Focused Living, One Month at a Time

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Challenge #11, May 2012: SITTING STILL

I will meditate for 15 minutes every day 
(sounds simple enough!)

Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don't realize this because almost everyone is suffering from it, so it is considered normal. This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being.  –Eckhart Tolle

Slooooooooooow down!  I am always trying to tell myself, sound familiar?  Why is always so damn hard to get the little hamsters off the treadmill in my ever-agitated brain?   Tasks to do, pieces to write, work to finish, connections to follow up on, work outs to do – it never stops.  So this month I decided to try to sit still for a while and see if this would really help quiet my mind a bit.  What is meditating exactly?  I knew very little, so I decided to look it up, and found there were many variations, most basically intended to create a “mode of consciousness to realize some benefit”, hmmm that’s pretty broad.  A lot of it is about focusing on the breath and proper breathing technique, and supposedly most beneficial to do it every day…

How It Went
Nominating this for the all time toughest challenge to date - winner by a landslide!  To actually carve out 15 minutes in my day, every single day to STOP and just breathe was kinda tortuous actually.  I managed to complete it only 13 of 31 days (irregularly, with no particular pattern among which days). Unlike the blissed out beach girl in the photo, I just couldn’t get into it most of the time. I usually found my mind wandering to all kinds of predictable places: hamsters sweating it out as they churned up a storm about everything from groceries to grant writing to gallivanting about the planet, all as I tried to simply breathe.

What I learned
·      I have new appreciation for people that do this every day – what’s their secret for staying focused and how the heck did they learn to kick out the hamsters?  Is it discipline that turns into habit, which eventually becomes a welcome pleasure, really?  Maybe I just didn’t try to plan/force/cram it into my day often enough to get to the benefits.
·      Sitting upright in a chair, on the floor, and once laying down (which predictably turned into a short nap) were the various poses I tried.  The floor worked out best, but my too-tight-from-running legs didn’t like that bent knee lotus position, so I modified it to just stretch my legs straight out in front of me, slightly bent which was most comfortable.  And eyes closed was definitely better than eyes open – less to potentially distract me.
·      Quiet is key for me.  The fewer leaf blowers, angry crows, basketballs bouncing on the pavement, and hammering of nails, the better.
·      I do actually think (probably subconsciously) as much as I did do helped me relax a bit overall, because I didn’t seem to let as much of the big stuff bother me in general this month – I am just recognizing that in retrospect now, hmmm.

What I am doing about it
FAIL is the word that came to mind at the end of this month, so I am breaking my own rule for this project and carrying this challenge forward to next month:  June is Meditation Part Deux – eventually getting to a full 30 days of 15 minutes a day, even though it is gonna take me 60 days.  At the end of May I hadn’t really picked out a challenge for the month that I was crazy about (Yoga was the most prominent idea, now gonna push that to July) and work has been so busy and all kinds of other (blah, blah, blah…excuses) things are going on such that by today I hadn’t started anything else, sigh.  But I am going to give myself a break and carry on, trying a few different techniques this month.  Does anyone else find meditating difficult (or easy)?   Am I a glutton for punishment for trying this again?

1 comment:

  1. Have you tried guided meditation? Available online and can really help you to focus when starting out. Highly recommend. You will get there. Patience and continual practice and the reward is great.