We are starting a new weekly column called Meditation Monday by a new contributor Madison. Check back every Monday for some advice on mediation and how it can help you find some calmness in a crazy world.
- think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.
- think deeply or carefully about (something).
Meditation, by definition, is very overwhelming to me. I tried to picture myself sitting in full lotus (cross-leg tops of feet on tops of thighs) fingers in OK formation, and chanting. Ridiculous. Not happening. I toned it down a little and just sat quietly on a pillow on my floor. This was nice and all, but my mind was racing. First the conflicts of the day repeated over and over, then the meals I ate (which I felt guilty about), then songs- some I was happy to think about, others I wish never existed-, then more food, and worrying. So much worrying. This meditation shit isn’t working. I only THINK the whole time! Aren’t I supposed to be able to CLEAR my mind so I can focus? This is impossible and definitely not relaxing. So I asked my therapist, “What am I doing wrong!?” What he told me changed everything.
What if I didn’t focus on what the dictionary told me meditation is? What if I sat down and contemplated on what meditation means to me and what I can get out of it?
The mind is one big rolodex of information. When it’s racing and experiencing multiple emotions all in 1 day, the little cards that were once in order are flying all over the place, creating a giant mess. How could anyone make sense of any information that’s there if nothing is where it should be? What if I went home, sat down, and ALLOWED my mind to wander instead of fight it?
I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. My definition of Meditate started like this: to sit in silence for a period of time and let go.
I did just that. I allowed the good and bad songs, allowed the food I ate and wanted to eat, allowed the negativity that was spewed all over me at work, allowed the overdue hospital bills and car insurance bill and whatever other worries I had. I let it all flow freely like evil ooze under the streets of NYC. And to my surprise, they left as quickly as they came. Some of them returned only to be pushed aside by thoughts of my dog as a puppy, my little sister’s Santa-like laugh, my brother playing the Beatles on piano, maple muffins with chocolate ganache sprinkled with bacon. I only sat for 3 min the first time. I knew that if I sat longer I may expect something Disney-esq to happen so I decided that 3 min was a good enough time. I made a commitment to myself that I was going to meditate every day. That didn’t happen at all. I was bummed and felt so much guilt. So I when I did meditate again, I allowed myself to forgive myself.
My mind felt like I just prepared my house for family on Christmas eve.
My definition of meditate changed: to sit in quiet for a period of time, allow, accept, and forgive.
Sometimes I would sit outside and listen to the wind while letting my rolodex re-file itself. Sometimes I would light a candle because I wanted to smell nice things while my rolodex was re-filing itself. Enhancing my senses sometimes brought up things that my mind had filed under Miscellaneous and hid in the proverbial closet. Sometimes I sat for longer and sometimes I cried. But every time, I allowed my thoughts to come forward. I accepted them for what they were, thoughts, and I allowed them to pass. I forgave myself for any negative emotion I had, for anyone who had cast their negativity on me. This meditation thing was really starting to make sense!
One day at a time. Yesterday happened. Tomorrow hasn’t happened. All you can do is allow today, accept what it brings you, forgive yourself, and allow it to pass when you go to sleep.It only takes 3 min.