I’ve been doing meditation on and off (ok sometimes more off than on) for the past 13 years. I remember the first time I sat and tried to watch my breath – it was maddening! Another time I sat with people to meditate and I wanted to run out of the room screaming. I thought I was not cut out for this at all. For years I sat and I’m not really know what I’m doing but doing it anyway because I know it is good for me. Some days have been better than others and still I persist. I also take days off. 🙂
I’m signed up to take the meditation class at GCU in a couple weeks and with the syllabus up, I’m getting a head start. (I’m getting a head start because my final project class is also happening and I want to be able to do as much of the meditation class so I can focus on the final project.) I’m watching all these videos and reading these books on meditation. You know what they start out saying? We are not geared towards meditation at all. Not wired for it. THIS is why it is called a “practice.” What a relief! I know for sure I can do this now because I’m not the only freak of nature that can’t sit quietly with my breath!!
Part of what is required for the class is to meditate: “You are required to do a daily meditation practice 15 – 60 min in length. You are responsible for keeping a journal, with a least three entries per week on your experience. Each entry should be 1-2 pages (300-600 words) for a total of 3- 6 pages (900 – 1200 words).”
I thought: perfect! I’ll write on the blog here whatever the experiences are… Why didn’t I do this for all the classes I’ve had thus far? Hmm… I’ve had so many classes that have had journal requirements and I kept them all secret and separate… Oh well, no better time than the present! HA! (that’s a meditation joke.)
I sat this morning for about an hour. I’m using the breath as the anchor point for coming back to center. I did the full scanning of my body, relaxing whatever tensions I was experiencing. I scanned the external environment, too – hearing the dogs, the kids, the cars. Hearing my stuffing nose in this dry dry room. Being with each and every sound and feeling, one at a time, and as when the wave of each experience subsided, I went back to the breath. After some period the thoughts came in. Here’s what I noticed:
I have a lot of thoughts! Songs too. I seem to have a playlist of songs that go on in my head. I heard once that our minds can handle multiple thoughts at once and I’m really getting that I’ve got a lot of competing thoughts going on. It’s amazing to notice! It was actually difficult at first to honor and bow to only one thought or feeling at a time. I would give it a simple name like “STORY” or “REMEMBERING” or “PLANNING” and then would bow to it and go back to the breath. The thoughts were actually easier to stop and get back to the breath than the feelings. Some feelings I was unsure to just name and breath into or if I might want to delve more deeply. It was a good practice because I held no judgment for what was happening, nor did I evaluate or try to hold too many things at once. If too many thoughts came in at once, I went back to the breath.
At some point, I felt a nice opening in the heart center. The place where the mind is, according to Buddhists. WIth a bit of expansiveness, I felt a loving gratitude for a lot of things – for everything. I so enjoy this feeling. I knew that it would come and go just like everything else so I bowed to it and just let it be for however long it would be. I had a nice sense of loving gratitude for the strong mind that I have. What a nice feeling that was. I can say honestly that I’ve battled with my own thoughts in my past and so it’s nice to be friends with my mind even for an hour. 🙂
I ended the practice and then went into my prayers and intentions for the day. It is said that meditation is a pausing of life in order to achieve great intimacy with oneself and for this hour, that is what I felt. I thanked the Great Mother, the Great Father and the Great Mystery for all that is and then went about my morning.
I am spending the day with myself pretty similarly. When thoughts come in, I label them and keep going. When emotions come in, I label them and bow to them. This is how I’m working to becoming my best friend. Unconditional love baby – that’s what it is all about.