The wrong impression
Meditation makes me think of monks sitting far away in a monastery in the mountains. They sit with hands in lap, cross-legged on the floor. With closed eyes, they murmur, “Om,” over and over again, dragging it out.
Seriously, I thought that if I could achieve this moment with myself, I would discover some deep secret to life that is hidden to anyone that doesn’t go through this journey of meditation.
In the past, I’ve tried meditating like I imagine the monks would. I sit cross-legged on the floor and close my eyes. My back starts to ache as I try to focus on my breath. I think of all the other things I should be doing and reprimand myself for even thinking about those other things. “Live in the moment, Annah,” I tell myself over and over again. As you can already see how this is going, I walk away from each experience feeling that I have missed something. That big secret of the cosmos is still a secret.
I remember being frustrated with this result and actually typing in YouTube, “Learning to meditate from monks,” or something like that.
I came across this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOJTbWC-ULc
Boy was I wrong about everything.
What is meditation then?
Meditation is so much simpler than I had originally thought. In the video, he mentioned that meditation can be anywhere, anytime. I didn’t have to be in my bed room sitting in an uncomfortable position. I could be on a walk or in my hammock.
Meditation isn’t about thinking of nothing except your breathing. Yes, breath is important. It’s one thing that connects you to the present. As you breathe in and out you don’t think of a past breath you’ve had or one you’ll have soon. You think about the breath at that moment.
As your mind wanders, gently nudge it back to the present and your breath. Don’t get upset. Just breathe and let it go.
With this version of meditation in mind, now you can meditate anywhere, anytime. As you are running errands, walking, cooking, anything.
I use this when I’m running about my day too fast. Sometimes, I move from one errand to another and never take a breath. Meditation has helped to ground me as I’m flying around everywhere. I’ll start by just pausing. No radio on, no moving. I make myself just sit. I’ll breathe in and notice the beauty around me. Sometimes, I’ll even step outside because it’s so easy to see the beauty in nature. I latch onto that beauty and breathe in and out. My thoughts may continue racing, but that’s okay. I’m in the moment.
Right now, as I write this, I’m sitting on my deck on a beautiful summer day. For my meditation here, I focus on the breeze moving through the trees. I don’t think about whether I’ll get this blog post written before running off to the next thing. I just write. When I start worrying, I focus back on the breeze moving through the trees.
My refined impression
Using this “new” version of meditation, I can see what the hype is all about. I find that my worry disappears because I’m not constantly thinking about the future or the past. I’m in the present, and suddenly, it seems like everything will work out. Worry isn’t overwhelming me at all times anymore, and I’m learning to love the simple beauties of life.
Sounds cliche, right? Something that wouldn’t work for you?
I promise you, it can.
Take a moment right now. Pause from your workday, errands, etc. and take a moment to breathe. Breathe in and out. When your mind wanders let it, but lead it gently back to the breath. If this is really hard for you, find a simple beauty. Maybe a plant on your desk, the sunshine through the window, or the fact that you are alive on the planet right now. Smile a little. Life is good.
Practice meditation every day, whenever you can. I especially love to do this when I start to worry. Before becoming overwhelmed, take a breath first. Then look for the beauty of your life.
Love as always,