Into the Breach

So, this is my first post—and a day after my first attempt at meditating in what I tend to think of as the traditional mode of this practice: that is sitting and following the breath. (I do kirtan on a regular basis, which is how I usually get my mindfulness kicks.) Now—I fully confess—given that my profile name here is ‘i like coffee’ I’m kind of expecting this ’28 day Meditation Challenge’ to live up to the final word in that title.

But let me set the scene: yesterday I woke up at 5:20 in the morning to fly for 5 1/2 hours and then to drive for another 3/12 hours to a small town in Mexico. By the time I got to my destination it was close to 7:30. So. Yo estaba cansada. But after dinner, and a cup of coffee (my profile name, it speaks the truth)—I went upstairs to sit.

At first I became very aware of the jangle of tired nerves dinning in my body. Wow, I thought, I’m just tuning into my own exhaustion. But a funny thing happened: as I made my way back and back again to the breath the jangling began to ebb. What about that old mind of mine—did it wander this way and that? Yep, it sure did. But I kind of found that the ticker-tape of thoughts began to fall behind some smoother area in my brain. (Perhaps the place where my exhaustion was so intense I couldn’t think anymore.)

This sounds not so bad for a first go, but let me just say that during my tyro’s first twenty minutes of meditation a rooster across the street—with a crooked circadian rhythm—crowed once or twice, and my Jack Russell terrier responded with a volley of indignant barks: it was by no means the perfect setting. But maybe, just maybe, my expectations for this 28 day experiment have shifted a little.

Next time the dog goes outside. And the rooster will just have to get used to me.