Trying Meditation – again
” I tried meditation as a teenager; it didn’t help.”
So why are you reading this post? Meditation didn’t help? But you’re reading this. Am I right in thinking you’re still interested? Ask yourself these questions.
What did you expect?
To drive a car the first time you sat in the driver’s seat. Playing a saxophone began when you picked it up. Joining the England football squad started with kicking a ball around the local park. Meditating began because you could sit cross-legged or someone told you how to do it, once. Doing something once and giving up because we expect to instantly become an expert isn’t how life is. If we are honest we know that. All skills need to be learnt from the bottom up and then honed and worked at until we are able to experience how they really work.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a skill. Like running, riding a bike, swimming, doing maths. It’s frustrating. Do you remember learning to ride a bike? Using stabilisers, all those times with a steadying hand on the saddle or your back before you were ready for the solo run? Driving a car? Nothing happened quickly enough and you came close to giving up.We start by sitting for short periods, learning how the brain works when we sit still – trying to get us to keep on doing what we do – thinking, continuously. Then slowly we learn that thoughts are just thoughts and the space between them grows longer as we get the message of stillness. We learn to stay awake, instead of falling into day-dreaming or actual sleep – well most of the time anyway.
Did you spend time training your brain?
Meditation is training the brain, finding our way around, understanding how thoughts work, what to do about all those interruptions as we sit, finding out what helps us, becoming familiar with our bodies and brains in a way we haven’t since kindergarten because we’ve been too busy following everyone else and ‘doing’ stuff..
Was the timing right?
Timing is all. You wouldn’t decide to learn snowboarding with your leg in plaster from a skiing accident – the timings a bit off. You might need to re-think and plan how and when. Like all skills, it’s something you can come back to and this time the experience may be quite different. Slot in a special time, a time that’s for you to meditate. If you need to turn off the phone. I don’t recommend dropping it into a glass of water, just using the silent mode will do. Shut the door, hang up a notice that says something polite like ‘Do not Disturb’. Set aside whatever task you’re doing, you can choose to come back to it later. Then sit quietly, comfortably. cross-legged if you can, on a chair or even lying down if that’s more comfortable and sit, still, for 2 minutes – 10 minutes, whatever you can manage and experience being with yourself.
Asking the question
So was this about right? Did the results you expected from meditation disappoint you? Be encouraged, meditation is a skill for life, the results of doing it, most days (even the best don’t always manage every day) are what it’s about. Day by day, moment by moment. Expecting nothing but experiencing whatever is there.
Begin simply by setting aside 10 minutes to meditate, It is enough.
If you find that you really don’t get on with meditation then consider that daily activity, washing dishes, working out in the gym, knitting, reading, walking the dog can all be turned into meditation by bringing awareness to the activity, to what you are doing in this moment, at this point in your life and be grateful that you are able to do those things and know you are doing them.