You know how…
You set aside time to meditate because you’ve been told it’s an important tool of self-care.
Never mind that the closest you’ve come to practicing yoga is a totally unnatural reach for the brownie chunk that bounced under your couch.
And the closest you’ve ever come to stillness is a slow crawl in traffic.
But meditation…this is self-care you can handle.
Everyone needs a very specific type of voice to lead them, by the way. That was one of the first things I realized clicking through the endless supply of meditations in YouTube. I easily skipped through eight meditations due to echo, feedback, and yes—pitch.
But ten minutes later, I’m settled. I’m ready. Nothing can stop me now!
It’s the invitation to quiet your mind.
And herein lies my glaring struggle with meditation.
Because my mind is never silent.
You want to know what happens when I try quiet my mind?
It begins an inner monologue. About being silent.
So, I try to gloss over that instruction when I meditate.
But then we get to the part about feeling a warm light. And sometimes this light is supposed to start in my feet and other times in my head.
At which point my inner monologue switches over to something like:
Is there a light?
I don’t see light.
Maybe I’m supposed to feel warm.
I’m not feeling warm.
Wait, I’m supposed to be silent.
Stop thinking about thinking.
Do I smell pickles?
And this is usually the point at which I give up on the meditation. Unless, of course, it’s a 5-minute ditty in which case it’s over by the time my mind circles back around to what it should actually be doing.
Needless to say, I’ve never finished a meditation feeling calm or relaxed or ready to seize anything except perhaps a cigarette because I don’t smoke but if I did, ohhhhh…
But what if I told you there were different kinds of meditation practices that went beyond sitting in a dark, quiet room?
For some it’s the way the sun hammers the back of their neck as you run full speed along a well-worn path.
For others it's the cool feel of water brushing their arms as you paddle toward a swell.
And for even more, the snow beneath their skis.
See, when you think of, “meditation” you often get caught up in the more traditional aspect of “practice.” But the true definition of meditation is:
A practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
Different techniques will work for different personalities. But if the end result is the same—that through the technique we choose, we’re able to train attention and awareness and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state—why are we forcing the idea that meditation can only be achieved when we are silent and still?
All of which is to say that the next time you see me running, you can assume I’m in my most mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
Probably the best time to ask me anything you want a "yes" to.
I hope my daughter never reads this blog.
What about you? How do you meditate?