Ok trying my hand at a video blog. Maybe some people prefer to hear the post rather than read it. For those of you, here you go! The rest, read on my friends.
If you are depressed you are living in the past.― Lao Tzu
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.
Meditation is all about teaching ourselves to live in the moment. It’s all about relinquishing control over future events and letting go of the past. It’s about observing ourselves and our surroundings and just letting it be. And through the calmness, you will find peace.
Beautiful, right? It sounds so easy. Sign me up for meditation and bring on the peaceful vibes!
Oh, you beautiful meditation virgin. Your thoughts are lovely–but you’re dead wrong. Meditation is not easy. Far from it.
There is a quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn that goes, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
Well, funnily enough, I went surfing for the first time recently. And guess what? I got the crap beat out of me. Saltwater up every orifice, wedgies for days, smacked right in the face by the ocean, and even thrown from the board.
Here is a short clip for your viewing pleasure. And yes, I am smack dab in the middle of that.
So why did I even do this? Well because amidst the chaos, I had moments where I was actually surfing!
And that’s kind of what life is all about, right? You jump in, get the crap knocked out of you, get slapped in the face—and you try to surf. You fail a lot and you learn along the way. You surf for short bits and then you fall. You surf a bit longer and more gracefully the next time and then you fall. And you keep getting back up.
Anything worth doing is worth failing at, over and over again. Meditation is worth failing at.
I’ve spent a long time working on meditation. I go through phases where I try to meditate, and then fall off for several months. And then I get back on it. This last time, I am currently on a 53-day straight streak of meditating every day. I just need to say that again—53 days! AND THAT IS THE LONGEST I HAVE EVER GONE! I don’t mean that I do long stretches all the time and this is the current leading streak. Oh no. Before if I had a five-day streak, I was doing well. There might have been one solid 12-day streak in there. But that was it. And I’ve been at this for years.
So yes, thank you, I am awesome. Patting myself on the back. But I am still far from perfect at it. I am not at the boss level where I can sit in a silent room, set a timer for 30 minutes or hours, and get down with my enlightened self. Oh no, I need guides. Guided meditation is where it’s all at for me. My personal favorite is the Calm app. I now consider Tamara Levitt, the main voice and writer behind the app, part of my ride or die posse.
But every person is different and some might hate that app (but don’t ever speak that directly to my face). I tried several apps. Some were ok. Some I absolutely 100% loathed! You just have to try them and find the one that works for you. Two more that weren’t my style that others swear by are Headspace and Waking Up.
No matter which app or method you chose, it’s going to take some time and practice before you hit your groove. Meditation is about not thinking but just being. But guess what? You are going to think A LOT! It’s like when someone tells you not to think about ice cream and then you blackout and come to holding a spoon and three empty ice cream cartons laid out in front of you (oh don’t pretend like that has never happened to you).
Here is a brief look into my head while meditating.
Ok, we’re breathing….and breathing in…one, two, three…I’m hungry. I wonder what Tamara had for dinner—ok wait. thinking…. breathing in. Concentrating on the breath…Plethora. PPPLLEETTHHOORRA! Such a good word. A plethora of pinatas—ok thinking…and breathing… I like purple! But you know I’m really starting to dig turquoise. Oh man, what if I am making purple jealous? Am I starting an inter-color feud? What if they hate each other now and it is all my fault?—ok thinking… and in one, two, three…and breathing…and counting… and now I’m sleeping.
Again, it’s a lot like surfing. All these thoughts are bubbling up and throwing you off course. But there are moments of stillness and just being. And then another thought pulls your mind off course. But you learn to correct and nudge your mind back into the still space.
Being able to control or stop your thoughts is the real key here. Depression and anxiety are a lot like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Your mind has a quick peek at a depressing or anxious thought, and before you know it you are falling with no way to stop and no end in sight. Depression turns a bad moment into a bad day into a bad life. With one little worry, the anxiety mountain shoots up blocking everything out of sight with no way around. Meditation gives you a foothold. It helps you cope. It helps you climb. It helps you see that thoughts are just thoughts. You don’t have to grab on and let them take you away. You can release. You can feel them come, notice them, and let them pass. You can just be.
Namaste and happy meditating!