I’m in London on an 8 day Yin Yoga Training with Norman Blair and 12 really interesting and amazing yoga teachers and have committed to sharing my thoughts here each day …
Day 5 (Sun 15th April)
Musings on meditation
This week my resurrected morning 15 minute meditation practice is going. Not well, not badly, just going. And we’ve been practicing quite a lot during the training too. Sometimes it’s sublime and I catch myself congratulating myself on having ‘done well’. I sit up in bed to do it when I’m at the AirBnB because the bedroom is peaceful and very calming with good natural light and seems a good place for it, and I give myself full permission to be warm and comortable.
Sometimes my meditation has not been pretty at all. It’s hard, I squirm, sneak a peak at the timer, wonder what the point is – as the stillness and time and space uncover and reveal thoughts and emotions, body sensations, frustrations.
What to do? Meditation is not a practice of emptying the mind but instead of exercising the mind muscle. It’s tough sometimes working on something that’s weak. Think about how we may rehabilitate a weak ankle after breaking it. We can start to recognise that the struggle and the unpleasantness are the meditation. The thoughts are the meditation. Our mind becoming stronger, we are becoming more familiar with it and its demands.
Thoughts are a sure fire way of affirming you are human and you are alive. Phew. Be glad. We can be gentle but persevering, we can give ourselves time but not give up. We can all use a little more softness towards ourselves. This is the basis of a yin attitude. Let’s have a yin attitude to meditation. Striving, trying to get somewhere and achieve are yang. They have their place. But you will find yourself learning more if you slow down and soften.
What are we trying to prove anyway? No one gets a medal for meditating. I didn’t noice it at the commonwealth games. What you will find though is that if you can sit in awareness of what comes up, choose to stay with it a while, you may uncover hidden gems. Or perhaps you need to turn away – that particular emotion/thought is too raw, too much for the moment. So you reconnect with your meditation focus (whatever it is – perhaps breath, mantra, image) to help you pass through that unpleasant patch – and more than that, sometimes discover something about yourself you didn’t previously understand, during the meditation or commonly a while after.
Are we ready to face difficult stuff that comes up in our meditation practice? Maybe not, sometimes it’s kinder to ourselves to leave it, and turn away. Know it’s there, just don’t deal with it yet. Not ready. That’s fine. May be ready next week, next year or never. The journey the journey.
It’s a shame there isn’t more time to get to know this mind of mine.
Someone said today that SHAME stands for
How many life times do I have?
Are you wondering why I used a picture of a green-haired turtle that I screen-grabbed from Have I Got News For You? It’s simply because it’s so ridiculously funny. And if you want to know what’s even funnier, check out this article
I have so much more to share from today but I’m leaving it there. It’s a good place to stop.