Relax and float downstream

I love to meditate. So why do I always fight against doing it?

I started my practice back with the Beatles in the 70s. Well, not actually “with” them in the same ashram, but when I read about the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and Transcendental Meditation, I was in. Good enough for Ringo, good enough for me.

The practice then was to sit and repeat one’s mantra. I chose “One” over “Om”, not to be pretentious. Beating back unruly intrusions was always a challenge, be they my son, or random thoughts that my mind was intent on thinking. But I got pretty good at it.

I even introduced it to my seventh, eighth and ninth grade Science classes, and they took to it, to my surprise. I was mostly looking for some peace and quiet from them, but they took it seriously. I never meditated along with them, since I dared not close my eyes, lest the spitballs start flying.

So through the years, off and on, I meditated, and always felt better for it. I even discovered an iPhone app, “Simply Being” and started up again about a year ago. It was lovely and soothing, but I almost always fell asleep a few minutes into it. Then I starting using the app to fall asleep, and not even worry about meditating.

Finally, about six months ago, I discovered Headspace. The voice of Andy Puddicombe, Bristolian accent and all (think Long John Silver, the pirate), was not sleep-inducing. It focused my attention. And sitting upright, not fighting my thoughts but letting them come and go, left me energized at the end of the ten minute session. Better yet, I wasn’t sneaking peeks at the clock. The ten minutes danced by.

You can get a taste of his program here.

So I took the plunge and invested about $5 a month for a year of Headspace, my “gym membership for the mind” as they say there, and moved up to 15, then 20 minutes a day. And it is great! I am learning to detach myself from my emotions, the better to control them, and each day Andy has something new to add.

Andy (after all these months, I think we are close enough for first name use) was a Buddhist monk for 10 years, and though Buddhism is not on my menu, he surely has cred in this field.

And every day I fight the urge to mediate. I find something else compelling to do-the dishes, Facebook, read, write, take out the trash. Why?

I do finally give in and sit down and emerge refreshed in all sorts of good ways. But I realize that I used to do the same thing as a kid when I was put to bed. I fought sleep every way I could. My mind did not want to rest. And I do the same thing now with social media-one last look at Facebook, and Instagram, and Twitter before lights out. And now it doesn’t even matter if they are out. My iPad is back-lit! Hurrah, keep on churning, mind of mine!

So now I meditate in the morning, when I find it easier to turn off my mind, and then face the day clearheaded and renewed.

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