I feel like the whole world is an insurance salesman trying to sell me on meditation. I’ve tried it. It sucks.
Actually, I suck. At it.
What’s the point of facing failure, again and again?
How can that be helpful?
Now that I’m enrolled in yoga teacher training, the meditation salesmen have turned into hawkers on the street–bellowing their trade.
Alright, already, I say, I’ll try it. Again. But not the expensive 45 minute session that Jon Kabat-Zinn is selling. I’ll take the shoddy 10 minutes please, twice a day.
Sometimes, I open my eyes to check the clock, certain that I’m close to 10, only to see that it’s been 3.
How is that possible?
How have I sat here for an eternity and only 3 minutes has passed?
Other times, I fall asleep. More than once. The other night I fell asleep 5 times. In 10 minutes. (Okay, I was meditating in bed under the covers.)
I am a hopeless meditator; while my husband, who decides to join me, just for fun–drifts into a mind-expanding trip through the Cosmos–while I sit there, in the same dense place, with the same monkey-mind, waiting for him to return.
“C’mon already. Stop meditating.”
Is that fair? That’s not fair.
It was the latest hawker of meditation who pushed me past my failure. His name was Marc. He was a guy from my own town. Instead of a guru on a cd, or in a book, or on tv.)
Marc described meditation as training a puppy, and I’ve heard that before. In fact, I’ve labeled my own mind a toddler.
Marc talked about how we have to bring our mind back, again and again, to the breath–without judgement.
Yada, yada, yada.
He said that it’s the hardest thing we’ll ever do.
Don’t I know it.
He said that we all pretty much suck at meditation except for the rare Olympic minds who settle right into timelessness.
What was that?
Everyone else sucks too? (Okay, Marc might not have said suck, but he said something like that, and suddenly his voice was like the last drop of water which causes the bowl to overflow…)
Nothing compares to showing up for yourself in structured silence.
You don’t have to get anywhere.
The point isn’t to have some transcendent experience.
The point is to keep showing up for yourself.
Even though it’s tedious.
Tedious? Yes, that’s exactly it! But how can that be of any value?
I know the value of allowing “white space” in a work conference; and I know how much I value it on my calendar. So why not around my mind?
But how am I to create white space with a mind that never ceases to write?
Maybe that’s not the point. Maybe I don’t have to get better at it. Maybe being “good” at meditation is irrelevant. Maybe I can just let it suck.
But what about meditators? I know some, even famous ones, and I don’t see their lives playing out any better than mine.
But maybe “they’re” not the point either. Maybe meditation is just about me.
I decide to try.
I show up for 10 minutes. Morning and night. For 3 days.
And somehow ten–absolutely broken minutes–of nothing else… makes a difference.
I feel it my ears.
In my feet.
In my heart.
Maybe I’ll keep up at this.
Maybe I’ll even buy more.
Kelly Salasin, June 2012