Notes from the Meditation Cushion 1.0

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My mind is pretty busy. It’s really hard for me to be mindful and present, and this is evidenced by my “fondness” for numbing and my compulsive eating and shopping issues and my mindless time on the internet. Discussions about mindfulness are a big part of my time with my therapist (along with an attempt to “stay with the emotions”), so I have been thinking about doing some activities that could lend themselves to cultivating such mindfulness.

Over the weekend, I had my first experience with Yoga Nidra, which is a practice of attaining an altered state of consciousness through yogi sleep (or lucid dreaming). And I really enjoyed it and even felt like I achieved a real state of calm and that altered state of consciousness, which was surprising to me because, well, my therapist once described my mind as “chaotic,” and the woman knows of what she speaks.

Tonight, I decided to head over to my yoga studio (where I have not been since January due to my wrist injury) for a meditation class. I have never done a formal meditation class, although I have experimented with guided meditations on YouTube and via iPhone apps. And I watched Eat, Pray, Love yesterday and sort of really enjoyed the time that she spent at the ashram in India, so I figure I was ready to try it out on my own.

The topic of the meditation tonight, interestingly enough, was death. But it was not about death in a foreboding kind of way. It was more about giving up attachments as a means of achieving happiness. The overall message was that death is a definite. We do not know the day that we will die. That day may, in fact, be this day. Therefore, we must seek to make every moment meaningful.

I am guessing the three hours I spent playing games on Facebook today was not what is meant by “meaningful.”

Our teacher asked us what we would do differently if we knew today would be our last day on earth (or our last day was approaching). And I thought that what I would probably do is simplify. I would give up this desire to acquire more stuff to lend meaning to my life (which is what is meant by giving up attachments…not giving up being attached to anything but giving up letting our happiness rely on the things that we are attached to). I would not give my eating disorder (ED) the control that I give up to him everyday. I would not spend three hours playing games online. I would really make an honest effort to learn how to feel my feelings. I would feed my body food that made it feel good so that my last hours weren’t filled with heartburn and GI upset. I would move in ways that felt good. I would read for hours, probably snuggled in my bed, while a candle burned.

I love having food for thought. I plan to continue this meditation practice, attending as often as possible. I plan to engage in meditation on my own time. I think there is a lot to learn in stillness, if I can learn to stay there.

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One response »

  1. My therapist also wants me to “stay with the emotion” — whenever I have a strong emotion, my stomach will knot up or my chest will break out in hives, but about the time I recognize it is happening, it’s gone. It drives my therapist crazy that I can’t seem to get that emotion/feeling back so that we can analyze and discuss it.

    I tend to think that after having my emotions beaten and bashed on for my whole life, I’ve gotten to be a real expert at pushing them down when they attempt to come out. I agree with my therapist that this is probably not so great for me — my relationships suffer and I end up with compulsive issues — but I just can’t allow myself to feel safe enough to be vulnerable. I literally have no clue on how to go about it.

    On my blog, I talk about my scoliosis and fused back and how it has really messed up my mobility and my shoulders. My physical therapist isolated my shoulder and asked me to use my scapula to pull my shoulder back and down. I COULD NOT DO IT — since those muscles had not been used in that way for so many years and since that area was so weak and wonky, I had no clue even how to start to make that movement. She had to do it for me several times and then lay a hand on my back so that I could feel when I was making the movement — correcting me over and over. I’m still not very good at it and I may never be, due to the underlying issues that cannot be corrected.

    I kind of feel like my emotions are like that wonky shoulder — I just don’t know how to let them out — how to fix that problem. And I don’t know if the underlying issues will ever be “cured”.

    I’ve thought about meditation before but kind of poo-poo’d it because I also have a mind that races and races. Maybe I’ll give it a shot!

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