This year I made a promise to myself that rather than trying to introduce lots of ways to be a ‘new me’ at one time, each month I’d make either a resolution to try something new or a commitment to break an old habit. While I’m managing the first part of this promise, I’ve failed slightly at the second part – reflecting on each and writing it up. I’m finally prioritising the second part – and this is the first in a series of 12 posts in which I explore this incremental way of trying new ways of being.
Month 1 – Meditation
In January I committed to mediate for roughly 15 mins a day.
I used to mediate a lot – I love the idea of taking time to myself, have always found it beneficial and enjoyable when I do it, but rarely prioritise it. I fell out of the habit the first time when I got a job that requires me to travel a lot and means I rarely have a fixed routine. I fell out of the habit still further when I moved in with my partner. And the final straw has been the fact that I use my ‘pre-work’ time at present mostly for core exercises these days. January was all about forgoing that pre-work physical work out to focus on a mental one instead.
What was it like?
Incredible. It helped me re-find some clarity in my mind.
Somewhere over the last decade or so my brain has gotten much ‘busier’. I’m not always good at working out that something is bothering me, or if I know there are niggles, not always what that ‘something’ is. Meditation really helps with that, and taking the time out to create space for myself helps sharpen the way I think and prioritise issues.
It’s hard sometimes – and the brain is easily side-tracked and sometimes I find the 15 minutes rushes past, and has been absorbed by working through a problem I haven’t managed to put to one side. However, when I managed to pause my thoughts and let myself be, it is glorious and I find myself being much more focussed in most of what I do.
Somehow, I need to make sure I keep this up – and I say that, writing this in March having let my meditation slip over the last few weeks. Part of that is that I’ve been in pain (from a fractured elbow) over the last while- and I’ve always struggled with meditation when I’m injured as I find if I’m not careful the pain can be hard to step back from.
Part of it however is just that fact that I don’t prioritise mediation. Reflecting on it now, a few weeks after I stopped my regular practice, I think that this is partly because I find some of the emotions and feelings surfaced while meditating uncomfortable and difficult to face.
While that makes sense, it’s not where I want to be – so I have to find a way to make it a regular part of my life. A commitment to mediate somehow needs to be built in because if it isn’t – I’ll let it (and the awesome feelings of calm and focus that the practice brings) drift away.
Even writing this has reignited my desire to meditate, so I’m damn well going to commit to doing it 3 times a week, and try and make that work. I’m sure I’ll try to duck out of it – but I hope the realistic time commitment helps me stick to it!
How about you (yes, you who are reading this!)? What experiences of meditation do you have? Do you find yourself sometimes being apprehensive about meditating because of thoughts and feelings that surfaces? And how are you doing on any New Years resolutions you might have made?