By Jonathan Kaplan, Ph.D.
Tonight, I did another 20-minute meditation on my breathing. My experience can best be described as "not unpleasant," kind of like eating oatmeal. You know, it's never like you're really craving or drooling over a bowlful of warmed oats with cinnamon. But, once you're eating it, you find yourself nodding in agreement that is is decidedly "not bad." Yeah, my meditation was like that tonight.
Indeed, often while sitting, the experience itself is not particularly noteworthy. There is no bliss state, no flash of insight, no torrential flood of emotions, no full-body itchiness, and no mental gymnastics. It's just sitting and noticing. Again like eating oatmeal, you know that it's good for you, even though it's not particularly flashy. Perhaps because of the lack of mental and emotional fireworks, such meditations are significant due to the absence of anything negative. To continue the food analogy, it's not like we're having a sugar high, food coma, brain freeze, or hangover. The experience is not so dramatic, which can be refreshing. Sure, we might (not so secretly) want something flashy and juicier ("Waiter, nirvana please!"), but sometimes a bowl of oatmeal feels just right.