About six weeks ago I blogged about my earliest experiences with secular mediation. Today I’ll be sharing an update on my progress.
To be honest, I don’t meditate every day. At the beginning of this experiment it was something I did fairly infrequently and I am now slowly folding it more and more often into my schedule.
When I was a kid the idea of praying and reading the Bible every day was drilled into us. I never did those things either. Doing something simply because one ought to do it doesn’t appeal to me. As selfish as this may sound, I need more concrete reasons to adjust my habits.
The Nuts and Bolts Of It All
Meditation, when it is portrayed at all in the media, tends to show people sitting down and concentrating. This isn’t something that has worked for me yet. My mind wanders, my toes itch, my bones creak and I have the urge to do anything other than sit cross-legged with my eyes closed at that particular moment in time.
Two things do work for me: lying down and relaxing as many muscles as possible (including my brain, although I don’t think that is technically a muscle 😉 )and clearing my thoughts over a nice long walk. Either I need to be completely relaxed or my legs need to be free to roam around to reboot my brain, so to speak.
My natural state is to worry just a little more than the average person; true relaxation isn’t something that comes easily. These tendencies will always be part of who I am, I think. Some people struggle with a short temper, others have a propensity to gossip or to feel envious of what other people have that they do not. If there are any perfect people in this world I have yet to meet them.
My intention with meditation, then, isn’t to change the foundations of my personality. Actually, I started this without any real sort of purpose at all. I’d simply heard so much about it and wanted to know what all of the fuss was about.
So far I can say that I’m learning how to relax, release worrisome thoughts, and how not to have to think through everything that has happened or could possibly happen. I’ll always be someone who lives in thought, of course. I wouldn’t be the same Lydia without the ability to imagine what could be a thousand ways from Sunday but I don’t worry about it as much any longer. Things will happen that I wish hadn’t happened. Thinking about them cannot change the outcome. Things will cease to happen that I wish would stick around. Thoughts won’t change that either. I can even bring about this sense of detachment sometimes now when I’m not meditating. Thinking about the act is enough to spark a shift in my mood at least occasionally.
This is a definitely a welcomed change. I hadn’t realized in the past how tense I was – not always, of course, but enough that now that I’m beginning to see how to live more calmly. I wonder what other grooves are dug into life with our habits?
Now that I’ve seen some positive results from this experiment, I’m ready to try meditating more regularly. I’m still uninterested in the religious aspects of it but wouldn’t mind reading books or watching online clips that talk about the history behind it or of other meditation techniques.
Those of you who meditate or who are good at creating new habits: do you have any suggestions?