If I haven’t told you already, I’m taking a class in meditation. It’s actually Mindfulness – a form of meditation designed reduce stress, anger and depression (God knows I need THAT). It trains you to focus on the moment instead of “rehashing the past or rehearsing for the future.” It also helps you to get in touch with your emotions, instead of pushing them away. We’re taught that emotions are neither bad nor good – they just are – but you have to feel them to process them. I feel a lot these days.
The workbook comes with MP3 recordings of guided meditation, which I downloaded to my phone so I can meditate at work during lunch. A gentleman speaks in a soothing voice, with the aim of bringing your attention to the here and now. I often have trouble with the “here and now” part – as my thoughts tend to race. I regularly talk to myself in my mind – but I do that when I’m not meditating as well. In fact, I do that a lot. Sometimes I even answer myself out loud. People think I’m a little crazy.
The meditations range from three minute to forty-five minutes (I can’t imagine sitting still for that long, but I’m working up to it) and they are very relaxing. Perhaps too relaxing! I often fall asleep while trying to meditate…so it’s really less like meditation and more like napping. I’ve resorted to sitting in a rather uncomfortable chair in a cold room to try to stay alert.
I was doing a breathing meditation today and thought you might like to join me.
Meditation Recording (MR): Take a few moments to be still. Congratulate yourself for taking some time for meditation practice
Me: Wheeee! Congratulations, Jana! OK, seriously – get serious about this!
MR: Bring your awareness to your breath wherever you feel it most prominently in your body. It may be at the nose, neck, chest, belly, or somewhere else. As you breathe in normally and naturally….
Me: I feel it in my chest…but also in my nose. Can I go back and forth between the two? No, I’d better stick with one. The chest…no, the nose! My nose. That feels so weird – the air is cold and I feel it just around the edges of my nostrils. I bet they are all flaring out and stuff when I breathe. Good thing no one is here to see that. Wait – you’re supposed to be concentrating on your breathing…in and out, in and out.
MR: …no need to visualize, count, or figure out the breath; just be mindful of breathing in and out. Without judgment, just watch the breath ebb and flow like waves in the sea. Just one inhalation…
Me: Waves in the sea – that’s pretty. I love the sound waves make…and watching them crash into the shore…or gently wash in and out. Just like the beach in that movie last night. That was pretty. Except that the whole movie was about people killing themselves. Maybe I shouldn’t be thinking about suicides while I’m trying to meditate. Focus on the breath, Jana! In and out, in and out.
MR: From time to time, attention may wander from the breath. When you notice this, simply acknowledge where you went and gently bring your attention back to the breath. Breathing normally and naturally…
Me: You can say that again! I’m so easily distracted. And holy hell, it is cold in here! It’s hard to relax! It’s as cold as a witch’s tit. Why do they use that phrase? How cold is a witch’s tit anyway? And who figured out that it was cold? I mean, you can’t just walk up to a witch and cop a feel – you’d probably get hit with a curse or something! Oh, jeez – I did it again! Breathe! Pay attention to your breath – breathing in, exhaling out.
MR: …without manipulating the breath in any way, just be aware of the breath as it comes and goes…
Me: I should totally write a blog post about this. What would I call it? I’d have to come up with an interesting title. Titles are always the hardest for me… Dammit, Jana – breathe for God’s sake – breathe!
MR: There’s no place to go and nothing else to do, just be in the here and now, noticing the breath…
Me: Was that a text message coming in on my phone? No – don’t think about that – just focus on your breath! This is nearly over, you can look at it then. What if it is important? Should I just sneak a quick peek? NO, Jana – breathe or die!
MR: As you come to the end of this meditation, congratulate yourself for taking this time to be present, realizing that it is an act of love. May we be at peace.
Me: It’s over already? I don’t want to go back to work – I was just getting into this! I love the sound of the gong at the end! I need to get me one of those…
Have you ever tried meditation? (OK — when I wrote that, my fingers automatically typed “medication” — I’m not sure what that says about me). Does your mind race all the time? Do you believe there are 45 minute meditations on my phone? How in the hell am I supposed to concentrate for 45 minutes???