Meditation: Can this head case make head space?
At the end of April 2015, I was invited to a guided meditation event. Prior to the evening, I knew very little about meditation but increasingly it seemed like everyone I knew was talking about it and starting their own daily practices. That meditation was capturing the minds (sorry I couldn’t help it) of so many people I knew, all of whom were so different from each other, furthered my curiosity. I assumed this event would be the thing that pushed me into the meditation zone and henceforward I would begin each morning in a state of total Zen. Spoiler: This did NOT happen.
I didn’t dislike the evening, but I certainly wasn’t hooked. The more I tried to sit still and open my mind, the more I felt myself fidgeting and my mind started racing. About half-way through, my foot fell asleep and I didn’t know if I should try to stomp it awake or let it be. I felt like a total newbie and completely out of my element. Didn’t I sign up for something that was supposed to make me feel calm and centered? Just before the program ended, we did an exercise where you look into a stranger’s eyes for a few minutes. As if this wasn’t already awkward enough, my contacts fogged up, prompting a fit of blinking/tearing up. Admit it, you wish you were this cool :)
Not wanting to give up in my quest to be more mindful, I decided to try the app Head Space. I know many friends who use it and have read that it’s a good introduction to meditation. Shortly after beginning the first session I put my phone down, turned off the sound, and turned on the TV. A+ to this girl. The next day I deleted the app and unsubscribed from the company’s emails. Since then, I’ve continued to feel weirdly guilty about my inability to meditate. This past week I tried a short guided meditation session on Biet Simkin’s website (she led the aforementioned guided meditation event). I made it maybe one minute. However, what Biet said in that minute about the practice of meditation turned out to be just the self check-in I needed. I was reminded that for me, a sense of calm comes from taking a walk, sitting in a park, and looking out at the water or up at the night sky. I am very in-tune with my body and can feel when my anxiety levels start to rise or something is out of whack. In those moments I stop myself and ask, “What’s bothering you?” Even if I can’t pinpoint it, these pauses help. Could I be more self-aware and make the time to do this more regularly rather when something is already giving my subconscious grief? Of course. But I realized that perhaps my attempts at meditation had been fruitless because I have been meditating, albeit in my own way, all along. Three cheers for Leahtation (Lee-uh-tay-shun).
So what if upon waking up I check my email, go on Instagram, and then sign into Facebook. I like starting my day knowing what’s on deck (email), seeing what people have been up to and reading funny and/or inspiring quotes (Instagram), and finding out whose birthday it is (Facebook), and there’s nothing wrong with that. Minds come in as many varieties as there are people; why should mindfulness be any different?
Do you meditate or have some other mindfulness techniques? Am I the only one who isn't all about the traditional meditation?