Liz’s experience of Chan meditation since 2016. How it changed her life and people around her (overcoming depression)
My name is Lizbeth, I'm 38 years old, and I'm Native American from the Yaqui tribe. My mother was born in Sacramento and she's Yaqui and Norwegian and my father is a US citizen born in Mexico, he's descended from Spanish and Huichol (an Indigenous tribe native). He and my mom separated when I was a child. I have a 16 year old son named Takoda and he meditates too.
The difficulties I was trying to overcome, initially, was depression. At that time I was going through a divorce. My mom has bipolar depression and my little sister is handicapped and she was trying to fight us all the time and I take care of both of them. My son is a kind and understanding person but even he was being affected by all that was going on and he was getting lower grades in school. His teachers praised his good manners they just wished he applied himself more to his studies. I was having great difficulties with getting my thoughts and emotional reactions under control. I would cry when I was alone in my car. I didn't like being short tempered and sometimes I was not sleeping (insomnia) or sleeping too much, taking too many naps and feeling fatigue. I had a knee injury and and low back pain. I was overall unhappy with my life.
I started Chan meditation in 2016. I was walking in the park with my son and saw someone was putting a sign, ‘Chan Meditation in the Park’. I asked how much she would charge for the class. She said “it’s free.”. That’s how everything started!
At first, when I began sitting in full lotus and meditating on Amituofo, I felt the healing in my body. My knee healed up quickly and my lower back didn't hurt as much. A few months later I was sitting for an hour, daily, and I was feeling well rested. Soon my insomnia was gone and I was getting a full night’s sleep. I also didn't need as much sleep to feel well rested. Little by little I began to notice my thoughts were more focused and I wasn't angry or depressed, I was able to think clearly. I no longer react quickly in response to other people’s actions. I'm more patient and tolerant of everyone including myself. My little sister is calmer around me and is easily made peaceful. She doesn't try to fight with me anymore. My mom's bipolar depression isn't as bad as it used to be and she's more open to taking advice from me about her own health. Even my son’s grades in school have improved. I'm more supportive of him and he started meditating too.
My spirituality comes from Native American Traditions. It's not a religion but a way of life. It's very inclusive and tolerant of other people’s faith. I relate many of the spiritual leaders from the past as Holy men and women who were born to teach us something and it is up to us to pick up those teachings and utilize them or not. I choose to utilize Chan as part of my self-care and actually helps me improve the way I take care of others.
Chan mediation helped me improve on so many levels but if I were to choose one thing that it helped me the most with, it would be, with my mind, and the ability to organize my thoughts. I no longer feel so scattered about my choices and decisions. I enrolled in college and got accepted into the Honors Program. I no longer worry about living up to other people’s expectations of me. I see clearly where I've wasted so much time on worrying about things that will most likely never happen. And I'm enjoying life's precious moments on a deeper level than before.