Friday, April 15, 2016

M Is for Meditate

M is for meditation...something I wish I were better at, and something I think is worth pursuing, even though, basically, it's a struggle. Meditation sometimes feels like an unattainable goal for me, but I try to keep judgment at bay, and count my successes when I can, even if some days the only meditationish thing I did was wear my yoga pants. 

On the days that I take the time to meditate, I feel more relaxed, and focused. Meditation takes on a variety of forms, depending on when I wake up, where I am, and who is with me. 

Meditation is an opportunity for me to try to clear my mind and relax. Notice I said TRY. Sometimes I have fallen asleep while meditating; I think we can agree that's pretty relaxed. (Don't judge.) I like to sit in my recliner, or lie in bed. I don't worry if thoughts creep in while I'm meditating, which is good because they often do. I realize the whole point is to clear our minds, but I'm just grateful if I can reduce the bazillion thoughts battling in my brain for attention to a more manageable number.

I'll tell you what meditation is NOT for me. It is not a pursuit for perfection. I don't use a yoga mat. I don't sit cross-legged on the floor, or upright in a chair. I don't hold my middle finger to my thumb, rest my elbows on my knees, and say, "OM..." 

One thing I'm pretty proud of, that I'm pretty consistent with, is I DO wear yoga pants when I meditate, but then, I always wear yoga pants. I want to be prepared in case the mood to meditate strikes, you know? (Do you have yoga pants?  They just feel good. And they are so forgiving. And they're so stretchy. You should try them.) I realize yoga pants are for yoga, but meditation is a lot like yoga, except there's no stretching and moving. 

Some days, I use a guided meditation or a visualization exercise. Sometimes I simply sit quietly in the dark after I pray, and just concentrate on my breathing, which is harder than it sounds. My brain has a hard time calming down, but I think I still benefit from these peaceful, quiet moments.

During my morning time with the Bible, I like to pray, and I struggle to prolong that time just being still and reflective. On crazy days, my meditation may take the form of a walking meditation, where I alternate between praying and observing nature while I exercise outdoors. 

Wait, do all of these count as meditation?

I'm no Deepak Chopra, but I think so. There are so many ways I may not measure up in today's world; I want my peaceful moments to be without judgment or criticism. 

The beauty of this time for reflection is it is so different from the rest of my day. It gives me a chance to slow down, and attempt to be mindful. Sometimes, if the only thing I managed to do was wear my yoga pants and take a moment to breathe, I feel pretty darn successful. Bonus points if I also NOTICED I was breathing. 

One day, I might make it a whole 30 minutes, but until then, I'll just keep enjoying a few moments of peace and quiet on my terms, in my yoga pants. Maybe I'll design my own line of stretchy pants, and call them meditation pants, so I don't feel guilty about not ever doing yoga in them.

Buddhist Boot Camp


  1. I read something that was talking about how you can do a mild form of meditation while washing your hands. When I had a stressful office job, I tried it and it worked. You just close your eyes and feel the water going over your hands. Nobody does that. We don't even experience the sensation of the food we eat. We just mindlessly chew. I don't know if that's full meditation, but it's "mindfulness" and isn't that part of it somehow?

    1. To me, that is the essence of it. I love your example. I will think of you before I wash my hands today with gratitude!

  2. I love this post as it really resonates with me. Meditation has been a lifesaver (almost literally). I deal with really bad anxiety (to the point I can't leave my house some days) and meditation has helped with this. I do believe everything you described would fall under meditation. I think the main thing is that when the thoughts do come in, you need to acknowledge them and then try to let it go.
    And yes concentrating on your breath can be very frustrating sometimes, but again once you realize you are not, acknowledge whatever is drawing your attention and go back to your breath.

    1. Renee, thank you for your kind words. I'm glad meditation helps you through your anxiety. You make some good points about those thoughts that wander through our heads.


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