I started to meditate on a daily basis. At first, I planned to release this post one month into it, but decided to get it out there to motivate myself. Also, I had an empowering talk about meditation that reminded me of the power of sharing.1 A talk that, and this I find quite amazing, just developed because I ‘hearted’ two articles about meditation on Instapaper, which was publicized in my Twitter stream and then seen by my dialog partner.
Meditation. Seriously? Like my best friend would say: ‘You’re such a HIPPIE!’
For information about the specific type of meditation (Vipassana) better jump to the section at the end and read Dan’s articles. However, what I do is: Sitting, eyes closed, breathing in and out, counting from one to ten for 15 minutes.
On the first day, it was hard for me to sit up straight. When I sat on my bed, eyes closed for more than 2 minutes, I felt like I tilted to the right. Also, I couldn’t get my legs in the right position. The counting and breathing was the least I worried about.
On the third day, I realized that 15 minutes feel like a very, very short time. That may indicate how many thoughts there are in my head that keep me from getting bored, like I probably should. When the bell rings, I’m much more settled than before. Checking Twitter, Mail, ordering espresso, having breakfast, packing the right books, checking for new podcasts, all that stuff, that are my mornings until now. Information overflow, a self made pressure of keeping everything up to date, clean and as I ‘would want it’: Guilty as charged.
A real #firstworldproblem that even #ProjectEarlyBird doesn’t solve entirely (even though it gives you the best starting position to do so yourself). But after I meditate, I feel settled down and more focused on what I want and should do to feel good, what the day might keep for me and what I can get out of it. During the day, I’m almost excited for the session the next morning.
On the fourth day, I couldn’t get the ‘flow’, as you might say. I didn’t lose count, that wasn’t the problem. My thoughts wandered away, and every time I hit ten, I remembered that I was counting and shouldn’t be thinking. Then, I started to concentrate on my in- and deflating chest while breathing. That made it easier (Concentrating on a part of the body sensitive to your breath was a tip from an early ‘Back to Work’ episode). It worked better than when I tried to visualize the numbers.
On the fifth day, I really struggled. It felt like I could’ve aborted the meditation right in the middle and nothing would’ve happened. I didn’t lose count, but in the periods from one to ten, my thoughts jumped around like a Duracell bunny on LSD. But again, the fifteen minutes felt like five, and all of that shows how much psychological load2 I’m carrying.
On the seventh day, I didn’t lose count either, but also didn’t feel very focused. Well, a bit more than on the fifth day. Patience, here I come.
The articles mentioned above are the first two about meditation in Dan Benjamin’s blog Hivelogic. Here they are.
Recommended across the board: Mindfulness in Plain English. Yes, a book. It’s free. PDF, ePub, Amazon, no excuses. Great stuff in it. Maybe some passages from it will make it in a ‘Quotes’-Post.