Meditation never came easy for me. Sitting cross-legged, back straight, hands on my knees, eyes closed, saying ‘ahm’ repeatedly feels awkward. On the other hand, I began practicing yoga – on and off – when living in Alaska six years ago. Walking or snowshoeing when 50 below isn’t fun especially with CFS/ME and fibromyalgia. Yoga dvds work for my life style.
A wandering mind always proved frustrating when I tried meditating in the past. Instead of calming, I grew impatient sitting there. My mind runs six thousand thoughts a minute when trying to sleep, read, or any other idle moments. I couldn’t push aside thoughts while meditating.
In addition to yoga, I use deep breathing in hopes of lowing blood pressure before the nurse wraps the sleeve around my arm, reduce some anxiety before participating in unpleasant situations, and occasionally even in hopes of falling asleep. The last exercise rarely works.
What I did not know is that the beginning and end of many routines I practice in yoga include several minutes of lying or sitting still and focusing on the breath actually is meditation in its simplest form. Reading Kabat-Zinn’s book, Wherever You Go, There You Are, I learned lying on my back with eyes closed and bringing attention to breathing is meditation. Also, a wandering mind is totally normal and a-okay! I either read or heard in a podcast on meditation that thinking of thoughts is a wave that flows in and out during the process of meditation.
If a critical piece of mindfulness is daily meditation, I need practice and patience or my journey ends before getting started.
I try remembering daily that I need a few minutes but have yet to make it routine. Usually, it seems that I forget until I’m lying in bed wishing I could sleep. Sometimes, I close my door at work and try while sitting at my desk or after I feed the dogs and before making dinner. I glance at the clock before closing my eyes and breathe. Inevitably, thoughts take over. I continue breathing and remember thoughts are simply ‘a wave’. But they feel more like a rip tide pulling me away from my intent and the next thing I know, my eyes are open and two or on a good day, five minutes have passed.
Today, while hubby was napping, laundry was washing, and dinner was progressing I lay down on my bed. The thoughts continued to roll ashore as I inhaled then I tried letting go with each exhale. Inhale, and a new thought drifted in, exhale and I let it go. When opening my eyes, 25 minutes had passed!
I felt calm and ready to get back to house duties. I start a new job in a couple of weeks and start about an hour later. Meditation could be a mindful way to start my day.