This is my second post about meditation or crapitation (Real actual meditation, Botox & the Dalai Lama was the first). I said we’d take the next step together and I think we’re ready for it. I’ve been cribbing and experimenting like mad and I reckon I know what makes for crap meditation and some things that might make it less crap:
1. Not enough time to even think about meditating, ffs.
This is a bit like when you hear someone say “I don’t have time for a holiday!” and from that, you know they REALLY need one, right now. If the thought of finding time to meditate is stressing you out then you so need to find time to meditate.
There’s no magic bullet here other than to bite it and create a new habit. My new year’s resolution is to make time to meditate every other day, even it’s just for ten minutes. Are you in?
2. Still the mind? Mine’s bouncing off each bloody wall and then coming back to tell me that my bum’s aching and my nose itches.
I am The Queen of Over-Thinking – I even over-think in my dreams [My dream self: "Hang on, how could that happen? That's defying the laws of gravity."] but I’m finally starting to slow down the distracting thoughts whilst meditating. This gives me hope that anyone can.
I could never get the ‘Just notice the thought and let it go’ thing to work as I’d think I’d done that and then realise I’d somehow carried on thinking the thought. A tougher approach is needed and this is what I’ve found works:
Thought “I reckon this is working, I must have been meditating for at least nine minutes now.”
Name it: “Meditation thought”
Thought: “Arrrghh! My hand is going all tingly.”
Name it: “Body thought”
Thought: “I could blog about how I’m stopping these thoughts”
Name it: “Blog thought”
After a while, I’m zapping the thoughts so automatically that I don’t need to name the type of thought, I just think “Thought” and let it go, after a while I reckon it’ll be possible just to do the ‘Notice the thought’ thing and not say anything about it at all.
3. Yeah I can do all that but *yaaaawn* it’s so boring.
I am the WORST for this – I find it really really hard to sit and ‘do nothing’. I must be the only person who has asked if they can read a book whilst undergoing spiritual healing *cringe*. I now realise it wasn’t seeing it as an opportunity to have a helpful, enjoyable experience – I just saw it as wasted time that I could be using to have a bath/read a book/eat cake/facebook etc.
So, how to see it as enjoyable? Seduce yourself into meditation: incense, low lighting, a closed door and some mantraey music? Figure out what will get you in the mood and then sit back and enjoy.
It’s like a massage for the mind, baby.
4. I feel like a total fool just sitting there. WTF should I actually be doing?!
If there isn’t a Kama Sutra of meditation then there should be – there’s a ton of different ways to do it and pretty much anything goes (although ‘missionary’ isn’t recommended for fear of falling asleep): Count breaths, notice breath, focus on something (like a candle flame), move (as in Tai Chi), mindfulness (‘being present’ and letting your mind run and accepting whatever thoughts come up without focusing on them), repeat a sound or a word (like “Ommmmm”) or chant a mantra (like Ra Ma Da Sa).
I’m finding that chanting a mantra for a while and then just trying to still my mind is what works for me. Experiment, as you might find something else is your thing.
In the last couple of days, I’ve been playing around with the stuff above, and I’ve managed two lots of 20 minutes of almost not-crap meditation – that’s my all-time personal best. If you can beat that then we’re ready to take the next step together.