For about a decade I have practiced meditation on and off…sometimes, mostly off.
Science has proven the many benefits it offers those who practice. You can read about it in reputable places like Forbes.com. Many of my mentors cannot stop raving about how it has changed their lives. So I keep trying…but it sucks.
Today I sat and meditated for 10 minutes. The whole time I felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin, like I had to jump up and move or else I’d go crazy. Well, I didn’t go crazy I just stayed still and breathed. I’ve never had this experience before and I don’t really want to have it again but I KNOW I should keep trying.
When am I going to get good at this?
Most of my meditation experiences have been somewhat pleasant. I typically do feel more relaxed even if my monkey mind keeps wigging out of control. I want to get to that place where my mentors are…where they actually start to feel the benefits. I’m not sure I’ve ever been there before and its probably because I am not consistent.
Something always comes up to break my pattern, and there goes my monkey mind again. Or whenever I think I should meditate, the kids are fighting and I need to make dinner. I forget, or worse I get lazy. There are 101 reasons why I don’t meditate and there are 1,001 reasons why I should but I think my resistance boils down to this:
Meditation is not a one-time thing you do and then you’re done. It’s a process. Just like writing.
I’ve never been a person who likes process. I’m impatient. Don’t bog me down with the details…let’s just get to it. But I think it goes deeper than that: I get caught up in my experiences during mediation, or in how good or not good my writing is, rather than learning from the process itself. This one little shift in thinking about it is a monumental task. It’s herculean! Because we ALL struggle with it.
We just want the benefits but the reality is: the benefits are experienced IN THE PROCESS.
When I didn’t succumb to my need to jump out of my skin today during meditation but I continued to breathe…that was a benefit and I didn’t even realize it! My monkey mind was quieted, if even for a split second. I recently found a really cool app that gives you a two-week mindfulness meditation training. It’s called 10% Happier. Try it. As I’m writing this something occurred to me, I have forgotten about my mantra for 2016: Show up, do the work, don’t quit.
It is time to apply this to meditation. Get ready monkey.