Admittedly of the habits I’ve been working to break, along with stepping on the scale, daily meditation has been one where I have struggled.
Of the 18 days I’ve been at it, I think I’ve done it about 10 times.
But I’m committed to not giving up. Of the many mantras I’ve had coursing through my brain these past three weeks the biggest one is “Let go.” Whatever that needs to be, I’m just trying my best to quit fixating and pummeling on every thought or experience I have. Not everything needs to be wrestled with and examined. Not everything needs a reaction, monumental or otherwise. So on the mornings I have forgotten to meditate first, or don’t feel a pull to it, I’ve just made the choice to let go and not do it. The world will spin on, I will continue on a path of self-improvement or whatever the hell it is that I’m doing here.
Not doing something perfectly every day as intended doesn’t have to mean a thing.
But here I am and I’m starting to get into it more. So much so that last night I attended the first Intro to Meditation class at my neighborhood yoga studio. The hour-long session was lovely, and included various methods/positions/mantras for meditation. I am pretty sure I fell asleep during what amounted to one my favorite restorative yoga poses, the supported backbend, but then again who knows?
There was music accompaniment, as well as some nature sounds, and it all made for a lovely experience and I’m excited to return.
At the end of the class, the instructor mentioned that meditation was about the practice of meditation, not the assumed state one is supposed to get to. It’s about acknowledging that your brain is a weird, frenetic place to be and sometimes you’re going to think things that can take hold of your focus – in this case, the breath – and the whole point is to just notice it, process it and center yourself again. And then do it again tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that.
It’s not as though I hadn’t heard this before, of course, but it clicked for me since, you know, I’m actually trying to practice meditation. Plus, I think it freed me from analyzing “How I’m Doing” with meditation and reminded me that it’s another one of those things where “Hey! Genius! Journey not destination!” is kind of the resounding, head-thunking message.
There is no medal at the end. There is no scorecard. This, of course, has been the point.
Our instructor also pointed out that she, like many people, including myself, went into meditation assuming that it would just calm her and there would be breathing and that she’d Have A Meditation Revelation. But it’s clearly not like that. I mean, I’m assuming that sometimes it is, but mostly so far it feels like a constant exercise in training myself to 1) Not react to everything that churns in my noggin and 2) Forgive myself for not being perfect.
I suppose like all exercise, the more you do it, the better you become at it. And if I can get myself to a place where I stop feeling the need to respond, and to show some more self-compassion, then a reduced amount of stress in my life is surely going to be a byproduct.
This, of course, has been the point.
I like the guided meditations, but I sort of hate sitting. This morning I played with some of what I learned last night in class and meditated in the supported backbend pose. I prefer it, even if purists wouldn’t agree. Maybe I’ll evolve, maybe I won’t.
I’m grateful to be doing what I’m doing right now, though, even if it’s just for 10-minute stretches at a time. They add up, I’d wager, and that’s good enough for me.