This is one of those things that you don’t realize the benefit until you stop. But I can’t meditate. Oh, I can’t just sit still. My mind just wanders. That’s too hard. It doesn’t work for me.
These had been my mental responses when meditation comes up, either in my feed, or my thoughts, or anywhere in my awareness. With the exception of my most favorite part of a yoga class, savasana*, meditation had been something foreign to me for most of my life. Until it wasn’t.
Committing to myself to meditate daily for 20 minutes was just one of the lifelines that I threw out there in my search for peace. I set a reminder on my phone to meditate, and I was off. I started strong, taking time each morning while the house was quiet to sit with my eyes closed and a timer. Sometimes using a guided meditation, sometimes music, sometimes nothing. And at first, I was right. I couldn’t sit still. I fidgeted and shifted, trying to find a comfortable position, especially as my legs fell asleep or I discovered the irritation of that tag on my shirt. My mind wandered. I would catch myself lost in a rabbit hole of memory or plans for the day or imaginary conversations. It’s too hard. Countless times I was sure I had forgotten to set my 20 minute alarm and maybe an hour had passed only to peek at my phone and find it had only been 7 minutes. It doesn’t work for me. Ok, I checked it off my task list, now I’m 20 minutes behind and I better rush to get ready and pack lunches and get showered. What’s the point?
But something happened. Something that was so subtle and almost intangible. I didn’t notice at first. I became more calm. I started to notice during the day when I was in my rabbit hole. I had more patience, and a different perspective on the life stuff that came my way. The practice, the trying, the act of sitting and “meditating”, though I didn’t think I was doing it right, was working.
But this week I skipped. I forgot, I got busy, I thought I didn’t need it anymore, and I skipped. One day, two days, three days…and I started feeling an undefinable angst. An underlying familiar discomfort, a fear, a desire to control. Tears welled up more than once. It took until day 4 for me to realize that I had stopped meditating. In a weepy rant to my husband that ended with “I don’t know what’s wrong with me” the answer came in a flash. I need to meditate. So I did. And it worked. Peace is again within reach. xoxox
*Savasana, aptly also known as corpse pose, is the part at the end of a class where you lay flat on your back with your eyes closed and it’s quiet.