I have attempted meditation many times in my adult life, and I have never quite taken to it. I think I’m pretty good at not beating myself up about “doing it wrong,” and I understand there are so many different ways to meditate. As long as the meditator attempts to achieve some kind of mental clarity during the meditation session, said meditator is on the right track.
I also know that it’s unrealistic to have an “empty” mind and that is not the goal at all. But sitting in a meditative state, going over today’s grocery list, and having thoughts chaotically bouncing around the brain without stopping, is also not meditating.* Ideally, it’s about mental control, mental discipline (even though control and discipline sound like harsh words, it’s a completely gentle practice). And ultimately, above all else, I think that awkwardly finding your way through the ins and outs of meditation, takes years and years to even come close to beginning to master, so in the end, it becomes about the commitment to try. Anyone committing to even try meditation and begin some kind of daily practice, is farther along than most.
*I think it’s normal to give yourself a few minutes of chaotic thinking, as the brain adjusts and purges itself of all the anxiety it’s been holding onto for hours, days, months, etc. But then at some point, you must reel it in if your practice is to improve.
I’m not beginning this practice so I can be farther along than most, however. I’m not really interested in being better than others, but only interested in being a better version of myself. The reason I’m beginning this, is because last night I was feeling restless and strange. A new moon is approaching, which means a portal is opening and the time to set new intentions is now. I have been feeling lately that my brain and my heart have so many things they want to accomplish, but my body and this life just can’t seem to keep up. So my motivation and inspiration are so high, and my body is just slugging along to catch up. Applying patience to the WHOLE situation that is my life has been really helping. I was so fatigued yesterday for some reason, so I wasn’t up for doing any physical activity. However, I was totally game for some internal challenges, so during some downtime after dinner, I decided to pull a card from my beautiful “The Goddess Power Oracle Deck” by Colette Baron-Reid. I’m in love with this deck and have felt so connected to it from the very beginning. The goddesses who have come to assist through this deck are all incredibly powerful, yet incredibly loving, and only want to help. But they will tell it like it is and do not have any problems with giving a bit of tough love. When I first worked with them, I was actually kind of intimidated, I could feel their power so strongly. But I want to be like them! So I swallowed my fears and have continued to work with them on a regular basis. On this last evening, the card I pulled, for whatever reason, stopped me in my tracks. I think because I was really ready for something.
A snippet of guidance from this card, “Parvati asks that you find silence in daily meditation to contemplate your devotion as well as your commitment to all of life and to making this world a better place.”
I have received guidance to meditate before. Many, many times. And I always felt like, eh, not ready yet. Eh, I really don’t want to, so I won’t. Eh, I think I’m doing pretty good so far, so I’ll pass. But for some reason, last night, I felt like I really needed to listen to this goddess. Before I pulled the card, I had asked what I could be doing now, what I needed to know, in order to move me along in my path. And like with any guidance you receive from within this world, or outside of this world, you can take it or leave it. You won’t be punished for not following a goddess’s advice. However, your life is what you make it, so if you want to make it better, the guidance that is offered is sure to deliver. Trust in this.
Before, I go any further, I must briefly discuss my experience with following guidance. For most of my life, I was single, and for most of my life, I thought I was trying really, really hard to find love. And I was in a way. But I was trying within the parameters of my comfort zone. And in order to find love, or manifest anything for that matter, you have to move outside of your zone of comfort. I had FINALLY reached a point in my life where I could admit to myself that what I was doing wasn’t working and that I didn’t know what I was doing. I made a decision to completely vulnerabalize (to make oneself vulnerable, from The Goddess Attainable dictionary of creative vocabulary) myself, listen to every single piece of advice I received, and to follow it, no matter what. I had put out a little prayer to keep me safe with all of this, of course. Something along the lines of, “Please show me the way, I don’t know the way, speak to me through others, and help me along.” So it was understood between me and my pal, the Universe, that any guidance I received would not lead me astray. As soon as I did this, my life began changing, and I’m now happy in love, like I never thought I would be. Anyway, that’s just a bit about heeding guidance that I thought I would share. And with regards to Parvati and meditation, I’m making a point that last night, and this morning for that matter, I could have chosen to ignore this guidance and my life would most likely not fall apart. We can pick up or put down anything we want in life, we have so much power. But I want to try to pick up this baton that has been handed to me, and see what happens. I’m ready for more in my life, even though I have so much already. But why not try?
