Frustrating

March 11, 2010

Today’s meditation was actually six minutes long, but I can honestly say I was so easily distracted I don’t know how worthwhile it was! I noticed my neck itching, my stomach hurting, I fidgeted and had a very difficult time today. My mind couldn’t focus on my breath, instead repeating song lyrics. I’m kind of disappointed with myself, but — these things happen. It can be very difficult to build a good meditation practice and I have been slacking. Therefore, perhaps I will try again a bit later, and perhaps not. Either way, I am definitely trying to take more advantage of the sunlight we’re having and walk in it.

Last night’s meditation happened for a few minutes in the bathtub with the ‘mantra’ of: Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna…

Today I did my five minutes in the early morning hours, while my partner was in bed, asleep. I lit a single tealight in my lotus-shaped lantern. For this five minutes I felt and noticed the heaviness of my body. I felt somewhat tired, but moreso relaxed. I noticed my heartbeat and the way I could feel it in my upper arms.

Third Meditation

March 2, 2010

This morning’s meditation took place in bed. I lay quietly, eyes closed, and paid attention to my breath and the feel of the blankets. I fell back asleep during this one, but I feel it was successful. I have a calm energy today.

A snafu!

March 2, 2010

I should have known I’d have difficulty with my plan as I started it right before my weekend of work. I work twelve hour shifts for three days straight, and typically I’m so exhausted that I work — come home & sleep — work again. I don’t usually wake up and give myself time to do much of anything. I did not meditate Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

My meditation today was plagued by a racing mind, ticking off lists of things I have to do. I tried to contemplate my breath, but I had a very hard time today. I didn’t make it through my five minutes. Better tomorrow, I’ll make sure I go five and if I feel I can sit longer, I’ll push for that.

I set a timer for myself in the kitchen, so I’d know when five minutes had passed. Five minutes seems like such a short time, but it’s really somewhat long. That is a thought that passed through my mind.

The first thing I did was sit with my eyes open, noticing how much sun was coming through my bedroom window. After that, I noticed my hands were cold, and then, I noticed my spine didn’t feel quite straight.

After that, I closed my eyes and fell into a habit of watching my breathing. This is something I learned in yoga classes; specifically I was breathing in on “sat” and out on “naam”, a practice I learned in a few kundalini classes. In Sanskrit, Sat means beingness or existence or truth, and Naam literally means, the Name. It indicates Identity. This mantra means basically, “I am Truth”, or “Truth is my identity”.

Once I fell into breathing with this mantra, the time passed more quickly. I felt I could almost hear a light music in my mind, and I became aware of the rising and falling of my breath, the feeling of the belt of my house robe against my belly as I breathed deeply. Overall, I was sad to hear the timer pip, and I take that as a good thing. We’ll see what tomorrow holds!

Meditation

February 25, 2010

I’ve been doing a lot of reading around in various places about meditation, as well as doing a little more reading of sacred texts. It seems that my own difficulties with meditation plague plenty of people who are just beginning to practice — and the general consensus is that one should start small.

I’ve always been that person who wants to do well at everything they try their hand at, and I have little patience for myself when I don’t automatically succeed. Meditation for me has been like this; I have difficulty sitting still, and I have a LOT of difficulty quieting my mind. I have learned in my readings that one doesn’t necessarily have to quiet one’s mind in the beginning. Using things like a smoldering stick of incense, a flickering candle, or a gong (or singing bowl!) to help draw attention and keep focus has been recommended to me on some fora I asked a few questions on. The idea is that, in the beginning, even a five minute meditation will do. Building up time is something that takes daily practice.

So here, starting today, is my plan: at 9am, every day, I will sit in silence in my room for five minutes. I will attempt to simply be. I will notice my body, what it is feeling, the environment around me. This simple act of noticing or “being” is referred to in Buddhism as “mindfulness“. Mindfulness has a lot of applications — in recent years, we’ve seen seminars on mindfulness about everything from eating to your office life — and it’s easy to see why. Becoming more aware of oneself and one’s environment is a key step, I think, to becoming aware of one’s needs. And isn’t that what so many of us, people called ‘seekers’, are looking for? The answer to a simple disquiet, a need we may not even know we have?

I will keep track of my meditations here, as an effort to help myself build the habit. As it is, it’s 0853 now, which means in seven minutes, I will turn off every electronic in my house, light a stick of incense, and settle into the first of many five-minute meditations.