Jessie: In New Hampshire, where a few trees are displaying tinges of orange
Do you have any goals or habits you’ve been meaning to reach or add for simply ages? I have a few, but one of the most persistent has been a daily meditation practice. Every year, for what felt like forever, I would add it to my list of goals and plans. I would download an app on my phone or read an inspirational book touting the benefits of incorporating it. I would even make real attempts to cultivate a habit of it each January.
I tried setting a reminder on my calendar to prompt me to make it a priority. I toyed with guided meditations using a smart speaker in my office. I alternated sitting up straight in a chair or lying stretched out on the floor. I gave it a go first thing in the morning and also tried it last thing at night. But, no matter what I did, I just couldn’t manage to make it stick nor could I see any real value in persisting. By the end of January I invariably gave up my attempts and consoled myself with the notion that perhaps it was not a path everyone should tred.
But over and over I would encounter articles, or blog posts, or casual references to meditation by acquaintences, and a quiet little part of my brain woudl perk up and pay attention. It would offer up a suggestion that perhaps I ought to try again. It reminded me of the fact that I love accomplishing goals and adding habits I believe support the direction I wish to head in my life and career. No matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to reliquish the idea once and for all. And then, around Christmas 2019 I read about the Muse Band. Not for me, mind you. That would have been too sensible. Our eldest had started a meditation practice of his own and I thought he might enjoy some added incentive to continue it. Why I didn’t ask for one of my own that year is beyond me. But by December of 2020 I had managed to realise that it was perhaps a solution for me as well. It arrived a few days past Christmas and I dutifully gave it a try, not all that convinced it would make a difference, but ready and willing to be convinced. I sat upright in a chair, in the morning, and popped the thing on my head. I placed my headphones over my ears and followed the directions being fed at me through the app. And you know, it worked like a charm. The simple device managed to provide feedback and data that made sense to me. I used it again the next day and then the next.
Little by little, I began to understand how a meditative state felt and how to quiet my mind to reach it. And when I did, it was undeniaby pleasant. I tend to have a rambunctious brain and the ability to put it into neutral once in a while was an experience worth seeking. Before long, I found myself increasing the number of minutes I spent at it each day and also increased my quantity goals for the week.
Today marks the 230th day in a row that I have meditated. I love knowing that I have made a habit of something that languished on my list for so long, but that isn’t really what matters. As I move through my days and weeks so many more new ideas bubble to the surface of my mind as thought they just needed a bit of quiet before they dared raise their heads. I find myself questioning repetive thoughts about my work or about situations. I feel more cheerful overall. I cannot claim that every meditation session is bliss or that I have any degree of mastery of the practice, but I do know that I look forward to my time sitting quietly every day and seeing where it will all ultimately take me.
Readers, do you have anything on your list of aspirations that has been there forever? Have you tried meditating?