Many a meditation session has been interrupted by Googling "the best way to meditate."
Some people will get uneasy that they are "doing nothing" and will promise to return to it later. Others will indulge in the emotional residue of TV news, somehow using that earthquake in Borneo to reflect on the fragility of life and so they better get busy.
Some will let a prepackaged notion block them, and in the most mangled of ways, from defining meditation as a political statement (this stuff is too hippie and out there) to a perceived encroachment on religion (those remarks about the Buddha don't mesh with my Zoroastrianism).
Some will not be able to stand the illusion of being out of control of their thoughts,besides, this silence is making me think about the areas of my life I haven't resolved, and that's too just uncomfortable to bear. Don't you worry, your ego will keep baby cozy and warm.
It's normal to inhabit these mental landscapes when you start meditating. If anything is coming up too much, you should be working on correcting it in conjunction with your meditation efforts.
People who are just coming to meditation often think that they should be able to become a blank page by sheer will. This impression has been aided by the media, of course.
Depicting meditation is a lot like depicting what it is to write. What you see is not what you get. Everything is conventionalized to fit the narrative structure of the programming.
That's not to say that you won't see the stereotypical personalities at your meditation class: the hippie munching on goji berries between classes, the yoga babe who works for a hedge fund, the Type A master of his domain who insists on a healthy sitting distance, the wiry septuagenarian who pushes his body to the limits.
Now, you too can play a role and join this colorful assortment of characters! By reading this series you can...
JUST BE THE GUY WHO DID IT
Who actually took the lessons and then moved on without having to wed his personality to the practice as seen by others.
EXERCISE: Start scheduling some free time at first just so that it can become a habit. Take 20 minutes and do nothing. Soon this time will add up organically and you'll start feeling like you'd have nothing to lose by actually trying to meditate rather than continuing to waste those 20 minutes.
FROM MY JOURNAL: "The moment I closed my eyes, I felt the usual reptilian instinct kick into survival mode as I surveyed my position in relation to the others around me and my body's feelings. Everything I could consciously remember about meditation flashed through my mind. I counted about nine Hollywood movies, remnants of a TV show, the decade-old reaction from a relative who thought I was getting into "some kind of cult," and similar garbage."
(This is the second post of a series on meditation)
Above is the most boring YouTube you’ll ever discover. It’s an hour long recording of my daily meditation practice. Please don’t watch the whole thing. I’ll refer to parts of it in this article.
So you know about the scientifically proven benefits of meditation and the most inspiring teachers are just a mouseclick away … but still you’re not meditating daily. Why is that?
All you really need is a minute to yourself and a simple technique. You don’t need an exotic method, incense, a guru, a perfectly peaceful place, or lots of time. You don’t have to spend an hour pondering “What am I?” while going through series of yoga postures. For now, you can just read “Meditation basics” below and get started right away.