She’d never been one for meditation. She wanted to, of course, so many benefits, she just couldn’t get herself to sit still for so long. Nor to let her thoughts “go,” whatever that meant. Go where? They were her thoughts, oughtn’t they to stay with her? At any rate, meditation, a solid no.
Weeks spent indoors with no foreseeable end in sight changed all that.
She went out to the little patch of concrete that was her “yard,” put her earbuds in, clicked the meditation app on her phone and twenty minutes later…
Yeah, no, still can’t meditate. Valiant effort though.
The next day she tried again.
And yet again.
After a week of spending twenty minutes a day on her little patch of concrete, ear buds causing her ears to thrum slightly with the odd stretch they inflicted, she realized she was actually enjoying herself. She may not be a Buddhist monk or even a man with a sexy British accent who was once a monk, but she was meditating, even if for only a few of those twenty minutes.
And she loved it.
She found herself throughout her otherwise unremarkable day thinking to the twenty minutes spent outside on her patch of concrete. She found herself flicking through her binge watching options on the television and then realizing she’d just drifted off in her mind to quiet, to silence, to peace.
It wasn’t like sleeping, although the first time it happened she thought she’d fallen asleep. It wasn’t like reading a book or listening to music or any of the other things she’d done in the past to wind down, or let her subconscious cruise. It was both more relaxing and more gratifying. She found herself returning throughout the day to that feeling of ease.
She expanded her meditation session to thirty minutes.
After another week she expanded again to two sessions of thirty minutes, one in the morning and one in the evening.
It was really lovely, waking up in the morning, boiling water for her coffee, pouring the water into the French Press, and then meditating while it steeped.
It was really lovely, last thing in the evening, brushing teeth and getting fully prepared for bed, then meditating before turning off the lights.
She found herself less anxious with each passing day. Less unclear of what she wanted from her life. Less troubled.
She was slowly gaining insight into herself and she found those moments of anger she used to have, the ones that would flare up disproportionately to the situation and constantly, disappearing. She’d still feel a twinge every now and then, but always with that twinge came the realization that she was choosing her emotions, her reactions. Nothing was outside of her control when it came to herself.
The freedom of all this control was electrifying. She reveled in the power of her own self.
She also noticed how much more empathy she had for others. No longer clucking or tapping her foot with impatience in the grocery store line when someone wrote a check they very well could have been writing the entire time they were being rung up. No longer rolling her eyes and sighing when someone couldn’t find their wallet at the ATM even though they’d been waiting in line behind someone else and could have been getting their wallet ready then.
She realized everyone was on their own path. That everyone was doing the absolute best they could, and maybe their best didn’t look like her best, and so she didn’t immediately recognize it as such. She became more forgiving, more accepting, more loving.
It was the closest she’d ever been to acceptance. Not just of others, but of herself. She felt connected to others and to herself in a way she’d never felt before. Amazed at what an hour a day of silence, relaxation, lack of judgement could do for her entire life, and wondering why she hadn’t ever been able to get herself to meditate before. Wishing she’d started earlier, and also recognizing that she simply may not have been ready before.
She was grateful she was ready now.
~~~That’s one hour~~~