I had meditated maybe a dozen times when I went from flirting with meditation to a committed relationship. Logically, I was rushing in too fast. I shouldn’t be committing to an entire year of practicing a new skill every single day when I was a green neophyte.
But I kept seeing all these meditation success stories about people like Kim Thai not losing their shit, coupled with people I know from other facets of my life coming out of the woodwork and saying: Yup, that’s totally how it works for me, too.
I’d signed up for dating apps with less convincing testimonials, so — what the hell — why not try?
Why does everything in life these days come down to core muscle strength?
By day fifteen of continuous daily practice — this was May 3, if you’re keeping track — my first observation wasn’t so much on how the practice affected my life but on how posture affected the practice.
Sitting without a headrest is best for me. When I have to encourage muscle in my core to keep a posture, it’s easier for me to focus my mind. How wondrously odd is that?
I am constantly feeling that way in this practice: Like I am picking up slightly pockmarked stones, turning them over, and what I find underneath sparks the wholehearted, delighted thought, how wondrously odd.
The thought never ends with an exclamation point or a question mark; it is only punctuated with awe.
The oiled piglet problem
Frequently, I fight for concentration while meditating. It slips out of my hands — not like sand gently streaming away, but like an oiled piglet that just wiggles out and is gone, carried by fast little legs and a desire to cavort in mud and whatnot.
Not that I have firsthand experience with piglets save for in children’s literature. But it seems an apt description.
My audio guide urges me to simply “note” when this happens and gently nudge the mind back to the exercise without shame or judgment. I’ve been making a lot of shame-free notes.
Some days I walk away from meditation feeling (almost) like a new person
Like the recipient of an emotion transfusion. Like my stress level has been run through a Brita filter: I’m not completely free of contaminants, but I’ve been reduced down to a very reasonable number of PPM. Like a cat who’s not concerned where her next scoop of kibble will come from.
I started meditating mid-day. On my lunch break, I’d drive to someplace nearby that I found soothing, and then sit in the car and meditate for five or ten minutes. I walked back into the office having had my emotion transfusion and I’d be okay for the rest of the day. I was ready to deal with the next four hours of phone calls that I didn’t really want to pick up and to answer the emails that made me want to give my inbox the finger.
At the end of those days, I’d leave feeling worn, but not worn completely through.
Periodically, I’ll be posting updates, observations, and reflections on this journey through my “Meditation 365” experiment. I’m fascinated to find out what consistent meditation will or won’t do for me, if/how it will improve my mind and if those changes are long-term or short-term, if they’re most prevalent immediately after meditation or if mediation really can help you deal with stressful situations even when you’re not immediately engaged in a meditation like the examples from the people mentioned up top .
More observations coming shortly; I’ll be posting Day 30 observations soon. Meanwhile, here’s Day Zero’s observations — I Could Use Some Deep Breathing. I needed something to help me not sink my teeth into the next person who sent me a stupid email . . . so I tried guided meditation.