Two weeks ago I started meditating seriously for the first time. I’ve stumbled around the idea for years but I’ve never actually tried. Maybe one half-hearted session here or there, but nothing substantial that could possibly have had an affect. Then I started seeing a councillors who asked me what I thought I could do to help relieve stress and anxiety. I told her meditation. She asked why I’d never done it if I knew the answer. I had absolutely no answer for her.
So she gave me my first homework assignment. Meditate a little bit every day for a short time. Even a few minutes, as long as it’s every day. ‘But here’s the catch!’ she said quickly. ‘I know who you are and I know you’re going to work hard at this. Don’t! Don’t try to be good at meditation or do it right. There’s no such thing. Just let it go’. That advise turned out to be the key for me.
I’m an overachiever, so my ‘little bit’ every day turned into twice a day for at least twenty minutes. I lay in bed because sitting felt uncomfortable, and I really set myself up to do it right. I dimmed the lights, set me intentions to really give this a go, and told myself that I wasn’t going to do this right anyway so there was no use getting frustrated as my mind wanders.
I was surprised at how gentle it turned out to be. I’m so used to working hard for everything. I thought this would feel the same way. But I wasn’t at all. Once I started breathing and listening to the guiding voice, it was very gentle and soothing. I let my mind settle, I focused on calm, and when thoughts came into my head I acknowledged them and then gently let them drift away.
Something funny happened to me after I started meditating. Continue reading