What I Learned From My Month of Meditation
Day 27, session two. I’m feeling restless and sneak a peek at my timer. Seven minutes have gone by. Seven measly minutes.
One would think that 27 consecutive days of twice daily meditation sessions would have me comfortably settled into “level two” meditation status, one that feel less like a blazing traffic jam and more like a gradual journey towards zen. One that provides even the smallest hint of progress that typically comes when practicing – oh – just about anything.
But no. I’m here to say that meditation is equally, if not more difficult than it was on day one.
I do not look forward to meditating. I, fact, I have decided that there are a number of things I would gladly undertake instead. Fold laundry. Delete old contacts from my address book. Remove tile grout with a toothbrush. Call Comcast. Read Ulysses. Do burpees.
All of this over sitting comfortably on the floor listening to myself breathe in and breathe out.
It’s that hard. Louis C.K. agrees.
And yet (you knew there was a yet coming right?) I do it anyway.
I do it, first, for the obvious reason: this is my monthly challenge and I intend to see it through.
Next, for the mental exercise. I can feel my brain getting stronger with every painful minute that passes. I picture the grit and willpower and concentration I am building, reminding myself that when you do hard things, you become stronger.
Finally, I persist and will continue to persist because this idea of being present and accepting of “what is” is finally growing roots somewhere in my subconscious, and the effects are noticeable. More and more, I find myself thinking before speaking. Appreciating everyday moments and shrugging off small inconveniences. Not constantly reaching for my nearest device for a quick distraction. I’m a little lighter and kinder and less overwhelmed. My husband has taken note. My kids have too.
ASK BETTER QUESTIONS, GET BETTER ANSWERS
As I ponder the learnings of the month, I have come to one simple conclusion. Meditation teaches us how to ask good questions. This simple act of sitting in silence, day after day – it forces us to face the things that are going on in our head. It forces us to notice them, accept them and decide what to do about them.
What am I feeling? What’s the good in this situation? What are some solutions? What do I learn from this?
When we take the time to ask ourselves better questions, we come up with better answers. And better solutions to problems and situations that are creative and rational and productive.
That’s what meditation is teaching me and, hopefully, will continue to teach me as I continue on with my practice.
It is, after all, a practice.