Meditation: EEK! or OM?

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I SUCK at meditation.  Seriously.  I always have.  My brain just doesn’t work that way.  When I close my eyes, it’s either to sleep or to plan better, not to find peace.  And even when I TRY to meditate, it usually doesn’t work out so well.  That has actually been a benefit to hooping for me – by moving my body, I can clear my mind for a bit.  So imagine my surprise when I realized the other day that I had a, well, what do you even call it?  A space in my mind that’s completely peaceful?  Is that even possible for me?

It started simply enough: I read something somewhere that if we take a few minutes each morning without any distractions, we can be more productive.  The article actually suggested meditation, but since I’m rotten at meditation, I figured a few minutes in bed before reading the news, before checking messages or email, before my coffee or tea would suffice.  So I’ve been doing that for about 9 months now.  Our cat Mari owns our bed; she caught on quickly and she helps – she will sit on my stomach and purr and insist that I scratch her face while I’m lying there in bed.  The rhythm of my breathing and the purring and scratching her face definitely made me more peaceful, and after a few weeks of this routine, I found myself…kind of…drifting.  Sometimes I would daydream or go over my day in my head, but every once in awhile, I would just … be.  Not asleep, but not awake, there on the bed in my home, but not feeling THAT so much as… being HERE, at home in my mind.  Huh.  So that’s what they meant.

Anyway, it worked.  On the days I would be able to get to that space, and back, I would get a lot done.  Even if I couldn’t quite let go, I would still start my day feeling kind of peaceful, so I kept doing it.  I didn’t really think much of it until one night, a few weeks ago, I had trouble falling asleep.  It was the typical thing: I just couldn’t shut my brain off.  For some reason, I decided to see if I could find that peaceful place from my mornings.  I closed my eyes, and I noticed something familiar: there is a specific thing I see when I reach that place in the mornings – it’s kind of an amorphous curtain of dots for me, but I’m sure someone experienced in these things could describe it better.  Anyway, on that night, I found my amorphous-dot-curtain.  I only stayed awake long enough to connect what I was seeing to my morning routine, and then I fell asleep and slept like a baby all night.

Over the past couple of weeks, with some work, I’ve been able to consciously find the amorphous-dot-curtain and use it to slow down my mind whenever I need it.  I’m not successful all the time, and I certainly can’t stay in that state for very long before my conscious mind (or my phone, or the dog) brings me back, but whoa! I friggin learned how to meditate!  Workaholic, Anxious, Emotional Me can get inner peace, on command, for, like, 30 entire seconds at a time!

So believe me when I tell you: You CAN do this thing, and it really, really, REALLY helps.  Here is how:

1)      Commit to 5 minutes a day.  I like the morning because I wake up really slowly, so this kind of helps that transition for me.  I set my alarm on my phone with a really unobtrusive sound just in case I fall asleep.  But if you need a wind-down routine, try it at night when you get into bed.  That way if you fall asleep, you’re already right there!

2)      Allow yourself to feel stupid or silly, lying there with your eyes closed.  It’s pretty silly and useless by most of our standards, and that’s okay.  It’s going to feel silly for awhile, just lying there awake with your eyes closed.  You can use music if you want.  I personally can’t because of my musical and audio training… focus TOO much on the music and the sound.  But if you do, it should be dreamy.  Whatever that means to you.

4)      This one is pretty standard: focus on your breathing and/or senses as they take in information, but don’t give any of it meaning I live in an old, noisy apartment in a busy suburban area, so the creaks and groans of the building, the upstairs neighbors, the traffic outside are all just a part of it.  I try to let myself hear them but not imagine what they are connected to.  They’re just sounds.

5)      Don’t try to accomplish anything.  Whatever your brain is going to do, it will do.  Just try to allow the thoughts, visions, sounds, feelings to come into your head without thinking about what they mean.

6)      Do it every day.  More importantly, if you skip a day, don’t sweat it – it’s not like a diet or anything.  Think of it more like a hobby – a diversion that’s just for your brain!  But, ya know, the more consistent you are, the easier it is.

7)      That’s it.  Just try it!  What happens for you probably won’t be what happens for me, so there’s no goal and no expectation.

If you already meditate and you have some more suggestions, email me or leave your comments on Facebook.  If you learn anything from my suggestions, and you feel like you want to share, I would love to hear from you!

 

Posted on Monday, February 3, 2014 16:40