I have had a meditation practice for several years now. I’ve been daily on weekdays for some time, long enough now that I think I might be addicted to it. This isn’t a bad addiction, a compulsion I need to shake, but it is interesting to notice my dependence, especially on something that has sometimes been a struggle for me.
I have sometimes treated meditation like exercise, something that I will schedule and put myself through, because I know it is good for me. Like exercise, it hasn’t always been something I’ve loved for itself. During meditation, I sometimes clock-watch (like I might at the gym on a machine). I know it is good for me because of how I feel afterwards. I feel gentle, open, soft, and supported. I feel whole. But sometimes, during a meditation, the stress of just sitting there can be hard for me to bear.
A few weeks ago, I went up north with my family for a week. I made sure I meditated every day, but I was up there with kids, and wasn’t the earliest riser, and there is a lot of pressure to all be together for a big breakfast. So I felt rushed in the mornings and I did not take the time to meditate, Instead, I’d come downstairs to join the family for breakfast, my rhythm thrown off. I would then try to slip in a meditation during the late afternoon. While I still meditated each day, I noticed myself being grumpy, ill-tempered, and downright cranky until I had my meditation. The stuff I thought, the stuff I said. Yikes.
I finally noticed the pattern. I noticed I didn’t like what was coming into my thoughts, and what was coming out of my mouth. So, I decided to change. I switched up my schedule, I resolved that no matter how late I slept, I would not come downstairs until I was finished. After my morning meditation, I felt more resilient and friendly towards everyone. It sounds obvious, now that I write it, but I had to learn through experimentation that I needed to meditate in the morning.
Next I will experiment with duration.