and pick up my meditation tools for a day or so and feel better right away. As soon as serenity settled in, I’d be off to the races reverting back to my old fearful thinking and controlling behavior.

Surrendering to love

I spent several years stuck in this cycle of pseudo-spirituality. This apathetic approach to my well-being dragged me to my knees time and time again. Then I hit a big-time bottom. My astrologer called it my “Saturn Return.” I called it an existential crisis!

It seemed as though the universe were a tennis ball machine blasting me with assignments. The assignments came in the form of overcoming romantic illusions, shifting careers and embracing a life of sobriety.

In the past, I’d have coped with these assignments with drugs, alcohol, a new relationship, or overworking. None of these “remedies” ever worked.

I finally surrendered to the fact that my outside chase for serenity was a dead end and something had to change. So I turned my search for happiness inward. I called on my memory of meditating in some random friends beach house at the age of 16.

I remembered how it felt to relinquish my fearful illusions and surrender to the loving energy that surrounded me.

My recollection of this time was so vivid that it propelled my desire to know more. Thus, it was time to surrender to a full-blown, rocked out, no-joke meditation practice.

Manifesting a practice

I set up a meditation shrine, hit the pillow on a daily basis and was determined to do it right this time. I read all kinds of books on meditation, listened to audio meditations, attended workshops, lectures and found a meditation coach.

And to top off, I picked up the self-study metaphysical thought system A Course in Miracles and embarked on a 365-day meditative transformation.

Oddly, I felt grateful for the discomfort I’d experienced throughout my life because it had led me to surrender to a committed meditation practice. My willingness to change helped jump start this shift, but the initial steps were not that easy.

I Surrender To a Power Greater Than Me | Gabby Bernstein | The Universe Has Your Back card deckIt was very difficult for me to sit through my chaotic thoughts and emotional discomfort. Yet, during each meditation I’d experience fleeting moments of peace, which kept me coming back to my pillow to receive more. Each day my meditations lasted longer and grew deeper.

Some days, I’d turn on music, like Helios or Sigur Ros, and I’d meditate through an entire album. As my practice strengthened, it became effortless for me to enter into a calm state and release my thoughts.

The result was that my practice had guided me to quiet my beta brainwaves (associated with active thinking, speaking, and analyzing) and amp up my Alpha brainwaves, which led me into a pleasant, relaxed wakeful state of awareness.

In addition, my practice had opened up my right brain, which is where we access our creative capacities. With this creative side of my brain pumping, my ~ing could do her thing creating images, igniting inspired ideas and healing my past wounds.

Attract what you want with my free meditation!

Attract Everything You Want | Gabby Bernstein

I’m making it really easy to meditate with my FREE guided meditations! All you have to do is sit comfortably, press play and listen to my guidance.

Even if you’ve struggled to meditate in the past, you’ll find it easy and relaxing to follow my guided meditations.

Get instant access now.

I choose love

Today, my practice continues to intensify. Whenever I meditate, my ~ing (inner guide) leads me on imaginative journeys into my subconscious. At times, I get extremely emotional. Whereas other times, I feel so rested that I fall into a deep sleep.

As a result of my dedication to my meditation practice, I have discovered the key to serenity that will get me through anything in life. I now can reconnect to my own energy and the energy of the Universe the moment I shut my eyes. Above all, I’ve accessed the key to happiness and I am psyched to share it with you.

So like they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, “If you want what I have, do what I do.”

Begin your meditation practice today:

Breathe in: I am willing to change

Breath out: I release my fear.

Recite this mantra throughout the day and expect miracles.

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