Meditating can be really boring. Really, I think, that’s the point: you create a situation where your mind will be naturally bored, and then you train your mind to recognize when it’s escaping from the boredom, and force it to stay with the boredom. And then other emotions come up, and you train it to be present even in those other emotions, and not to spin stories about what caused those emotions.
It’s practice for being present all the time.
When I’m meditating, my mind has a full repertoire of things it wants to do instead.
It thinks up first lines for blog posts.
It reflects on work, on what happened last night, on what might happen today.
It tells itself that it’s so much smarter than everyone else and proves it by solving all the world’s problems.
It figures out how to get my mom out of that damned chair and moving around again, lectures her stupid doctor about how he needs to treat her depression before she depresses herself to death.
It judges my body. Sit up straighter, it tells my shoulders and upper back and shows it a picture of an old lady slumped over her cane. Do you want to look like this some day? Relax those feet, those hips.
It judges itself. You’re not doing it right. You’re not even listening to the guide and I think he just said something really interesting, really important that I needed to hear. Maybe we should restart this meditation from the beginning and do it right this time. What did he say 5 minutes ago, to listen to the silence behind the chatter? You’re not doing that. You’re not doing it right.
Yap, yap, yap, chatter, chatter chatter. Sometimes meditation is just about recognizing how noisy the mind is. And knowing that there is a still point in there – no, don’t go look for it, just trust that it is there, let it be there – and letting the chatter flow around it like the waters of a stream flowing around a large stone.
Nobody said it would be easy.
People practice meditation their whole lives and sometimes only catch glimpses of that stone.
When I first started practicing meditation, I practiced in the morning, at lunch – that was pure escapism, that, because I was working with some royal bitches at the time and just wanted to get away from them. It made me feel superior to their superiority, knowing that I was Meditating while they were being petty. That was my escape, telling myself that instead of taking action – and I meditated at night. I meditated on the subway or in line at the bank or in the dentist’s chair. This is how long ago I started meditating, that there weren’t smartphones yet, those easy escapes.
Only meditating in the dentist’s chair was really helpful. The rest was just escape.
Now I meditate less, scroll more. But I still try to meditate in the morning. And I meditate in difficult situations, focus on becoming the empty cup, the silence that the situation can flow through.
I focus on being present.
Sometimes it’s actually easier in a difficult situation than when you sit down to practice.
Have you found that?