By Josh Bell
Just to be clear, it’s me. I’m the stubborn bitch. I did everything in my power to not sit down in an upright position and meditate. I never saw it as important. My friends meditate constantly. I’ll be planning to hang out with them and get a “let me know when you’re here, but I’m doing a quick meditation” or they’ll have this big epiphany about their life during a meditation. I never wanted to take the time to do it.
Why am I talking about something that I never wanted to do? I believe that calming your mind and centering yourself is an important part of a spiritual practice. It is in these moments of a clear mind that you can really begin to make the changes you want in your life, shift your energy, and even channel! I may never wanted to meditate, but I did want to create and build a spiritual practice that changed my life for the better meditation had to be apart of it.
I always found ways to make excuses, or even better, I created situations that validated my excuses. Like what, you ask? I would lay down when I would meditate. I would put on an app or a YouTube meditation and then within the first two minutes I would fall asleep. I’d wake up about an hour later with some Theta Wave groaning in my ear from a video or playlist I had NOT chosen. And since that happened multiple times, I concluded that I was not good at meditating like that.
Meditation does not have to be simply sitting upright and creating an elaborate situation. (It can be, if that’s what you’re into, but like most things within spirituality, there are different ways and you should do what works for you). I remember sheepishly telling one multidimensional healer I worked with that I didn’t meditate and that I had a hard time not falling asleep. Of course, I didn’t tell her I was laying down, but truth be told, I thought it was the way that comfortably worked for me. She told me that there are other ways to meditate.
She said that she meditated while driving. It opened a door that there were Julia Cameron, writer of the Artist’s Way, writes about finding piece when walking. The movements of Yoga act to create focus and clear your mind leaving you open. I explained that I woke up every day and wrote three pages. This was my way of getting the trash out of my head, putting the negative emotions or crazy feelings on the page instead of reality. She said that was my form of meditation. I then would use that as an excuse to NOT delve further inward.
Of course, I am writing this article in response to actually sitting on my bed with cross-legged and upright to meditate. Let me digress to get to why. And I’ll even tell you about how bad I am right now at meditating so if you haven’t done it before, you can know you’re probably already better at it than me.
I have been reading this book about expanding your mind outside of the patterns we build ourselves into. I found myself understanding spiritual concepts I hadn’t fully understood before. I am stuck in these patterns. I do the same thing every day, and when life deviates me from them, I get stressed. The unknown creates stress and wears me out. But, I want the unknown in my life.
I want to work as a writer. I want to make enough money to live in a wonderful apartment by myself. I want to work daily with the people I am closest with. I want to travel constantly all over the world. I want to love the life I’m living because I built it to do the things I love. How all of these things happen, or what I’m doing, or how they work together are complete unknowns. If I am to live this life, I can’t be living by my same patterns and need to break out to change my thoughts. That brings me to setting down for the first time and meditating.
I sat down in my bedroom chair. I wanted to do the meditation from the book I was reading. I started the video on YouTube. I should have known in that first minute this wasn’t going to work the way I wanted it. I was jumping in the deep end instead of wading in.
Logically, I get what the man was doing. He used the monotone words with the crystal bowls to create a proper atmosphere. He then directed where I was to focus. It was too much for me. It sounded foreign and alien. And instead of focusing on the places he wanted me to focus, I focused on how negative his voice with everything else made me feel. I was so uncomfortable. I could not keep listening for 47 minutes. I stopped.
I decided to do something more basic. I downloaded the “Insight” app on my phone. I set it all up the way I wanted it: I would open and close my simple ten minute meditation with three dings with a five second delay when I started to settle my hands before the ringing. Ten minutes. I got through that, and I had started a meditation practice.
As I said above, I did not do it well. I started by taking in three deep breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth. I then kept that breathing throughout the meditation. That was my focus. I would mentally say “in” when the air came into my nostrils and “out” as it went out my lips.
It surprised me how easy you can lose even such a simple pattern. I thought about my friends. I thought about eventually writing this article. I thought about how hungry I was. I thought about how much longer I was going. And no matter what the thought, I forced my mind to stop stumbling over itself and mentally say “in” again and breathe in, and “out ” as it escaped.
I am currently on day three. So, there are no major revelations to behold. Today’s was actually worse than my first day. My emotions were running high, and I knew my thoughts were making it worse. I made it a point to do my ten minutes. I forgot to put my phone on airplane mode so I got a call 7 minutes in. My friend texted me 8 minutes in. And I just pseudo gave up by bringing my chest to the ground in front of my crossed legs with arms out for the last minute. It did exactly what it needed to by calming me down and giving me more control over my thoughts and emotions. That’s when I knew I wanted to write this article.
Meditation seems so silly in media. It gets this air of pretension because of the barely clothed yogis or robed monks. After even a couple sessions, I see that it’s the easiest thing in the world to get started with and being so accessible it’s a wonder I didn’t think wonder that I didn’t take all the advice from people before now. Maybe I should be less of a stubborn bitch and listen to the guides around me? Well, we’ll see. One day at a time. Patience, Josh. Presence.