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?
I’m so glad you have made it work for you Jessie – and that the rewards are worth it. My sister has a decades-long Vipassana silent meditation practice. When I’ve tried it for fifteen minutes every morning, I felt calmer and more ready to start my day. Like you, I didn’t keep it up. I do sit in silent expectant waiting with other Friends on Sunday mornings, which brings that brain calming you speak of.
I can see how your Sunday mornings would have a similar benefit, Edith.
I’ve been a meditators for about 4 years- sometimes I’m better at the daily practice than other times, but even sitting quietly and counting 10 breaths in and out can count! I use the 10% Happier App. It definitely helps me feel more grounded and calm.
I’ve seen that app! How lovely that it works for you! And 4 years sounds impressive to me!
Although I haven’t tried meditation, my body, as I’ve gotten older, seems to have a mind of its own. It says “ENOUGH” and crashes. It’s during those times, that I take the much needed “me” time that relaxes and refreshes me. I’ve often asked myself why do I have to crash to do this? That being said, I now try to listen to the little subtle body messages and take time to be quiet, reflect, revive the spirit and just spend time with me doing nothing. I’ve found that by listening to the little body hints that I don’t have the crash spells, feel better in general all the time and I’ve learned to appreciate the quiet time. So maybe I have meditated – in my own way – or my body does whether I want to or not. Just a shame that it told old age to figure it out.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
It sounds like you are reaping a lot of benefits from the sort of mindfulness that meditation touts! Congratulations! Crashes are no fun! I often feel them after I finish a novel!
I don’t meditate, but I’ve always enjoyed just sitting and being still for a while. Unfortunately, the man I’m married to does not, so it doesn’t always work. Hard to be quiet and peaceful when the lawn mower is going. LOL
I completely understand feeling disrupted by the sound of lawnmowers if they are close at hand too! There seem to be a lot of them in my village buzzing away!
You are amazing, Jessie! The Muse Bend sounds like a great idea. I’ve made various attempts at meditation and have a one minute one on my phone that I like. But I don’t listen every day and I probably should stretch beyond one minute.
Aww, thanks, Sherry! I would absolutely encourage you to push past one minute, however gradually. I think the benefits are there no matter how long you have to invest in it but, it is often difficult for me to settle in immediately and I experience the value of it further into the process. Maybe a Muse Band would work for you too!
I’m not a meditator, but I know the joy of creating a new habit and crossing something off your list that has been there for a long, long time. Congratulations, Jessie!
Thanks, Barb! There is a great deal of joy in crossing things off, isn’t there?
I have tried off and on over the years to meditate but can’t quiet my mind enough to make it work.
It is tough, isn’t it? Until I tried the Muse Band I couldn’t seem to get a feel for what quiet even felt like to try to replicate it.
I have had a practice that has had varying degrees of success. Lately, my mind won’t quiet. The Muse Band sounds wonderful. Congratulations on the practice!
Thanks! And I hope you find a way to make it work!
I’ll have to look into the muse band. I had used Headspace for a while and loved it, but at the time I was working full-time, writing, taking care of a house, and oh heck – life got in the way! I’ll have to check out muse band, and headspace again.
I hope you give it a try, and if you do that you will let me know if you find it useful!
Congrats on 230 days in a row! I’m impressed.
I need to exercise outside of running. You know, planks, pushups. Things I can easily do in the evening in my living room. And yet. I get to surfing the web and watching TV in the evening, and it doesn’t happen. Even though I can do these things while watching TV.
I totally understand that, Mark! I downloaded a planking app to my phone in June but have yet to even open it! Good luck with your efforts!
I’ve never reached true meditation happiness on a regular basis, but I like trying when I”m in the mood. It has helped me a lot in the past when things were really zooey. I’m glad you have found your bliss.
Thanks, Ginny! It does seem to be of a great deal of help when things are chaotic!
Congratulations Jessie! I have never meditated. I was going to the gym and then COVID struck, so I have not been back to the gym, one day I am hoping to go back, I am not a swimmer, but my youngest sister has a swim SPA, it is only 5 feet deep and I go in it, and I love it. My husband goes swimming every morning to the inside pool at our local HS, so maybe one day I will go with him and just stay in the 5 feet and under part and exercise some in there. You know what they say, Where there is a will , there is a way. Have a great week and stay safe.
Absolutely there is! I have a dear friend who used one of those endless pools for years and loved it so I can imagine how much you might enjoy it!
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