Emily had gone to sleep under her pile of brightly colored blankets, and I crept out of the room. Out to the living room I plodded, down on the couch I curled, and a-channel-surfing-I-did-go.
This is my nightly routine. I crash on the couch and flick on the TV or work on my blog until my hubs comes out from putting down the boy, and we watch something together on Netflix.
I found an episode of Will and Grace in syndication and settled in. But I felt agitated and bored.
Why am I watching this? I wondered.
I picked up my phone.
Put it back down. Picked it up again. I notice the app I purchased called Insight Timer. I had yet to open it.
Well, I could sit up and meditate for a bit, I thought.
I turned the TV off and sat up with my legs crossed in front of me. I fired up the Insight Timer app. It prompted me to chose a timer duration for my meditation session.
I set it for three minutes.
Let’s start small. I don’t want to set it for like ten minutes and fail at sitting because I couldn’t sit for that long, I thought.
Here’s the thing– while I know I should be meditating, it is really, really, freaking, super, stupid hard for me to do. I don’t like it and I’m not great at it, not to mention I almost never have the proper time to devote to a meditation practice. But since I’ve started this blog, and have been more focused on mindfulness, and have been reading Pema Chodron, and have been learning about other people’s successes with meditation, well, I figure I should try.
Here we go, I thought, pressing the “start” button. A beautiful bell rang out and reverberated for 20 or so seconds. I tuned into my breath, followed it in and out.
This isn’t so bad! Maybe I’ll write something about it for my blog. . . oops, you’re thinking. That’s what Pema Chodron says to do when you get distracted during meditation. Label it as “thinking” and go back to your breath.
In-breath. Out-breath. In-breath. Out-breath.
Why was I watching Will and Grace anyway? It’s not like I really care about that show. Now if it had been a re-run of Grey’s Anatomy. . .
TV is so addictive. . . toys on the floor. . . maybe I’ll heat up the herb pack for my lower back; it’s kind of sore. . . when was the last time I wiped the microwave? Is it weird I would rather throw away a major appliance than sponge it down? I could go for some tea.
Ooooh, look! There’s Mt. Everest. It is so blue and frozen. It makes me feel so remote to look at, kind of like I’m drifting. Speaking of drifting, I feel so far apart from my family. Holidays are like that, I guess, bringing out the difficult stuff. Feelings. . . Oh, yeah, I don’t have to think about feelings right now. I’m meditating. Thinking. Thinking. Go back to the breath. Breath. . .
In. . . breath. . . Out. . . breath. . . soft and focused, searching for that little gap after the out breath when there is nothing at all to do.
And the bell rang again. My three minutes were up.
What I liked about the experience was the quieting of my mind. I often use TV or Candy Crush to “zone out,” or numb myself. I am aware those are not entirely helpful and rather than being with myself, I am trying to avoid myself by engaging in those activities. Not all the time; sometimes I play Candy Crush because it is fun. And sometimes it helps to distract my anxious mind into some sort of focused mind. But I think meditation is a more gently way of creating that down time without relying on technology.
It wasn’t an all together awful experience. Actually, it wasn’t awful at all. It was sort of pleasant. I’ll try it again, and maybe set the timer for five minutes.
What does your meditation practice look like? Is it regular and ritualized? What stands in the way of your being consistent with meditation?