Catching Up and Coming Back for More

Monday-Thursday, February 1-4, 2016

Travelling and recovering from travelling is hard and time-consuming. But I prepared my travel companion for my need to meditate and prepared me as a consequence. I missed only one meditation and settled for less than ideal conditions once. Some meditating, I learned, is better than none.

My travel companion asked, “What do you get from meditation?” I told her that it quiets my brain. I also offered her what a fellow Challenge participant (Ellen S on 1/29/2016) said, “It is hygiene for your brain/ mind/heart/body.”

It was easy to find time to listen to Sharon’s guided meditations through February 4. Some ideas or images have stuck with me. “Just the one breath” tethers me easily to that one breath. And the analogy of seeing the breath like you might see an old friend in a crowd – you have no eyes for anyone or anything but her – helps me see how to make the breath fascinating.

With each of Sharon’s guided meditations, I added another tool to my toolkit. I might not need counting today, but maybe I will tomorrow. I use notations occasionally. Usually the word is “relax” but today it was “just the one breath.” During my travels, I tried meditating to the sound of a ticking clock. The ticking clock turns out not to be my ideal environment: with every tick, I anticipated the next tick and my breath was not my priority. But, I do enjoy guided meditation. I listen to the words and especially to the spaces between the words. I like the spaces a lot. I wonder if I could meditate in the presence of other sounds – like sirens or bar music wafting into a hotel room or dogs barking at a treed coon. Could I?

On Day 3, my ever-present challenge was prominent: “We don’t want to stop our thoughts but to change our relationship with them.” But I remind myself that when I started meditating (years ago, but not seriously), my thoughts were chaotic and pinged off themselves as well as the walls of my brain. Now I can count my thoughts. I know that progress will come with practice and patience. And meditation will bring patience.

And on Day 4? “We don’t practice to become better meditators, we meditate to have a better life.” I will confess to wanting to be a better meditator – whatever that means. But in the meantime, meditating offers me a better life and it’s what keeps me coming back for more.