MEDIOCRE MEDITATOR

I am proud of being able to sit and meditate every day for twenty minutes.

It may be the biggest accomplishment of my life and people admire me for it.

People say: I can’t do it.

People also say: I meditate when I go for a run. It’s the same thing.

It’s not.

I like to go for runs. I like to do yoga. I find both activities useful on both physical and mental levels. But neither activity or anything else is a substitute for sitting in stillness.

I tell them these things and the reply is usually the same.

I’ve tried. I can’t stop my thoughts.

I fall asleep.

It’s not for me.

Fair enough. Here’s what I think these people are really saying: I’ve tried to meditate, but I’m not much good at it. I prefer to do things I can do well.

Myself, I’m a mediocre meditator. If meditation were an Olympic event, I would not be invited to participate. No one would ever pick me to be on their meditation team.

At home, I sit in a chair when I meditate. When I go to a group meditation and sit on a cushion with my back unsupported, mostly what I try not to think about is how uncomfortable I am sitting on a cushion with my back unsupported.

I try to convince myself to sign up for a meditation retreat. How disagreeable to sit in silence for hours or even days. To take a break from all my creature comforts and submit to discomfort, boredom, probably hunger sounds so unpleasant. It’s not like they’re offering a chocolate milkshake with their inner peace.

The idea of going someplace where where the participants are trying to deepen their understanding of self and increase their well-being terrifies me. It all sounds so serious and a little depressing. I suppose my resistance stems from a fear of the uncomfortable and the unknown. If I knew I could survive or even enjoy a meditation retreat, it’s possible I might sign up for one.

People might say: Stay tuned.

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