Meditation is very trendy, right now, when it comes to personal development and self-discovery, and so I too decided to give it a try (without any hope that it would help me). I started in November of 2018 and have been practicing on and off with no real schedule - just whenever I had time and desire. In the beginning, I rarely wanted to meditate and mostly forced myself to sit down and focus on a session. I started with ten-minute exercises that concentrate on alleviating stress and anxiety.
After about eight or ten sessions, I decided to venture out and try other courses that were promoted daily or touched on happiness, gratitude, patience or self-discovery. I have to admit that after a few months I've started to enjoy my downtime more and more. I found each session helpful and useful as it gave me new prospectives, desire to improve and things to consider.
From a ten minutes session, I moved to 20-minute ones when I had time. And though I still find it hard to focus and sit still for so long, the CALM app guides me through the whole experience. The sessions are designed specifically to help the newbies to stay on track and to slowly immerse into the world of meditation. The guidance is not forceful, but it does remind you to be present, to breath and focus on the breathing, to come back to the session if your mind wandered off. Every instructor softly reminds you to stay in the moment, not to rush to the next choir, and not to get distracted by technology.
The non-judgmental reminders throughout the session help me to stay in the moment. So often my brain is off to the next thing before I am done with a current project. I am always thinking about what is next while checking email, text messages, or missed calls. Being a mother of two, I m continually checking whether I have food in the fridge, kids' laundry is clean, their pickups/dropoffs are arranged, or their extra activities are planned. Most of the time, I don't have the luxury to be still. The CALM app helps me to stay centered in one place even if it is for ten minutes -- I am starting to enjoy that.
Now to my small personal victory.
As I mentioned, guided sessions help me to stay in the moment and enjoy every breath while sitting quietly with my eyes closed. I work hard on this - being present in the moment. And I think because of these sessions, my brain has started to use the same tactics during day-to-day events.
The other day, I was in my car driving home. The traffic was not moving, and I've started to think about my recently discovered old friend. We used to hang out a lot about 14-15 years ago when I was starting college. A few years later, we went separate ways. He was older and had different interest and a career to grow. I was still in college and was trying to figure out my life.
A few months ago, we met at my child's daycare. It was so strange to see him after so many years. He has not changed much except got older. We made a point to stay in touch. Of course, staying in touch is a hard job when you have families and demanding careers. We have been trying to schedule lunches or coffee breaks, but it is very hard due to scheduling conflicts. This drives me crazy and makes me stressed. I hate that we have to cancel very often on each other while the other is ready to go. I feel like life is just against us, and we need to give up.
But that day in the car as I was driving and thinking about this new old friend, I thought - why am I rushing things? If our schedules are not working out, that is fine. We still occasionally text and exchange news. We are aware of each other, and when the time comes, the families will meet too. You will not believe what relief I felt as I was working this out in my head. I could feel the stress of this relationship going away; I felt lighter. I felt strong and in control. It was good.
As I type this out, it does not sound as dramatic, but for me it was. At that moment, I realized that I tend to rush through things instead of enjoying the ride. I tend to rush through books to know the end. I tend to rush through evenings with my kids trying to put them to bed. I tend to rush through conversations trying to get to the next one. Why? Why don't I enjoy these simple life pleasures like I enjoy ten minutes of meditation?
This was big for me - not running but stopping for a second. Stopping to think and enjoy the moment. Be in the moment - I often hear when listening to meditation guidance. Enjoy the breath, focus on the breathing and in turn focus on yourself and the moment. I think it is so relevant to everyday life and events. We tend to fly through our lives moving towards the next thing by quickly accomplishing the current project. Whether it is career, family, hobbies, books or yoga sessions, we tend to rush without learning how to enjoy each precious moment of our short lives.
I cannot claim to understand it all yet. But I can that I am enjoying the journey. I intend to meditate more and discover new secrets as they open up to me.