The guidance from above resonated with me so very deeply, and I have of late been shifting my focus to service. I have always known that service in some form was probably in the cards for me (pun so totally intended), but I also knew that I had to get my life in order before I could be of service to others. I think I’m fairly along in the process and I can tell by the fact that I’m no longer as obsessed with self, and am becoming more obsessed with The Way of the Goddess. This guidance also comes in perfect timing with the fact that I have begun a new creative project in the hopes that it may be something inspiring and magical to children (and adults!) some day. It is slow going, but I am so committed to this work. So if meditation will help this along, I’m in!
With these fairy profiles, I envision a children’s book with an accompanying children’s oracle deck! I have a long way to go though, and working with the fairies takes precious time.
So, this morning, just after I woke up and before I ate, I got myself a glass of water, told my partner to leave me alone for the next 15 minutes so I could begin my meditation practice, and grabbed an old pillow from the living room closet. I plunked myself down and looked at my phone to note the time, 9:46am. I didn’t want to set a timer because then it just becomes about counting the minutes until the timer goes off (did I mention, I’ve tried this before). I want to be open to discovering how good this will make me feel and allowing it to enter my life in the way it wants to. So, I let the time go and did my best to do at least more than five minutes. I made it to 9:55, nine whole minutes, woohoo!
Some of the thoughts that entered my mind as I was “meditating”:
“I don’t like this, I don’t like this, I don’t like this”
“When is this over, when is this over, when will this be over?”
“My back hurts.”
Some other things I attempted to try were to focus on my breathing (this kind of never works for me and just makes me more nervous about my breath). I tried to belly breathe, but I really only have success with that when I’m horizontal. And then I remembered something from a meditation tutorial that was given to all staff by my place of employment. It was pretty cool, actually, even though it was a bit watered down. But this tutorial offered like 25 different things you can try when you are meditating, to just get you out of yourself. This was also encouraging to me, since many of the typical techniques that seem to work for most, just make me more anxious. So knowing that whatever you need to do to get you to a place of mental calm, is okay by the meditation gods, made me more confident in this process. For whatever reason, there was one technique that worked for me better than any other technique.
LISTEN TO YOURSELF LISTENING
For whatever reason, this technique always takes me outside of myself, almost in an instant. When I finally recalled this mantra, I began to hear the birds chirping, loudly and proudly. I began to hear the cars roaring by outside of my building. I noticed the whirrr of the fan in my room. And then I sort of mentally stepped outside of myself to notice myself listening to all of it. And in those moments, I saw/felt/understood my soul self. It wasn’t cathartic or earth shattering at all, and I don’t think meditation is supposed to be. But I did feel a shift. I do feel like I pivoted, and that is key. Shifting from blaaarghhhhhh$@!!!! to aaahhhhhh…is kind of the point. My brain got still for a few moments and I started to feel like there’s something here to explore. Something deeper. And then, within seconds, resistant thoughts started flooding in again, and I knowingly gave into them, ceasing my meditation for the day.
I didn’t feel bad that I stopped at that point, and I am attempting this practice realistically, approaching with baby steps. No one is making me get up on a Friday morning and hunker down to do this. I am totally proud of myself for doing this, although totally terrified that I will drop the ball again. Because I really, truly, haven’t really enjoyed meditation ever in my life. But maybe it’s not meant to be enjoyed, exactly. Parvati told me to try this, and if this leads to expansion within the capacity of my service work, of course I want to keep trying! But if I do this, I’m doing this for the long haul. Think marathon, rather than sprint. It has to stick. Gosh, I hope it sticks.
Stay tuned and wish me luck everyone, I’m nervous 🙂 I would like to attempt weekly updates, and I do believe that me letting you all know about my progress is also a fabulous way for me to hold myself accountable. Share with me your experiences if you have any!