My meditation journey began about three years ago. I had come to yet another turning point in my life. My marriage had dissolved, I was homeless (again) and couch surfing, and not quite sure what my next move was going to be. I was working the 12 steps with a group of women and typically we would get together, have dinner, and then we would commence with the 12 step work. On one of these evenings, we were eating and one of the women was talking about a book that she read that changed her and the way that she viewed spirituality and meditation. To be honest, I didn’t want to hear it. She was talking about her experience and I was not really listening, the book was the Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer, I didn’t care. The other women were talking about the book, one said she hadn’t read it, another said that she read and loved it, I simply did not care. I was eagerly awaiting a new topic of conversation. The next two meetings were more of the same. She went on and on (or so I thought) and I waited for a new topic, again I didn’t want to hear it. I had so much respect for this woman and what she brought to the table but I just couldn’t listen to this from her, I didn’t know why but I just couldn’t hear it. Soon after this happened, she ended up leaving the group.
I had decided to rent a seasonal place in Rockport for the winter to figure out my next move. It was a 6 month rental, right on the ocean, it was an amazing spot. I just needed to clear my head and decide where to go from here. I had been staying with my Uncle but he was not well and was on hospice, I was so grateful to spend the time with him but he needed his space and so did I. My place was a little cottage with two rooms, one had two twin beds and the other had a tv, daybed, and a hot plate. It was right on the ocean, simple, and perfect. I also decided that I was going to work on the parts of myself that I had been unaware of until this point in my recovery. When this relationship ended I could see that my relationships always failed because I was choosing the wrong person. I was choosing relationships that were doomed to fail. My low self-esteem was keeping me stuck in a repetitive cycle of failed relationships, same guy, different face. I was finally able to see it, so now I could change it. I knew this would be hard work but I was ready for it.
At this point in time, meditation had come to mind. I wanted a new level of peace in my life. My closed mind wasn’t effective anymore in this area, everywhere I turned I heard something about meditation, clearly it was time. I had no clue where to begin. I thought it would be a good idea to read a book, maybe the book that the women at my 12 step group were discussing, maybe it kept being discussed in my presence for a reason, maybe I should no longer ignore the signs. I mentioned before that one of the women, the one that seemed to always be talking about the book, left our group but there was another that had also read the book so I texted her. I got the name of the book, downloaded an audio book app and ordered the book. As soon as I started listening I was hooked, this was it, this was exactly what I needed. I eagerly began studying. I decided to listen to another of his books, and I did. I then downloaded The Three Pillars of Zen by Roshi Philip Kapleau. I began to realize that there are so many different styles of meditation. I didn’t know what to do. I did know that the Zen style wasn’t for me, that was way too rigid for an easy going woman like me. Nobody ever told me that there were different ways to do this. I had no idea! How would I narrow it down? I went on to listen to several books by Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle. I even listened to a couple of versions of the Bhagavad Gita and to be completely honest, this book is my favorite. I spent over a year listening to audio books about meditation and I still hadn’t meditated yet. I talked about it, read/listened about it, and had not yet sat in silence. I was so intimidated! I understood the theory at this point but didn’t know if I would know if I was doing it right. How would I know?
The only way that I would know would be to finally do it. So, I made a plan. The number that stuck out for me in all of the listening that I had done until this point is that 30 minutes seemed to be the recommended time allotment for meditation. So, I planned to sit for 30 minutes and see what happened. I sat on the sofa, I couldn’t imagine keeping my legs crossed for 30 minutes so I didn’t even consider doing that. I was sure that I would not be walking for a good, long time after that so that was a “no” on the crossed legs. So, I got in position and sat without any music. As I tried to sit there I felt like every single part of my body starting with my nose, got itchy. I wanted to scratch but I remembered reading somewhere that this would eventually pass. Our minds try to fight us getting in touch with the quiet place inside and this is one big way that my mind fights it. I found that when I ignore this it eventually does pass.
I tried to sit for the 30 minute time that I had settled on but it was way too long! I tried 20 minutes and that was too long also. I was already breaking the rules, I started to think that meditation wasn’t for me. Maybe there’s a type of person that can meditate and I am just not the type. I wasn’t a hippy, a tree-huggers, or a vegan, clearly this wasn’t for me. I began to get discouraged but I kept listening to audiobooks. I decided to try to sit for 3 minutes, maybe if I could do that, I could work my way up to 30 minutes. So I sat. I put some music on, my nose was so itchy, but I sat. I did it! I managed to sit quietly for 3 minutes, of course my mind was all over the place but I sat still for 3 minutes, I was a success! Eventually I got up to 5 minutes, I was so proud of myself. I found guided meditations on YouTube and these were better for me. It was very helpful to have someone guide me on this journey. I really enjoyed some of them and others I didn’t like at all. The thing about meditation is that it’s very personal. We are all different and it only makes sense that we would have different styles when it comes to meditation. Nobody ever talks about this! Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about this??? So the moral of the story is…do whatever works for you!!!! Learn the basics, and do what brings you peace, this is my simple PSA about meditation and if you do these things guess what? YOU’RE NOT DOING IT WRONG!!!!