Being mindful is hard work and this meditation thing is even harder. Every class I take inspires me and reminds me of the benefits of meditation and I think I have generally learned to become more mindful, more present in my daily life. I pause more often to just feel the sun warming me, the wind refreshing me. I more often hear the noises, music and the silence that surrounds me. I more often notice the texture, colour, smell and taste of food (especially sea salt and dark chocolate covered caramel – yum). And I am more aware of my thoughts and feelings. But a consistent meditation practice has repeatedly eluded me. So I enrolled in another mindfulness meditation course to motivate and inspire my practice.
My wonderful Buddhist meditation teacher Marco Mascarin reminded me to anchor my practice with breath (follow the breath as I sit quietly) and to approach the practice with curiosity and to simply observe my thoughts without judgment.
Teacher: Settle into your chair. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, elongate the spine, rest your hands in your lap. Close your eyes. Follow your breath.
Me: Okay, follow my breath. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Okay, this is working. I’m following my breath. I’m meditating. Oh…My heart is beating pretty strongly. I never noticed that it beats this strongly. Am I supposed to feel it this strongly? I don’t think this is normal…. breathe in, breathe out, breathe in …. My heart is still beating pretty strongly. Is there something wrong with my heart. Thank goodness that my doctor booked that EKG for me later this week for that other problem. No I’m sure its fine. These are just thoughts, observe the thoughts, follow the breath….
What did Marco say to remember … oh yeah….the body is like a mountain, the breath is like the wind and the mind is like space. The mind is like space, the mind is like space, breathe.
What’s that noise outside the room? It sounds like a cart being pushed through the lobby. It think it’s the caterer’s cart. I wonder what they’re serving for our break. Maybe something with chocolate. Don’t think about food, you’re supposed to be meditating. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out,..mind like space…observe the thoughts and let them float away on the clouds….
Oh Oh….I think I’m getting another hot flash. Oh sh*#! Not now. Okay, what am I supposed to do. Just notice. I’m noticing that the heat is starting in my abdomen and chest and rising to my head. My head feels like’s going to explode. Thank goodness everyone else has their eyes closed they can’t see the sweat running down my face. Can I strip off my clothes mindfully. Would anyone notice if I stripped down to my bra and panties. Don’t strip. Don’t strip! DON’T STRIP! Just observe the hot flash. It will pass. Sure it will pass after my head has exploded and my brains are spread all over the other people meditating. My teachers won’t like that….No judgment. Simply approach thoughts with curiosity. Follow the breath. Okay I didn’t strip and I think my hot flash is subsiding. This is good. This is progress, I’m still meditating. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out….
This would make a good blog post. Hmmm… what would the title be. No no no…don’t think about this now. I’m meditating now. My mind is like space. Calling the post mindfulness meditation would be boring. But what else can I call it? Hmm…Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out….I really like this idea for a blog post. Maybe I can call it my messy mind but that sounds judgmental. We’re not supposed to judge, just observe. Maybe ‘messy’ doesn’t have to be negative. Messy is just a descriptor. It isn’t negative is it? Oh oh, Remember. I’m meditating… Watch my thoughts. Follow my breath…. Boy these thoughts take up a lot of space in my head… I know, I can call this “Mindfulness Meditation: Watching my loud, messy wise mind.” I think that’s a good title…Breathe in… breathe out….
Teacher: Slowly bring yourself back to the room and when you are ready slowly open your eyes.
Me: Wow, I just meditated for 15 minutes. This is good. I can do this tomorrow…..