Quieting the mind.
It’s kind of an impossible task, stopping the incessant chatter.
Instead, listening. Observing. Noticing without judging. Seeing without computing an opinion. Watching without engaging.
It’s such a simple concept. But I can’t deny that it’s difficult as all hell to put into practice. I swear I have a three-year-old in my brain who’s just learned to talk who yacks away in my head 24/7. It is very difficult to shut it up. I desperately need some peace.
I’ve written about my meditation attempts here before. Meditating is something I have been continuing to try to work into my daily life over the last few months, but it’s absolutely not something I have mastered yet.
I’ve been reading about it a lot lately, looking up podcasts and YouTube videos, and – get this – sitting down and trying to meditate.
I take a deep breath, and spend about 2 seconds focusing on not focusing. And it doesn’t work. All I can hear in my head is “no, stop! Stop thinking! Okay don’t say “stop thinking” because that counts as thinking. And stop humming rap songs, loser.”
I feed like I need guidance. But I’m given up when it comes to figuring out where to find it.
There is a Buddhist temple in my city with a sign that invites everyone to come meditate – but as you can imagine, I cannot bring myself to even seriously consider attending. My Ego tells me that I’d be judged and not be welcome there. I picture myself sitting there, doing it wrong somehow, watching others for cues but giving myself away, and people watching me back – wondering why a girl like me thought she had any right to intrude into their sacred place.
I know it’s not true. Not being welcome at a place of worship is unfathomable. But Mr. Ego has a very loud voice, and it’s even more difficult to ignore when I’m attempting to find quiet. It would add a layer of difficulty to an already difficult endeavour. It’s off the table for me.
I’m still looking for ways to meditate, though. I try to spend some time every day…
—Ugh. That’s a total lie. Lately I’ve only been doing it a couple of times a week. Meditating is really hard, and I don’t enjoy it. I’m just so bad at it!
I say this with a smile on my face. Meditation is practically (actually?) an industry nowadays because it’s so hard to conquer. And, we live in a world where we want clear instructions and a clear outcome. Really, just think about it. We want everything to happen so quickly, and our society has created the fastest ways to be rich, beautiful, and smart. The lottery. Liposuction. Wikipedia. Why hasn’t anyone figured out a way to instantly meditate?
Here are the steps to meditating:
Step 1: Don’t think.
Don’t we live in the most amazing age where anything is possible? The hundreds of thousands of webpages, books, recordings, TV shows, podcasts, and classes dedicated to teaching meditation must have figured out a simple way to actually meditate successfully for more than my 2-3 second average.
Why hasn’t anyone figured out foolproof steps to actually stop the mind from thinking!? A tried and true patented manual? A scientific method? Some kind of meditation life hack?
If a psychiatrist suggested that I plug my brain into a meditation machine, I would do it. In a heartbeat. I would buy it off Amazon, and I’d buy stocks in the company.
For now, I’m just going to continue to try and focus on my breath, the ticking of a clock, or the sounds of babbling brooks or mating whales on my phone. Actively tell myself to hush when it gets too loud in there.
But in the meantime, if anyone has a succinct get-enlighted-quick guide they’ve been hiding?
Gimme! I will give you all of my dollars (which, for the record, is zero dollars. Sorry).