I haven’t sat through, nor attempted, a meditation session for months.
As the world crashed to a halt, you would think a practice that requires you to sit and quiet your mind would be something I had endless time for.
You are correct—I had all the time in the world.
But time means nothing if you do not have something pushing you. If the want, drive, and ambition have faded from your practice, then time is useless. This was my exact downfall; I had no want to sit and quiet my mind.
My world didn’t change much when the pandemic lockdown began. I still worked-part time. I still saw my friends via video chat. I still had a loving partner whom I was able to quarantine with, who had just happened to be laid off from her job as a massage therapist.
Okay, well there was a tad bit of upheaval.
I watched my twice-a-day meditation go to once a day, three times a week, once a week—and now two months. Two months that my mind has been in autopilot, steering the wheel to this Mack Truck of incessant thoughts. Two months of doing nothing but worrying about the future and ruminating on the past.
Two months of no practice.
So, today I sit on my porch. It is 4:54 a.m. and I am engaged in another night of sleep roulette. This night, I land on 3 a.m. as my wake-up time for the day. Usually, my sleep comes calling again around 6 a.m., just in time for me to not have time to find the comfort of my pillow again until the day is over.
But today, I have time, a quiet house, and the early morning hours to sit and try to meditate for the first time in months. Mostly, I have the want, the will, and the strength to try my practice again.
After completing this session, I am compelled to share a piece of knowledge that has stuck with me for years.
We are told and taught, and practice, to have a completely clear mind when meditating, thoughts emptied out like sand from a bucket scattered all over, but not inside, our precious psyche.
This is false. This is false. This is false.
We are flying through life at an almost constant speed of complete lack of attention to the moment, the here and now, the current plane our feet are planted on and nowhere else. This lack of mindfulness causes our bodies—our minds—to become overloaded with stimulation without us even being aware.
So, when we sit down finally after two months—on a porch, on a curbside, in a car, or at our office desk—and we close our eyes, count the in and out breaths until it is all our mind is focusing on, and finally, our mind is as quiet as our surroundings and we are given the opportunity to finally clear it…
Then it comes. Racing toward our inner quiet space.
Ruminating past memories.
Upcoming promotional news.
Raw visions of lovers and friends, come and gone.
A complete breakdown over the degrading conversation you had with that person a few days, weeks, or months ago.
Our meditation practice, while a time for us to be present and mindful in the moment, doesn’t always mean complete thought silencing. When we finally quiet our minds and turn off autopilot, we are feeling authentically and begin processing important situations we have forgotten about in the daily hustle and bustle. It is not uncommon to become full of emotion. We are not practicing improperly if thoughts come and go constantly throughout our session.
We are responsible for pulling the reins on our thoughts and not allowing them to take over our session. Feel these emotions. See these thoughts. Then, move on.
Put them in the proverbial box in your mind and do not ruminate nor worry about them when put there, for they are dealt with now and no longer deserve or require our energy.
Return your mind and body to the here-and-now feeling of body touching the ground, leg cold on flooring, and back straight as an arrow. Begin counting your breathing—the in and out, like the rhythm of your soul you’re familiar with if you allow your body to remember.
And don’t forget to breathe.