"If it weren't for my mind, my meditation would be excellent." --Pema Chodron
I think when most of us think about meditation we have this idea of a still mind, a quiet body, an idyllic experience.
The truth, for most of us, is far from this ideal.
I have had the chance lately to talk to a couple of people about meditation and the basic theme has been "I can't."
"I can't because my mind won't stay still."
"I can't because I don't have the time."
"I can't because I don't know how."
I laugh now when I see a flyer for a "meditation class," despite having taken at least five or six of these myself, and getting a lot out of each one.
The fact is, no one can teach you how to meditate because meditation is completely different for every person.
But what it is not - for most of us anyway - is a blissful hour of complete silence and stillness.
What it is for me is something like this:
Wake up. Think about all of the things I need to get done today. Start to make a list. Remember my commitment to "meditate first" every morning. Get up and drag my ass to the kitchen. Pour a glass of water. Head into the living room. Queue up my meditation CD (Master Choa Kok Sui chanting OM). Lie down on the couch. (I often meditate lying down, despite learning in at least a couple of my classes that this is "wrong.") Cover myself with blankets and start to breathe deeply. Realize part of my body is sticking out and reorganize my blankets. Take another deep breath. Start to think about all of the things I need to do today. Think about the TV show I watched last night. Wonder if the main character is going to figure out that she has really blown it this time. Realize I am not meditating. Take a drink of water. Rearrange my blanket. Take another deep breath.
You get the idea.
This goes on for 45 minutes to an hour - sometimes a lot less - and then I get up and start to make breakfast for the kids.
Maybe I felt complete bliss and the total love of the Universe and everything in it for a couple of minutes, maybe not. Usually I come away with at least three or four great ideas, many of which never see the light of day, but some that do.
The thing is it doesn't matter - not in the least - HOW it all goes. Just that it goes.
Last week I missed a day. By the end of the day I was so grumpy and angry and out of sorts that I sent myself to bed without any supper - to meditate. When I woke up the next morning, I headed for my spot without hesitation.
It doesn't matter WHAT you do or HOW you do it or WHERE or WHEN or even HOW MUCH you do - a good friend of mine does "just" ten minutes a day and finds that even this small practice makes a big difference in her life - it doesn't matter how it goes or even how you feel during your meditation.
All that matters is THAT you do it. That you sit - preferably every day - and breathe and connect with that part of yourself that knows itself to be One with everything. However that looks for you and however it works for you.
So don't get caught up in the myth of meditation, when you could be living the reality of its benefits, NOW.