Lessons I learned ….. the day I tried to meditate

So about a gazillion years ago (okay, it was about 16 years ago…. whatever), I tried meditation for the first time.  I did all the things I tell my clients not to.  I went in hard.  I took it too seriously.  I wasn’t in the right headspace.  And I gave up the first time ‘meditation didn’t work’.
I’ve come a long way since then.  A daily meditation practice is so important in my life now – it helps me to calm down before bed, it helps my brain work better – and I don’t snap at every little thing that irritates me!
I learned that you need to:
*. Start with short times
*. Find a guided meditation where the person’s voice doesn’t drive you batty!!
AND
*. Don’t give up just because you don’t become some kind of Zen master after the first time.
Meditation takes brain training.  You don’t go out and run a marathon having never run 100m before.  Go slowly.  Be kind to yourself.  And enjoy the story of the crazy way I threw myself into meditation a gazillion (sorry, sorry, 16) years ago.
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Okay readers – sorry about the lack of posts (like i’m sure you care) – but I haven’t been feeling too much like writing over the last few days – overwhelmed with life and all that. So in an attempt to bring some ‘inner peace’ to my thesis-writing, garden landscaping, house renovating, baby-rearing self, I decided to off-load the baby today and attend a meditation retreat. It’s a free day run by a man who is a sri-lankan buddhist – lovely guy – lots of inner peace. something i wanted to learn. Now, I realise that meditation doesn’t happen overnight. But whoa – nothing prepared me for how hard it really was.

We were told that we had to focus on our breath and to not stress out if our thoughts wandered but be mindful when they did…. to speak to them and plead with them to come back to us if they wandered – much like a small child – you cannot force them to do your will, but you can ask nicely…. so here’s how the session went in my head…

breathe in…..
breathe out…..
breathe in…… i wonder if Firstborn is doing okay with her daddy….must remember to pick up …. d’oh…. mind come back to me
breathe in….
breathe…..must get some more of those thesis revisions done before …oh shit, mind come back to me..
breathe in….. oh listen to that bird… and there’s a cricket… is he in the building with us? I hope not… oh crap…. mind come back to me…..

and so it went for half an hour….. well actually so it went for about 15 minutes – i think i spent the last 15 minutes of the session staring at the trees out the window….. hmmm, this is going to be harder than I thought…

So in the next session, our teacher discussed barriers or hindrances to enlightenment… he mentioned 5… and I think every single one of them applied to me!!   Oh dear…. this path to enlightenment could be a rocky one!!!

We then did some further meditation after we knew the barriers and had a few hints and tips to help us through….. I lasted even less time this round…. mostly because by this stage I had – if nothing else, relaxed a little.  Now what happens when an over-worked stressed out mummy of a 6 month old relaxes with her eyes closed on a nice warm day?  You guessed it – she falls asleep – sitting up :/.
I did that whole ‘jerk-awake-really-suddenly’  thing before you topple over onto the floor and then look around really quickly to see who saw you!!  Thankfully everyone else was still busy meditating!!!
*sigh*
At that point i realised the futility of trying to meditate when you’re falling asleep and I made my apologies and went home for a nap.
And so went my first day of attempting to tame the jungle that is my mind…. practice makes perfect I guess 🙂