So, I’ve been trying to meditate every morning for ten minutes. I wake up, wipe the sleep from my eyes, throw a pillow onto the floor, and crawl onto it. Then I set a timer on my phone, close my eyes, and do my very, very best to breathe slowly in and out and “clear my mind” until the buzzer goes off telling me that I can stop.
One wouldn’t think that it would be hard. It’s only ten minutes. It’s only sitting on a pillow and breathing. You literally don’t have to do anything or think about anything else. In fact, that’s the whole point.
But it is SO HARD. It is so hard to not check the timer, to not fidget so that I’m “perfectly” comfortable on the pillow, to not want to get up and get on with the To Do list running through my head, to not think about a million different things. This morning, I thought that I’d try a chant, so that if I had to be thinking, at least it was focused on one word. The result of this was pretty much me saying, “Om, om, om, om, om” over and over and over again because, apparently, “om” is the ONLY WORD I could think of to use as a chant. After that, I tried repeating, “Calm, calm, calm, calm” as I breathed in and “Stress, stress, stress, stress” as I breathed out, to represent the breathing in of good energy and the releasing of bad. This sort of worked. By the time I had 2.5 minutes left – I know because I peeked at the timer – I was finally starting to relax into it. But then I realized that I was almost finished, so I just started thinking, “Okay, almost there, just keep breathing!” which sort of defeats the whole purpose. One is not supposed to rush through meditation.
But I persevere. I make myself do it first thing in the morning – before I have breakfast or even wash my face – because it’s pretty much the only way to guarantee that I will actually do it. See, for years, I’ve been one of those super hypocritical people that openly and excitedly touts the benefits of meditation without actually practicing it. Meditation is – like eating vegetables, walking, and not drinking soda – one of those super obvious and super simple things that we all know would be good for us, but we just can’t quite fit into our lives. “Oh yeah, I should totally do that,” I think every time I read or hear about someone else having the discipline to sit and not think for a little bit of time each day. “Surely I can find time to fit in ten minutes somewhere.”
I know that it gets easier and probably more beneficial with practice. I know that it is good for me. And I know that some of you right now are half-laughing, half-thinking, Man, she’s really gone all crunchy hippie in California, huh? And yeah, I know. Meditation is also one of those things that Other People do, but that you don’t do because you are too busy/mainstream/trendy/sane/unable to have the patience to sit still that long without touching your iPhone. I get it. I’m one of you, too.
But I’ve also gotten to a place where I can no longer deny that I am not always living the way that I want to be, that my anxiety and my fear and my laziness get the best of me more than I want them to. I see the life that I want right in front of me, as though I can practically touch it, but I don’t. Because I’d rather skim through Facebook one more time, or zone out watching Curb Your Enthusiasm, or eat another cookie.
I’m ready to start practicing what I preach. I’m ready to start living the life that I know is good and healthy and the way I want to live instead of just talking about living the life that I know is good and healthy and the way I want to live. And with that desire comes the motivation to sit my butt on the pillow, close my eyes, and “om” to myself for ten minutes each morning.
Go team. 😎