My mind seeks out understanding and wants to react.
I started practicing silent meditation regularly a few months ago. By regularly I mean three or four days a week, for 5-10 minutes each day, usually as I sat in the dark in my son’s room waiting for him to fall asleep. Every now and then, I’d spend a few minutes meditating before I started work in the mornings too.
I remember what it was like the first time I had tried to sit quietly. I had set my meditation app for two minutes. After what seemed like an eternity, one minute later, my eyes popped open, looking down at the phone, surprised that only sixty seconds had passed. I wondered how I would ever be able to practice for longer. My mind couldn’t keep quiet, and I couldn’t sit still.
Over the months, I found that I was able to sit silently for a longer period. It was even something that I looked forward to.
A respite from the constant chatter in my head.
I questioned whether this feeling of escape would ultimately become a barrier, but decided to just continue to observe that reaction.
I started noticing how I felt more calm too. I was able to finally allow myself to enjoy and seek out simple, restorative activities, like going for a walk in the middle of the day to clear my mind. (In fact, at first I experienced these actives as guilty pleasures due to years of not being able to take (truth: not allowing myself to take) a break midday during my clinical practice.)
The creative process had a new beginning now — in quiet, mindful observation. If I struggled to create, I would slow myself down and stop trying so damn hard. It worked.
Being present has been a goal since the beginning, when I worked with my first coach. At that time, the motivation was to get the most out of my time with my son, and to enjoy my work more. Now, I see that presence — noticing without judgment or attachment, current life circumstances, thoughts, and feelings — is the path to the peace that I desire, as well as the source of inspiration and ideas that keep life exciting and evolving.
So I am committing now to a daily practice of meditation, with a goal of eventually meditating an hour daily, knowing that it will enhance my ability to be present.
I had focused so much of my life on literally being educated and gaining knowledge, that I failed to trust my own inner wisdom and intuition. While I was up in my head, I had no idea what was going on in my body, even though so much valuable information was contained in it. This practice is opening me up to things I’ve never seen and known.
Here, I want to document what I learn so that others may learn from me, someone who is very much a beginner.
Today was Day 1 one of this commitment. 10 minutes. I noticed the sounds — cars driving by in each direction, birds calling and responding to each other, the lawnmowers running. Even in that description, I notice my mind wanting to understand, to make sense of it all. It created a brief story for everything I sensed.
I also noticed it wanting to react. Thoughts would arise about what I still had to do today. I caught myself starting to plan. Back to the breath… Then I noticed an itch on my forearm. I noticed that I wanted to scratch it, but stopped myself.
What would happen if I didn’t react?
I decided to refocus on the breath and…
It went away.